View Full Version : POD/Vanity that Became Big...

07-15-2006, 08:04 PM
OK, we've all heard those stories. Granted, there are few compared to the hundreds of thousands of failed attempts. Still, it's an interesting topic to me because, obviously, when a book is good, it finds an audience and an eventual home at the big houses, no matter where it started.

My question is -- how does that happen? Does an agent happen to come across a POD book, read it, like it, and offer to represent it? Or does the author sell A LOT out of the trunk of his car and that catches the eyes of a publisher? Or does the author actually submit to the agent/editor and say, "Look, this is a good book and I've sold 5000 copies already. Please consider it?"

With all the stuff going on, and all the slush passing through the system, do editors and agents actually look at PODs as an alternative of finding the next best seller? Or does the author have to haggle anyway?

07-15-2006, 10:02 PM
My understanding is that the self-published/vanity/small press book just takes off. Word of mouth spreads, and enough of a buzz builds up to attract the notice of an editor at one of the big houses. I don't know that it's something the author has much control of. Sure, they can peddle the book from their car, but if the book's not outstanding, that word-of-mouth probably won't be the positive, editor-grabbing praise our author might have hoped for.

Disclaimer: I'm not an editor at one of the big houses, nor am I someone who's s-f/v/sp book took off like this...

James D. Macdonald
07-16-2006, 02:07 AM
The first thing you need to do is define what you mean by "became big."

If you mean "were picked up by a major publisher" there's no one path. The examples are few enough (and well-enough known) that you can study them all individually.

07-16-2006, 02:20 AM
I can give an example of someone using self-publishing successfully in a niche market, but it's a rare combination of qualities that made it work.

07-16-2006, 02:51 AM
I believe a few of the needle top finishers may have--or was it subsequent books by the same author? Anyway you could find those examples here http://girlondemand.blogspot.com/

05-11-2009, 07:48 PM
Every real success story has two factors. Money and time.

Can you afford to tour around the country, giving away thousands of copies of your book? (Eragon, Celestine Prophecy, Christmas Book)

The successful self help books seem all to be by people who already have a platform, already tour and speak, and were looking to sell books initially and the end of their speaking engagements. Are you already an established expert in a field who gets paid for speaking engagements?

Team 2012
05-11-2009, 10:49 PM
There are other factors. One of them is luck.

More valuable than those two.

Let's say I have a self-published book about a black president being shot from ambush. And next month somebody shoots Obama. And the media gets word of this "uncanny, eery, prophetic, etc" book and mentions it.

What will happen?

05-12-2009, 01:46 AM
I'd think it's something that's more likely to happen these days, especially in the YA arena. Can you say "gone viral"?

05-13-2009, 02:58 PM
My question is -- how does that happen? [/quote]

They've hired people, like these people (http://www.kelleyandhall.com/index.html) to help make it happen. :) Scroll down, on the left. For the news section.

I wish they'd tell us how much they had to pay these publicists exactly, though. I've heard rough figures, but still. It would be interesting to know exactly how much money was spent before getting that agent/publisher interest.