Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing: 7 Questions That Reveal Which Path Is Right For You

And Why 99% Of Authors Shouldn’t Take Book Deals

Nicolas Cole


So, you want to become an author?

Then chances are the big question you’re probably asking yourself is:

“Should I pursue a book deal? Or should I just self-publish?”

And by the end of this post, you will have your answer.

For context:

  • I have self-published 10 books.
  • I have sold tens of thousands of copies of those books around the world.
  • I have built multiple 6, 7, and multi-7-figure writing-related businesses.
  • I have ghostwritten for hundreds of company executives, venture capitalists, and even New York Times best-selling authors.
  • And I have spent the past decade studying the book publishing industry (and its business models).

I want to be forthcoming that I am a much bigger supporter of self-publishing than traditional publishing. HOWEVER… what I’m more concerned with is making sure writers are fully educated about the decision. (And at the end of this guide, I will tell you the 3 scenarios when I DO think taking a book deal is the right path forward — and the checklist I recommend using for making this decision.)

It has taken me a decade to piece this whole puzzle together, and I’d like to share it in public with you here.

So, if you’re unsure of whether self-publishing or traditional publishing is right for you, here are 7 questions you should ask yourself that will reveal the right answer:

Question #1: Do You Meet 1 Of The 5 Criteria For Landing A Lucrative Book Deal?

Let’s just level-set here to make sure we’re all on the same page.

In Non-Fiction, the average advance for a book is somewhere between $20,000 and $50,000.

In Fiction, it’s less. Usually $25,000 or below.

The only time authors receive an advance above $100,000 is if:

  1. The writer has a giant audience on the Internet (hundreds of thousands of followers, large email list, etc.).
  2. The writer is a celebrity.
  3. The writer is friends with…



Nicolas Cole

100M+ Views | 5x Author | Co-founder of Ship 30 for 30 | Want to start writing online? Get the Ultimate Guide: