Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Sarah McMahon
4 min readNov 19, 2023

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

A few weeks ago, I published a book of poetry called Dirt Girl (buy it here). It’s actually my third forray into the world of self-publishing (my previous two books are available on Amazon as well), and I’ve been asked a number of times why I decided to self-publish. My reasons are outlined below, but they all boil time to two reaons: time and money.

From 2011 to 2016, I attended a school called Bradley University in Peoria, IL. Bradley is a small, private Division 1 institution and I was only there because I’d earned a scholarship to run. My senior year, I suffered an injury that put me out for the season. With an extra year of athletic eligibility and a completed English degree, I wasn’t sure what to do. I decided to pursue a Master’s (also in English), cramming a two year degree into a year and a half. One of my favorite professors was Dr. Susan Brill de Ramirez. She was a bit quirky, remarkably smart, and always happy to chat over a strong cup of coffee. In one of her classes during my final year at Bradley, she had us all write, edit, and publish ebooks. We were all skeptical and the English department at large rolled their eyes. What was the point? we all asked each other, when we really should have been asking what the point was in reading 1890’s literature or writing long essays our…