Question's in the title. I guess I'm asking more specifically those who've had experience with agents and publishers, although of course any opinion/insight is welcomed. So I think the benefits of self-publishing is fairly clear: keeping 100% of all rights and profits, no one changing your book/title, no deadlines, no limit on what you could do with said book or any future books guaranteed that your book will be "out there" and probably read by a handful of people, as opposed to nobody if it's never pushed out And the pitfalls of traditional publishing is also fairly clear: losing 80% or so of profits, being told what to write in some cases, alterations to match market needs or even just publisher's taste, potentially getting a terrible contract you can't fight, book gets put in waiting line and never gets to print, being trapped with one publisher based on multi-book contracts or the obligation to allow the publisher first picks of any future works in the same genre, lengthy waiting time to snatch an agent and then publisher and then finally getting into the stores No guarantees that much editing would even be done on your book due to cuts So, the only things I can see that're good with traditional publishing is: reputation you'd probably get at least a small slot in several book stores, which is still more than you would on your own some budget on promotion and marketing cover (made by a professional artist) designed to attract target audience presumably at least some editing/proofreading So now I'm curious - what do publishers actually DO for your book? I don't mean theoretically, but these days what do they actually do? How much effort and money do they put into a debut author? And for those who have worked with agents and publishers - what's it like working with one? Pros and cons? What are your good or bad experiences? And are all the cons to trad-publishing worth the pros?