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.

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One thought on “Self-Publishing Not Necessarily a Bowl of Cherries

  1. Self Publishing Review, where I am doing some journalism again, would beg to differ with this assessment. ( The current submission system is broken and a lot of people, myself included, just got tired of waiting. Sturgeon’s Law does apply, but that’s also true of the mainstream (let me count the typos). My own book is selling, despite the current bad economy and I just did an interview for SPR with Carol Buchanan, author of God’s Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana which won the 2009 Spur Award for Best First Novel and was, yes, self-published. People writing outside of Science Ficiton and Fantasy can’t even get their work read by agents or publishers since no one wants fiction right now. See SPR for more information. BTW POD costs very little and there are no big inventories.

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