When I recently posted on Facebook that it is easier today than ever before to become a published author, a friend disagreed. She wrote, “It might be more possible to get something out there more easily nowadays. The problem is getting people to know about it, getting a store to carry it (chains won’t), or getting it to show up prominently in digital stores. How many top selling authors are self published? I can’t think of 1.”
I asked Joanna Penn of www.thecreativepenn.com to respond to my friend’s email.
“In terms of top selling authors who are self-published, it is interesting how many ‘famous’ books started off as self-published before they got picked up by publishers (who love a winner!), ” she wrote. ” If they hadn’t self-published in the first place, they likely would never have been published. Self-publishing is now a way to make an impact and help you get a book deal (or can be rewarding in itself for some categories of books).
Here are some examples-
Julia Cameron self published “the Artist’s Way” which was then picked up by Putnam and has now sold millions of copies.
Christopher Paolini’s Eragon was published and hawked by his parents.
Richard Bolles “What Colour is Your Parachute” was self-published for several years before being traditionally published.
Deepak Chopra self-published before being picked up by trad pub.
Beatrix Potter self published The Tale of Peter Rabbit before a publisher saw the potential…. and so it goes on….
John Kremer, who wrote ’1001 ways to market your books’ has a self-publishing hall of fame if you want to see a whole list -http://www.bookmarket.com/selfpublish
Alan Rinzler, a legendary editor and publishing consultant had this essay on his blog last week – “How self publishing can lead to a real book deal”
about how publishers desperately want people who can sell themselves, and a successful self-pub book can really get you started.
In terms of marketing leading to book sales, look at Gary Vaynerchuk who built a video blog audience and then got a book deal, and bloggers like Leo Babauta of “The Power of Less” from Zen Habits.com and Christian Lander of “Stuff White People Like”. These guys got book deals off the back of self-publishing their articles daily on their blogs, gathering an audience and building a platform. This is another way to go about it.
Basically, if you combine self-publishing (or indeed any publishing) with effective marketing through blogging, social networking, video and other methods, then you will make an impact on a market. It’s easy for anyone to put something out there, but self-publishers who know what they are doing can sell their books and stand a better chance of attracting a publishing deal than someone who faces years of manuscript rejection and has no marketing practice.”
So there you have it. If you’d like to learn how to pull your manuscript from the bottom of the slush pile and place it under the nose of an interested publisher — or skip the publisher altogether and get your book into the hands of thousands of readers, join us in Bali Oct. 1-6, 2010 for “Write and Sell Your Book Now!”
A $300 Early Bird discount can be yours if you register before April 15, 2010.
See you in Bali in October.