Traditional publishing is a wonderful thing. You get to see your book in physical form and on store shelves. You get to see people reading it on Instagram or Facebook. Or hear them talking about it on tv or radio.
However there a few issues with this, especially here in Australia.
1 - Many book stores have closed down and there are only chain stores and small independent stores that sell books.
2 - The big publishers don’t really publicise and it will be up to you to do most of the work.
3 - Print runs are small, roughly ten to fifteen thousand, if that. If your books don’t sell they are sent back to the publisher and pulped into something else.
This is a big fat waste and the biggest problem as far as I’m concerned and especially for small time, indie, or first time authors. As much as we’d all like to see our book in paper or hard back, the wastage is nothing but a big turn off for me.
4 - It can take up to two years for your book to even come out.
5 - You don’t get much money from it, especially if they also keep e-book rights.
Book pulping is what annoys me most. It is such a waste of books even though they are recycled into other books. As far as I'm concerned, just print smaller runs so there are less books to be wasted. Not that that would stop it.
That’s why POD (print on demand) is the best way to go, especially if you want to be or are into conservation. Places like CreateSpace and Lulu only print a book off when it’s bought. There is no paper wastage, no ink wastage and no pulping when the books are returned from the book store.
So while having your book picked up by a publisher is fantastic, it takes forever to see your book on the shelf, if you’re lucky enough to have a store that sells books and has shelves to put them on, otherwise it’s a mega wastage of paper and you don’t earn much out of it.
But for the sake of wastage and conservation, if you're thinking about writing a book or looking at publishers, please take the alternate route of self-publishing. It will save so many trees, won't need to be pulped and your books will be available for sale forever. Or until you remove them from sale. YOU will own the rights, YOU will have control, YOU will be helping to conserve the planet.