View Full Version : Self-publishing...will it hurt me?

03-31-2006, 03:51 PM
Hi there!

I posted this in ask the editor,...I'd also like to ask the agent to get feedback on this as well.

I've had very little success in getting past the query stage with agents. No one seems interested in children's fantasy these days, or at least not what I'm pitching. :) Perhaps it's a saturated market, but that being said, I believe in my project. Anyhow, I have a grade 5 class that read the first book in my series and they absolutely loved it! They are anxious for the next book. I am seriously considering self-publishing (lulu.com) for a time as the kids are anxious to see it in print. I believe that if these kids enjoyed reading it, others will too. My plan is to try to generate some decent sales, and then I would query agents as well as publishers and see if I can generate interest in the book.

Would I be hurting myself by doing this? And is there a golden number of sales I need to cross that would catch an agent's/publisher's attention?


03-31-2006, 09:01 PM
Have you tried pitching it to these publishers?




Good luck and check their guidelines and such.


03-31-2006, 10:23 PM
To get agent/publisher attention for a self-published book, you need several thousand sales within the first six months to a year of release.

You may not hurt yourself by self-publishing, but you probably won't help yourself either. And the book you self-publish is off the table, in terms of getting a contract from a commercial publisher, unless you sell big--which means that if it's part of a series, the series is also out of the running. Publishers aren't going to pick up Book 2 without Book 1.

The buying frenzy in children's fantasy has died down a bit from a couple of years ago, but it'is still a vibrant market. If you're having trouble getting attention from legitimate agents and publishers, it's possible that your pitch isn't good enough, or that the people you're approaching aren't right for the work. It's also possible that your book isn't ready for publication.

- Victoria

04-01-2006, 12:17 AM
LOL...the notion that my book is not ready for publication has crossed my mind, but more in the terms of self-doubt. :) I truly believe it to be ready. I've been polishing it up for about 4 years now. I may need to have another look at my pitch.

Thanks for all of the valulable information. This has given me pause to think.

Thanks again!

Linda Adams
04-02-2006, 09:38 PM
Also do some research on the individual agents. One of the things I noticed was that many of them say they take everything under the sun, but what they actually sell is just in a few areas. For example, you could find an agent that takes children's books but when you do the research, you discover that the agent has never sold any children's fantasy books.

Some other things worth investigating further:

Publisher's Weekly often has issues on children's fiction and reviews them each week. It may be worth looking at the reviews for book titles and backtracking through places like like Publisher's Marketplace to see if you can find out who the agent was.

Society of Children's Book Writers. Not sure what their membership requirements are now--self-publishing has forced a lot of these professional organizations to restrict membership to published authors. In the past, though, SCBWI did have workshops on writing children's fiction, so it may be worth checking into.

04-02-2006, 09:43 PM
Once you self-pubbed (even through Lulu), you can't sell first rights anymore. That might hurt your chances of getting a contract with a traditional publisher, if you're already having troubles already. Instead of going down that path, why not forget about agents for a while and target some independent, small presses that deals with children fantasy?

04-03-2006, 03:43 PM
Somewhere up the thread someone posted details of Penguin Children's. I recently had a rejection fron Sharyn November in which she said that she has books scheduled out to 2008 and is not looking at anything new at the moment

Mike Coombes
04-05-2006, 06:38 PM
If you're going to self publish (which I wouldn't recommend) PLEASE draw up a marketing plan.

My plan is to try to generate some decent sales...

How? Have you considered what you will need to do to generate those sales? And have you quantified 'decent'? If you don't think these things through now, you'll fall at the first hurdle.

04-10-2006, 06:39 PM
Can I ask what sort of feedback you've gotten from the agents (and editors?) you've submitted to? It's very cool that the 5th grade class loved the book, but -- and I don't mean to sound harsh -- I wouldn't take that as an objective measure of whether the book is publishable, any more than I'd trust my mother to make that judgement on my own books.