View Full Version : When to self-publish?

Lee Tasey
12-07-2004, 01:29 PM
Hey, what do you all think? I sent out a batch of query letters last year. All rejections. I sent out another batch this year. Again, rejection. The novel is as good as it's going to get. I know the book's audience, know how to get it into readers' hands, but don't want to wait forever to get signed by a major publisher. So, when is the appropriate time to say screw traditional publishing and go with iUniverse? Thanks!

12-07-2004, 07:27 PM
Have you sent out to ALL appropriate agents/publishers? Is the book really "as good as it can get"? What do you want the book to be -- to sell just a hundred copies to friends and families? Or do you want a potentially large readership, possibly on bookshelves across the continent? How badly do you want it -- to simply see your name in print or to see your books in stores?

And you said "major publishers." Have you tried small presses yet?

Sometimes patience and preseverence are essential. Many best-selling authors spent their first few years in slush... I just saw Ian Flemming's biography on TV... do you know that nobody wanted or liked his first book? They didn't even like "From Russia with Love" which is now considered the classic Bond.

Don't give up yet, if you truly believe in your book.

12-07-2004, 08:50 PM
If you want a publisher there is one out there, it just might be a small one? Personally I would go with small press or a royalty paying e-publisher with a good client based before self-publishing normal fiction -- it will generally reach a larger audience that way. I see self publishing as having a different purpose more along the lines of reaching a very niche market.

As an intermediate step you might try getting some second opinions on the manuscript to ensure it is fully polished and going out to the most appropriate publishers.

Lee Tasey
12-08-2004, 03:48 AM
Thanks for the reply. And yes, good advice--perseverance is key.

12-08-2004, 05:09 AM
Came across this quote today. I was going to post it on the Rejection board but thought it appropriate here:

Many, many scripts have been turned down all over town, but then became major successes because of somebody’s persistence. It took more than seven years to get Forrest Gump made into a film and at least nine years to get Shakespeare in Love produced. The same is true for novelists. Harry Potter was rejected by many publishers and so was Dr. Seuss’ first book, The Cat in the Hat, which was rejected twenty times before it found a publisher. But the king of them all was F. Scott Fitzgerald. He received one hundred and twenty-six pink slips from publishers rejecting his first novel, The Other Side of Paradise. The one hundred and twenty-seventh publisher accepted it, and it was an overnight success. So you shouldn’t start feeling discouraged until you've been rejected at least that many times.

That quote came from an article by James Bonnet (a guy who really knows his stuff!) and you can find it here: www.writersstore.com/arti...urce=ezine (http://www.writersstore.com/article.php?articles_id=460&discount=ezine&source=ezine)

The point is, don't let your manuscript being rejected from left to right be the deciding factor on whether or not to self publish your book. It may be your manuscript got rejected because it was no good OR that you just didn't find the right person for it. Exhaust ALL of your options -- small press, independent publishers, university presses and big houses -- before you start thinking of self-publishing your book.

Also, self-published novels are hard to sell. Your best bet is to find a small press or a major publisher (with help from an agent).

And, by the way, getting your book published by iUniverse is not the same as self-publishing your book. Actually, iUniverse is a POD publisher and that's a whole 'nother animal compared to self publishing.

Lee Tasey
12-08-2004, 01:50 PM
Dear Greenwolf,

Thanks for the reply; it was very helpful. I'll look into small presses, whic his something I haven't done. Novel and Short Story Writer's Market may have some useful info. Best, Lee

12-08-2004, 09:44 PM
I'm glad my advice helped. :) Good luck with your book!

12-12-2004, 04:01 AM
It depends what your goal is. If your goal is just to get your books into the hands of a small audience you know exists, and you don't mind selling only a few hundred copies and not earning the respect of your fellow writers, then now may be the time to self-publish. I'm not being sarcastic at all; that is a moderate goal some writers have, and "success" as such is not essential to them--they just want the book in the hands of their readers sometime in the foreseeable future. That desire is what prompted me to POD publish, and the experience has been satisfactory for me. I haven't received my latest sales report, but in my first five months I sold a few hundred copies and made a net profit over and above my expenses of about $500. The book continues to enjoy moderate sales and mostly positive reviews, and I have had the gratification of having readers (strangers) contact me personally to tell me how much they enjoyed the book.

However, if you know you aren't going to be satisfied with a low level of sales, hold out for a traditional publisher. If you know you will feel belittled or embarrassed to not have your fellow writers regard you as a "real" writer, then hold out for a traditional publisher. And, if you don't think your existing audience is large enough to recoup your self-publishing costs in the first year, then...well...I guess hold the book in your desk drawer, or just send Xerox copies to friends.

Lee Tasey
12-12-2004, 01:29 PM
Dear Skylarburris,

Thanks for the imput; it was helpful. I think I'll hold out for a traditional publisher. Best, Lee

Dave Sloane
12-10-2005, 10:33 AM
Right On, Brother Lee! At least you get a book out of it if you go p.o.d.
I couldn't wait any longer, either, so I went p.o.d. and at least it's out there on Amazon, AuthorHouse, geocities, etc. For the price of a week
in Acapulco I got my book. Now, if I can only get a real book publisher
to pick it up...

Mike Coombes
12-24-2005, 04:43 PM
Don't hold your breath, Mr Sloane.

The only time I would ever contemplate self publishing would be if i knew for sure that I could sell more copies than a publishing house with a distribution network could.

So that would be never.

Canada James
12-25-2005, 08:47 AM
So, when is the appropriate time to say screw traditional publishing and go with iUniverse? Thanks!

Instead of contemplating self-publishing, maybe put that one away for a bit and write another novel. Then submit that one, and while you're waiting write another novel. Then take the first one out, reread it and see if you can improve upon it (because you'll learn much from writing two more), and decide if it's worth sending out again.

At that time, you'll have three novels looking for a publisher.

Canada James