Poll: Writers Prefer Traditional to Self-Publishing

AuthorPrefPubNextBook AuthorPrefPubNextBookFrankly, the results of this unscientific poll are unsurprising. In a 2014 Author Survey, these were the results:

Despite the rise of self-publishing and the enthusiasm with which self-published authors celebrate its ascendance, overall, the authors surveyed are more interested in traditionally publishing their next book. The greatest preference for traditionally publishing was reported by traditionally published authors (87.2%) followed by not-yet-published authors (76.8%). Among authors who have self-published, more than half hoped to publish with traditional publishers—53.5% of self-published authors and 57.8% of hybrid authors.

Profits aside, when people are given the choice between:

1. Someone else paying for it and doing some of the work.


2. Doing and paying for everything yourself.

…it is unsurprising that people choose option #1 – especially writers who have yet to publish anything, which is the majority of respondents in this survey (5,972 of 9,210 surveyed).

Until self-publishing can guarantee better visibility and profits than a traditional publishing deal, people will want to have some help in the process.  This isn’t a criticism of self-publishing, it just says that traditional publishing has some value. Though self-publishers can be pretty militantly pro-indie, it doesn’t make sense to say traditional publishing always sucks any more than it makes sense to say self-publishing always sucks. Both are valid – and both work differently for different writers.

Self-publishing is still seen as a back-up plan for many writers – but one that is increasingly viable, and one that doesn’t need to be apologized for the way it did 10 years earlier. As the report states:

Relatively few authors indicated that self-publishing would be their first choice for how to publish their next book, but neither were most authors set exclusively on taking a traditional publishing route.