Self-Publishing Not Necessarily a Bowl of Cherries

After seeing stories here like “Self Publishing Success Story”, Craig Miller sent me a link to author Lee Goldberg’s skeptical warning about self-publishing titled “More Vanity Press Kool-Aid”. Craig explained:

Lee is a mostly-former TV writer and now writes a lot of tie-in mysteries (Monk books, for example) and original mysteries.  His blog is, like most people’s, about what he’s doing but he occasionally talks about self-publishing – because self-publishing authors who he’s never heard of contact him for reviews of their books.

Lee’s article particularly warns about the expense of self-publishing an inventory of books:

These articles never mention the tens of thousands of dollars that these “successful” self-published authors had to spend…and how extraordinarily rare it is for vanity press authors jump to a real publisher, which despite their hoo-hawing for vanity presses is what they all want.

He points to SFWA’s full discussion of the business on the Science Fiction Writers of America site, which says in part:

The average book from a POD service sells fewer than 200 copies–mostly to “pocket” markets surrounding the author–friends, family, local retailers who can be persuaded to place an order–and to the author him/herself. According to the chief executive of POD service iUniverse, quoted in the New York Times in 2004, 40% of iUniverse’s books are sold directly to authors.