View Full Version : Self-publishing pays off

10-19-2007, 08:22 PM
I just saw on publishers marketplace that Brunonia Barry's self-published novel, The Lace Reader was picked up by Rachel Oliver at Endeavor and sold to William Morrow at 2 million bucks. I discovered that she published at Flap Jacket Press, but I see no information about how to publish there. Does anyone know about how this works?

10-19-2007, 08:38 PM
I meant to say self-publishing not self-pulishing!

Will Lavender
10-19-2007, 08:56 PM
Wow. Also saw where William Morrow picked up lawyer Gordon Campbell's Missing Witness (http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6454468.html) without an agent last year.

10-19-2007, 09:02 PM
Okay, so self-publishing and working on the same novel for 20 years is the way to go, right? :D

10-19-2007, 09:02 PM
Self-publishing can, in incredibly rare cases, lead to a huge sale to a major publisher, but the odds are millions to one against it happening. Not much better than the average lottery.

10-19-2007, 09:07 PM
Wow. Also saw where William Morrow picked up lawyer Gordon Campbell's Missing Witness (http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6454468.html) without an agent last year.

I just read the Campbell aritcle. Great story. Gosh, I wish the hell that would happen to me...

10-19-2007, 09:10 PM
*checks shelf* Yup, I have a copy of that. She was at BEA--I wonder if that's where she made the contact that eventually led to the sale?

Good for her.

But she and her husband (Gary Ward, who owns Flap Jacket, and probably set it up to publish the book) put a lot into promotion. Besides the booth at BEA (which could not have been cheap), the marketing plan on the back of my copy says that the book was going to have:

National author publicity tour from Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York

National print review and feature promotional campaign

National radio promotion giveaways

National print advertising in the New York Times Book Review, USA Today and the Boston Globe Sunday edition
It also got a starred review in Publisher's Weekly. None of this is typical for a self-pubbed book, so good for them for pushing it so hard.

10-19-2007, 09:21 PM
In most cases that we know of, the authors had to do incredible promotions on their part to get the words out. Richard Paul Evans, for example, pushed his book really hard through his church groups and on one account, he sent out 800 books to everyone he could think of. So if you have that kind of resources, time and stamina, self-publishing may be for you.

10-19-2007, 09:35 PM
Self-publishing is a viable option, but for novels it's just too hard. There are too many odds against you: lack of distribution channels, no one but you vouching for the quality of your work, lack of a sales force, no marketing campaings, etc. Some people do get lucky getting their novels picked after self-pubbing, but as has already been mentioned, it is a very rare case when that happens.

Self-publishing is good for other kinds of works. Non-fiction, for exmaple. Especially non-fictoin for a regional audience. If you have a well-defined niche, self-publishing is also for you. If you want to publish a memoir or a poetry book for your family, you should also self-publish. If you are already a renown expert, you could also self-publish.

Wether to go the traditional route or to self-publish depends really of what you want to achieve with your work. Success stories like this are encouraging because they are rare. Stuff like this doesn't happen every day, or every week. These are ver, very rare cases, that's why they makes the news.

10-20-2007, 03:17 AM
Oh wow. Brunonia and her husband stood next to us all weekend at the BEA. We have the same distributor and shared jokes and junk food. You won't find a nicer couple. I've contacted my distributor and will find out the details. Way cool for her.

08-01-2008, 06:52 PM
Resurrecting this thread because there was an NPR piece about the book today with an excerpt. Yet another illustration that there are no shortcuts: the first rule is "write a good story."