Dec 14, 2011

Post Troubles And More About Self-Publishing

By Melinda Carroll

My computer won't let me sign on, but for some reason my iPad will. So what does that mean? This is going to be a short post. I had a friend pass along an article from the Wall Street Journal (from Dec. 9) about self publishing. It was about an author named Darcie Chan who wrote a manuscript a number of years ago. She submitted it to over 100 agents before finding one that would represent her. Then none of the major publishing companies would pick it up. After shelving it for years she finally decided to go the self publishing route and published it earlier this year through Amazon's Kindle self-publishing program, selling her books for 99 cents (Chan makes about 35 cents per book).

She did some research and purchased some ads and reviews, and after some fortunate mentions on websites, etc. she has now sold over 400,000 copies. Her book has been on the NY Times best selling list, yet astoundingly, she still can't find a publisher. She's had six film studios request the rights to her book, along with audio-book publishers and foreign publishers. She hasnt accepted any offers because she's afraid it will make it more difficult to get a publishing deal here in the US. But the traditional publishers are still hesitant to take her book on because they now fear it's "run it's course" and won't be successful for them. Any offers she's received have been worse than the money she makes on her own. So frustrating!!!

It's an interesting article. It reminds us that we need to be informed when it comes to self-publishing or traditional publishing. We need to know what our ultimate goals are, and what roads we need to take to get there. And we have to be prepared if those roads lead us somewhere we didn't expect.


  1. Melinda,

    Thanks for the info. The writing world is drastically changing. I think we will see more and more writing entrepreneurs in the Indie Feild in the recent future. Me included.

  2. I'm sorry to say this, but I do not understand Ms. Chan's quest for a publisher. Her book has already been sold successfully to hundreds of thousands of readers. Isn't that the ultimate goal? To get the work to readers, no matter through what means?

    This is a reminder that some writers write for warm fuzzies, and some writers write for readers.

  3. Interesting. I attended a class not too long ago all about the ebook industry. Pricing was an interesting discussion. You will make more money by charging a little more for the book than that .99. You sell less books, but you will net more cash overall. There is a "tipping point" obviously. But all the reports are showing that the .99 thing is not the best idea. I found that interesting, too.

  4. Marsha, I wondered the same thing. She wanted the professional edits and marketing that come with a traditional publisher. She said she also wanted to see the book in print.
    Kari, according to the article she originally had it priced at $2.99 because Amazon gives you 70% commission for books at that price or above, but she wasn't selling many. So she dropped it to .99 and took a cut in the commission (from 70% down to 35%) and sold 100 in the first month.

  5. I can see this. I'll take a chance on a 99 cent book that I won't for more than 5.00 and most are these days.

  6. Melinda: She wanted to see the book in print? What about offering a paperback version of the book as well through Amazon's print services? I haven't published mine yet (waiting for January to be over so I can start querying small print publishers; I'm done with agents), but I've always thought it would be a good idea to have both options available. Some readers, myself included, prefer the feel of pages between their fingers.


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