Note: I apologize in advance if I sound too direct in this post. I am on a 3-day juice fast because, I’m fat. Yes, 145 pounds at 5’2″ is fat. So, I’m hungry and a little grumpy.
Counter to my own beliefs on self-publishing versus traditional publishing, I found out the raw truth behind the challenges. A while back, I wrote a popular post on To Self-Publish or Not Self-Publish, as I was conflicted on the big debate. Traditional publishing is what most aspiring authors hope to achieve. I say aspiring authors because we’re all professional writers, but an author is published. I know this sounds very elementary but many writers get it wrong.
Anyway, from what I learned from nearly all the agents at the writing conference I attended is that they will not touch a self-published author. Period. They went on to, of course, bring up novels like 50 Shades of Grey and The Martian that, of course, every writer thinks will happen to them. They’ll self-publish or post their book on a blog for free, and millions of people will download it. They will become famous and an agent will hunt them down and beg them to sign with them. It’s every self-published author’s fantasy, but according to one very honest agent the scenario rarely happens.
One self-published author got the “gold package” with all the bells and whistles like I did (I will likely not be doing so in the future). He spent 3 years writing his book, grew impatient and self-published. Now he wanted to get traditionally published only to get disappointed when he found out that none of the agents would touch his work. Most agents will not rep self-published authors unless you can prove that you can sell. When the agents are telling you to your face on a panel that they will not take self-published authors, you should probably take their word for it.
It’s not, “Well, maybe I’ll dazzle them with my smile and my charm. They’ll love my book and I’ll be an exception.” Wrong. It’s a fantasy, and like one agent said, unless you sell more than 10,000 copies of your self-published book, then you might be a potential for crossing over from the self-publishing world to traditional.
The agent also went on to realistically throw out numbers that indicate most self-published authors only sell a few hundred copies, if that. In other words, you’ve done the market research on yourself for them. If you can’t sell at least 10,000 copies of your self-published novel, or more, you’ve demonstrated to them that your book is not marketable.
The Bottom Line:
You might be able to find a small publishing house willing to republish or reprint your work. So, at the end of the day you have to decide which direction you want to go. I personally don’t want to self-publish because I don’t want to take that chance. Once you self-publish it’s extremely hard trying to cross over into the traditional publishing world.
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged 50 Shades of Grey, Authors, Creative Writing, Literary Agents, Novelists, Novels, Publishing, Self-Publish, Self-Publishing, The Martian, Traditional Publishing, Writers, Writers Conference, Writing.