There are pros and cons to both approaches. Traditional publishing is where all the big heavy hitters send their manuscripts. Steven King, Agatha Christy, David Endings, Brandon Sanderson, etc. For newbies, I have heard it is hard to break into that market. I hear you need to build a market and a name/brand by writing short stories, entering a contest and writing for magazines. When you have a portfolio, then you might be able to force those doors open. Royalties on traditional publication are usually under 10% also. My research shows that is not always the case. If you want to be published by a big name publisher maybe it is so. But there are a lot of independent publishers that are available to new people trying to enter into the market.
On YouTube, look for Brandon Sanderson’s lectures on creative writing. Lecture 12 he talks about the independent market. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1LwUlrDdU0&t=1s The lecture is an hour long and it does not start talking about this subject but near the middle, it moves into that discussion. In that lecture, he names a few good places to inquire about newbies. Also, I found a new press to me, online. https://evolvedpub.com/
Evolved Publishing is developing a different approach to publishing. They offer high royalty rates if you do more of the work or the option of having their highly skilled workforce do it for you. They have crafted a scale into their business that allows you to pay up front for some services or reduce your royalties to pay for it. I think it is worth looking into. Example, if you do the editing or if they do it the royalty rated changes. If they do the work the rate goes down. I have not published with them yet but I am looking at their offer seriously in the spring when my book is completed.
If you do take a deal from them, they will expect three books from you. I understand they are patient about the other two books and do not apply pressure to have them immediately. I plan on doing my own cover through 99designs. https://99designs.com
I will run a contest for 199.00 dollars. At least 10 designers create an ebook cover and send them to me. I get to pick out the best cover I want. I will allow them to edit the book completely to ensure it is done right. I might also allow them to format it too. I am undecided on that at this time. The editing is a must for me. I am not an English Major from college. I know my limits and what I am good at and not.
Here the profit is all yours and so is the responsibility. You pay for it all, and ultimately you are responsible for it all. You have to do the marketing, the promotions, the editing, and design work for the entire process. If you are unemployed or work part-time this may suit your needs. If you want to publish on Amazon this might also suit your needs. Amazon’s KDP offers up to 70% royalty on EBooks and you set your price. Paperback copies are done on a print on demand and generate fewer profits. But the option is there. Look at KDP on Amazon and you can see a lot about how it works. I have placed a book of poems there just to see how it is done and what stumbling blocks you can encounter along the way. The best part of Amazon publishing on KDP is it is free and you can reach a world market. I have them in my sights too.
There is an author whose name I forgot that only publishes on KDP for Amazon. She does Vampire stories and has sold over seven million copies. No matter what she takes on the royalties, she is doing well.
Never pay to have your writing published is my motto… I would self-publish first.
I am going to add to this post every time I make another step toward publication or learn something awesome. There are tons of stuff out there waiting for us to find.
A fellow writer and blogger at https://fracturedfaithblog.com/2018/10/23/i-need-your-help/ asked this question on his blog. I realized that others may not have found all the information that I have come across so I have decided to share. Watch for updates!