Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Often when I’m on an agent panel at a writers conference, a conferee will ask: If I self-publish, how will that be perceived by an agent or a royalty-paying publisher?
Does self-publishing a book make it more valuable?
Not really. Agents and traditional publishers understand that a self-published book was something a writer paid to have created. It only gains value if the writer was able to sell several thousand copies–like five thousand or more. Once you reach ten thousand, that starts to gain real attention.
Does self-publishing hurt my chances in finding an agent?
Not really. To me, it’s a neutral factor. Certainly I want to know that you have self-published and what the sales were. Self-publishing becomes an important factor only if you sold a ton of copies or have tied up the rights to the title so you aren’t free to offer those rights to a publisher.
How should I present a self-published book in my bio?
It’s important to specify that the book is self-published. I once heard an agent suggest to a panel’s audience that no distinction exists between self-publishing and publishing by a traditional publisher, but that distinction does hold true. So be sure to spell out how a book came into existence and the number of copies sold.
Ultimately, self-publishing has little affect on your traditional publishing future–unless your success shows that:
- an audience exists for your work
- a larger audience awaits your book (in other words, you haven’t already sold copies to most people who would want to buy them)
- you have marketing skills and a growing email list, twitter followers, Facebook friends, etc., that can be applied to projects published by a traditional publisher.