Here is a recent question from Drew Briney: “I’ve seen conflicting advice as to whether or not it is okay to self-publish while querying agents and/or looking for a publisher. On the one hand, if my book doesn’t do well, they say, the publisher/agent will be less interested. On the other hand, others say, publishers recognize that self-publishing rarely results in large sales so they don’t really consider those efforts when looking at the viability of a book. I’ve heard the same thing about publishing on Wattpad.
“However, I’ve got a reality TV show that will air at 10 p.m. right after Sister Wives on TLC. Our producer tells us this is the prime spot to place a show that the network believes will be a big hit. With viewership in the likely six figures, that is quite a bit of exposure for me to sell a new book and they’ve made my transition from attorney to author a part of the storyline, so it looks likely that my author blog and links to books will receive quite a bit of traffic around mid-February–prime time to be advertising a new book. Of course, traditional publication will never happen in time to hit this wave, though with season 2 all but inked, another opportunity will likely come for the next book. So, it seems self-publication is my best bet—but I don’t want that to ruin the possibility of getting an agent to push traditional publishers either.”
Drew, this is a great question. I’m not opposed to self-publishing in some genres. For example, I have a number of past students who write romance who are making good six-figure incomes just through self-publishing. You don’t need a publisher for self-help books, either, in many cases. So we live in a world where publishers are optional and sometimes they’re even a bad idea.
So there are some good reasons why you’re hearing contradictory advice. Some editors hate self-published authors. I recently heard a YA editor go so far as to call them “the enemy.” She said that she would never publish a book that had been written by a self-published author and went on to say that she would blacklist such authors for life. In her words, “They’re ruining the publishing industry.” So if you self-publish, you’ll gain the ire of editors like her.
On the other hand, many editors recognize that self-publishing can be viable. If you self-publish a book and get tens of thousands of sales, then it usually means that you’ve got excellent word-of-mouth advertising, and so the editors will be interested in you.
In other words, the same book, with the same promise, will get dramatically different reactions from different editors.
In your case, you’ve got a television series that should drive sales of your books, and that could be a great thing. Do you want an agent or a publisher?
Well, if your book had been finished and in-the-can a year ago, I think that it would make for a good sale, but since you’re just finishing the book now, you’ve got an opportunity, and if you don’t self-publish, then you might miss it.
So, I’d do the following: Set your book up on Kindle. Don’t sell it for the minimal amount. The average reader who is hoping for a good reading experience will gladly pay $6-7 for an electronic book of any size. So I’d set my price about there. I wouldn’t go low, because if you put a book up for 99 cents, readers will get the perception that the book isn’t worth much. On the other hand, if you try to put your price at more than $9.99, Amazon will penalize you and cut your royalty rate in half (at least, that’s the way it worked last time that I looked). So if you go for a middling price, you’ll get great payment per book.
But I’d go a step further and take the book to audio immediately, too. So I’ll email you and set up a phone meeting.
I think that with this particular opportunity, I’d go with self-publishing. I can show you how to make the most of the opportunity.
If it doesn’t work out to your full satisfaction, and your show runs for a second season, there are still plenty of great publishers out there who might consider your work.
Writing Enchanting Prose Workshop
The Writing Enchanting Prose Workshop in DALLAS is now FULL.
But you can still attend the one happening in Provo, Utah:
Provo Courtyard Marriott
March 19-23, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
10 Attendees Total
In this workshop we will work heavily on imbuing your prose with the richness and details that bring a story to life. The goal is to teach you how to fully transport readers as you take them on a journey that captivates their hearts and minds. David Farland will teach you how to totally transport you readers so that they become so immersed in your story, they forget where they are—they forget they are reading at all.
This workshop is similar to the Writing Mastery workshop, but will be more exercise-oriented, with in-class practices. Writing Enchanting Prose is more in-depth than any of David’s past prose workshops.
In this workshop, Dave would like to create an intimate environment where individual students will receive ample time for one-on-one interaction and critiques. Dave will be spending personal time with each student. Because of that, we will be strictly limiting the number of students allowed to attend to 10.
Learn more or register here.