View Full Version : Working with a celebrity who may self publish...

08-08-2013, 11:15 PM
...I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this question. I work with a fairly well known writer, and his partner/investor. This writer wrote a book that became a successful movie. He wanted to self publish the followup, and with the help of the investor, he did so, and it did well.

In addition this, I'm in touch with a b list celebrity. He/she is a household name, though not on the level of a Tom Cruise or Will Smith. I think their biography would do really well, and am curious what the advantage and disadvantages would be for a famous person to self publish? I'd rather have done some homework before I pitch the idea to the investor. Since the celebrity in question could probably finance the printing themselves, I'm not sure if this relationship would work...or if it would even be considered self publishing any more since they would be working with a 3 man company. Thank you for any feedback!

Old Hack
08-09-2013, 12:03 AM
I ... am curious what the advantage and disadvantages would be for a famous person to self publish?

If they self publish, they have to spend a lot of time running their publishing business. It'll take them ages to sell their book into bookshops, to arrange book tours and signings, and to ensure that books which are ordered by bookshops get to those shops in a timely and affordable way.

If they find a good literary agent and get a trade publishing deal, they might not even have to write the book. If the publisher thinks the book has enough potential they'll pay the celebrity a big fat advance, arrange for them to work with a good ghost writer, and take care of all sales, distribution and promotion. The celebrity's literary agent will sell foreign and subsidiary rights (which is almost impossible to do if you self publish), ensuring that the celebrity's income is maximised.

In other words, while I can see how a celebrity might do well with a self published book, I think they'll do significantly better and have far less work to do if they work with trade publishers instead.

08-09-2013, 12:17 AM
Am I right in thinking Jim Carrey is self-publishing a book? Maybe you could watch how that goes as a case study.

Old Hack
08-09-2013, 11:40 AM
Mr Carrey is indeed self publishing a children's book. Here's the website:

How Roland Rolls (http://www.howrolandrolls.com/)

02-24-2014, 05:13 PM
Thank you for the info, I will look into this.

Maze Runner
02-24-2014, 10:03 PM
I may have misunderstood, but I'm not sure why you would need to pitch this to an investor if the celebrity in question could finance it him/herself, but I guess maybe they would just prefer not to?

The only thing of relevance that I can offer you is a word of caution based on an experience I had. I was not long ago in touch with the same level of a celebrity, not a Tom Cruise, but a name we would all recognize. He wanted to self publish his bio, would be financing it himself and asked me to write it with him (translation- he would send me his stream of consciousness notes, literally scribbled in notebooks, and I would write an outline and submit it to him for approval. I would be paid, what was probably a fair amount for that work, and a much fairer amount to write the actual book. The problem came when I found that the guts of his story which really was an intriguing one, a real slice of true Americana, centered around illegal activity, and really defined what he was and what he'd become, and so I wrote it this way. And because of that he decided not to go ahead with the project; not just not with me, but not with anybody. I was out a couple months of work, and worse than that, left with a nagging, unfinished feeling. I guess I'd just caution you to be sure you're telling an authentic story that you can be proud of, and not a bland, whitewashed story that they know won't blemish their reputation.