Self-Publishing? Is It A Great Divide? Part 11 of 12

Welcome to everyone, and to all who are new, and who comment regularly. It’s great fun having you here. I’ll sort of start this post a bit different and ask this: You’re self-published and you want to publish this title as a traditionally published book, the readership is good, and well is it possible?

I would need to say in this case it depends. I’ll give an example, or two:

If your readership consists of family, and friends, well, okay, that might sell a few hundred books, but in the long run, a traditional publisher won’t take it, partly because it won’t sell and partly because they know how the readership is going. I stumbled on a blog that quoted the number of traditional publishers who might accept a self-published book as being about 1%. Now, I’ve yet to find anything else that supports this number, but it does make sense in a way.

You self-published book needs to be phenomenal to get a traditional publisher. How phenomenal? Well according to some sites who track the “big three” vanity presses ( you know the ones, I’ve listed them a number of times in this series.) the average number of books sold in their titles is about 40. Got that? Forty.

Now this isn’t a bad thing, as it doesn’t include bought books by the author who sells them at various events, but the people who stumble on amazon or another online store and buy it. They of course are a big network of untapped readership. They are an interesting lot these people with many positives and negatives. One negative is that the person who buys the book without one on one connections with the author are those whose connection with the self-published author is fragile.

These are the untapped people, who in the long run will write reviews and tell it to others, and unfortunately, they are a very very picky bunch. One typo, or lost train of thought, lack of plot, or something, anything, will get them mad. Okay I admit, since I write a lot and edit a lot, well I do notice a few mistakes in a writers published works, but on the whole it is facts or dates. Given that it is non-fiction I read the most, and review fiction the most, I can say get an editor people.

No, not just if you self-publish the copy editing that can be offered. I mean really honest to goodness editing. But back to the real problem, how does one get a readership that will gain the attention of a traditional publisher?

Well consistency and patience, one can’t get a lot of people reading a book if you don’t work at it. Although the same goes for other who publish traditionally, but they have a budget that isn’t their own money… yet at the same time, it also mean that self-published books are good, but one works harder at them. They want their books to do as well as anyone and, assuming they have done their work correctly, if they do get interest from traditional publishers, it will work in their favor.

So if you are on the road to publishing, while it can be hard, and you do decide to self-publish, great editing ,passion are a must, and if the book is well done, averages are really only averages, you can be a great writer in a niche market, that means that self-publishing is a good thing or you can go farther, and try to go with traditional if the book sells beyond your expectations. It’s amazing what an author can do if the book is well written and the author is enthusiastic. Oh and marketing… well marketing is a must, just like editing.

My Question for you today is this: What value do you place in your road to publishing? If your book is well edited but in a niche market, would you consider getting a traditional publisher/ they consider you provided that the book sells well?


  • TC

    I self published through Lulu. It has it's pro's & cons but I would suggest people take the time to truly analyze what their goals are prior to self publishing. BTW – the blog is looking great.

  • Al

    I have toyed with the idea of self-publishing, just because I am already sick of the emotional toll of rejection slips.
    But I have had some very good feedback from professionals especially just recently.
    So I guess I'll gird the loins and continue down the submission path for a while longer.

  • Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA

    I love self-publishing, but you have to know how to market yourself. A lot of authors hate the marketing, accounting, and inventory management that goes along with self-publishing. They would rather suffer through years of rejection slips rather than try to learn how to self-publish and market their book themselves, even though there are so many wonderful books out there that teach you how to do it right. I just don't understand this mentality.

  • Diwakar Methil

    I too published with Lulu. Now an e-publisher from Calif has accepted the work. My second novel is also published by Lulu, again an agent from Calif has agreed to represent me. How far can I succeed the Lord can tell.

  • Rebecca

    Many people want to put their work – whether it's prose or poetry, memoirs or family histories – into book form just for their families, not necessarily for sale. I found the problem with many of the print-on-demand publishers, though doing an excellent job, was that they cut corners when it came to quality. Cheap paperbacks are OK, but not if you want the books to be on the family bookshelves 50 or 100 years from now. I got so frustrated by this that I set up a small company that produces individually designed books that are hand bound and printed on quality papers. They're stunning to look at and make lovely presents.
    You might like to look us up. We're
    LifeLines Press at http://www.lifelinespress.co.uk Careful to make LifeLines plural – there's a similarly named company in the States producing health books.
    Rebecca de Saintonge

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