Posted by: rebeccae | June 15, 2010

Can You Self-Publish and Then See Success in Traditional Publishing With the Same Book?

Let us say that your are 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 will give an example:

If your readership consists of family, and friends, well, that might sell a few hundred books, but in the long run, a traditional publisher will not take it, partly because it will not sell and partly because they know how the readership is going from that point. 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 have yet to find anything else that supports this number, but it does make sense in a way.

Your 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, the average number of books sold in their titles is about 40. Got that? Forty.

Now this is not a bad thing, as it does not 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 picky bunch. One typo, or lost train of thought, lack of plot, or 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 everyone needs an editor.

No, not just if you self-publish the copy editing that can be offered in a package or online. I mean professional editing. 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 not get a lot of people reading a book if you do not work at it. Although the same goes for other who publish traditionally, but they have a budget that is not 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 publishers if the book sells beyond your expectations. It is amazing what an author can do if the book is well written and the author is enthusiastic.

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