Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Does self-pub mean no other pub?

Quite a few of the writing apps now support ePub export for eBooks. If a writer self-publishes an eBook on Amazon or the iBookstore, does it hurt their chances of finding an agent?

Generally speaking, I believe per se that it does not - given how many authors are either doing or thinking of doing this, it may soon become the norm that agents get submissions that have already been published as ebooks. What hurts a writer's chances of finding an agent, as ever, is if their manuscript/ebook ain't that great.

If an author approached me with a book they've self-published as an ebook, I'd certainly ask them questions about why they want an agent now and what they think an agent can do for them. It's also worth bearing in mind that while agents may not have a problem with self-published ebooks, publishers may. Agents may take on these sorts of books and then discover that publishers don't want them, and that's the sort of thing you could only find out by doing. If enough publishers say they don't want these sorts of submissions, then I guess authors who want to find a publisher will stop self-publishing ... for a while.


Bonnee Crawford said...

Is it normal for new author's to think of self-publishing as a last resort, or even think they'd rather go unpublished than have to resort to it? Because I think I fall under that category of new writers who think that way. I don't have anything against self-published books, but... it's already published, first of all, obviously there's a reason it didn't get publisher published, and second if you've self published then it's already out there for a lot cheaper than what the publishers want to be selling it for.

Rick Canhan said...

As a relatively new writer I was under the very same principle myself thinking it was a last resort option. That was until I read various articles, including one from the ASA (Australian Society of Authors)titled 'Hints for Self-Publishing Authors'2007 which gives usefulful information. If you were to google 'Self Publishing' you would find there is in excess of 24,200,00 results in regards to information on self publishing. Obviously any writer would love to just write the book and sit back and rest, and have an agent do all the leg work and find editors, publishers, arrange book launches and distribution etc etc.
Let's say you wrote what you thought was a good book, you've contacted a dozen publishers and they dont seem interested. It could be bad timing or it needs a bit of a polish, you never know that because you just get a rejection notice (if you hear back at all)If you wrote it and you have faith in your own ability, you've done your research and know in your heart that people will read it. You may have even placed a number of chapters on review websites like and received great reviews or advice on how to spruce it up etc. Bottom line is if people don't know about it then they are not going to read about it. You have to get it out there. Life is all about taking chances and this is no difference. Some of the best selling Australian Authors were rejected by some of the top publishing houses, the well known Matthew Reilly is one of them, he self published his first three books and look where he is now. It's about proving yourself these days, every industry wants experience, no-one is keen to take on someone that hasn't proven they can come up with the goods. Even some of the agents I've contacted have said I need to show them some form. Self-Publishing or subsidy- publishing does have a few advantages too. The author is in control during the whole process and best of all the author retains all rights to the book. So if it does skyrocket due to your fantastic self promotion strategies and a big publishing house wants to pick you up, you can write some updates, change the cover etc and run with it.
It took me a while, but I did self-publish my book 'Mayan Prophecies' I arranged my own book launch,I got radio interviews and I walked into every local bookstore to promote it. Buyers that buy direct from myself ask for an autographed copy.It's available on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble website and also available as an ebook. I am aready receiving royaly cheques already so I know it is selling, slowly, but it is selling! Who knows if it or the next will become a best seller. I don't expect to become anywhere near as popular as the Matthew Reilly's of this world, and I don't care. I know my book is out there and I made it happen, I am creative for I am an author.

Anonymous said...

I don' have any idea. I think it depends by author's network.