Self Publishing Survey: 67.50% of Authors Consider Traditional Publishing

The Thorne Self Publishing Survey 2016 found that 67.50% of surveyed authors have considered the traditional publishing path, meaning getting a book deal from a publishing house instead of doing it themselves.

“With today’s availability and cost effectiveness of self publishing, it is surprising that such a large share of the surveyed authors have considered trying to get a book deal with a publisher,” says Dr. Heidi Thorne, MBA/DBA, who conducted the survey.

The survey also found that freshman authors–meaning those who had not yet self published or those with only one book–had a much higher proportion of authors who have not considered the traditional publishing route (31.25% for all respondents versus 55.88% for freshman authors). “In the past, self publishing was often seen as a fallback option for authors who could not secure a book deal with a publisher. This result could signal that new authors may be going for a ‘self publish first’ strategy, although it is impossible to determine from the data in the survey,” explains Dr. Thorne. In future surveys, restructuring of the question or adding additional questions is planned to help determine if self publishing is a first or fallback choice.

An “I don’t understand the question” answer option was offered for the traditional publishing question. Only one survey participant marked that answer. “It was encouraging to see that the understanding of what traditional and self publishing models are was almost unanimous,” says Dr. Thorne.

The Thorne Self Publishing Survey 2016 was conducted from July to November 2016 and anonymously surveyed 86 self published authors on a variety of issues including book sales and forecasts, motivations, challenges and familiarity with traditional and self publishing models. There were 80 authors who shared their traditional publishing experience in the survey. Women, business owners, nonfiction authors, and age 40 to 60+ were highly represented in the entire survey population. Authors were recruited through social media, social media advertising and email invitations.

For comparison and to monitor trends, the survey is planned to be repeated in 2018. Full results of the 2016 survey are available as a Kindle eBook on at