“Whoa, I didn’t realize it would be this hard.”

This is what I invariably hear after someone tells me they published their own book. And yes, it is hard. Even if they put out a fabulous book that’s been edited by a gifted editor, they are still competing against publishers who do this for a living, which means they are going to have a tough time making a dent in the marketplace UNLESS they they consider that reality before they even begin.

The end result is that they have a book they can neither sell or distribute because they don’t realize how hard it is to sell them. And  that is usually when I get them:  they’re defeated after trying to sell their book for a few months, a year, two…

The problem with this is that not only have I lost the first print rights, but the author has already hit most of the places I would have to gain local interest. I also weigh how well the book sold before and the author’s platform.

There are times when I may consider taking a book that has been previously pubbed, but all the stars need to be in alignment – story, huge platform, marketable topic – because “Whoa, I do realize how hard it is.”

3 Responses to “Whoa, I didn’t realize it would be this hard.”

  1. Fred Gustafson says:

    Thank you for your reply to my other query. It was appreciated. My other question/comment regarding the above is thoe who will sef-pubish are”told” that there is a built in distribution network, especially for e-books. With many people now utilizing electronic devices, especially the younger demographic, is that not a built in distribution network? Please excuse me if my question is somewhat naivete. At a recent meeting where I am interning, this came up. The potential asked this particular question. I don’t believe she was satisfied with the answer given. Again Many thanks

  2. Of course self-publishing is hard – but doesn’t traditional publishing also have its challenges? Rejections by agents, rejections by editors, rejections by committees…losing your contract because your first book didn’t sell, discovering your publisher has gone belly-up and that your book’s in limbo, finding your publisher has gone e-book only when you’re committed to being in print? Isn’t making a living by writing just HARD?

    And I’m sorry to hear of writers feeling “defeated” because one book didn’t sell. There’s one trait I’ve noticed in successful writers – they keep writing. Sometimes the first, second, third and fourth books sell badly, and the fifth hits the mark. I agree that self-publishing limits some options and makes others harder to achieve, but successful self-publishers are clearly able to achieve their aims.

  3. Julie Rowe says:

    Publishing is seldom a get-rick-quick proposition and yet many people think that as soon as you publish a book you’re making buckets of money. Um…no.
    As for built-in distribution for ebooks…again, no. There’s several thousand other self-published ebooks competing for the same readers. If anything, you have to promote harder than if you’re working with a publisher, because the publisher does some promotion too. What’s promotion? Facebook, blogging, Tweeting (a lot!), goodreads, requesting reviews from reviewers,…

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