Self-Publishing: For The Informed Only

November 30th, 2005 · 5 Comments
by Booksquare

It is the BS policy to remain perplexed until someone explains every little detail, in detail. For example, we are not surprised by the idea that a self-published author might land a deal with a traditional print publisher. Happens all the time. What makes no sense to us (and, admittedly, the caffeine hasn’t reached the brain yet) is this:

Now Billingsley, who will speak at the Miami Book Fair International next Sunday, has a contract with Simon & Schuster to release nine books in the next two years.

A nine-book deal, nine of those books to apparently be written by a person with another full-time job, in a two-year period, after selling on 15,000 copies of a self-published title? We are not so good at math, so maybe we’re missing something. Setting aside the logistical nightmare, one wonders if Dan Brown’s agent can do better. Not that we are professionally skeptical, but there seems to be a few missing dots in this story.

That being said, it’s one of the better looks at the advantages and pitfalls of self-publishing that we’ve seen in some time.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs · The Future of Publishing

5 responses so far ↓

  • Aimee Poynter // Nov 30, 2005 at 11:05 am

    Interesting that Billingsley’s tack of calling bookstores and requesting her book but not purchasing it is one of the reasons that many bookstores are not very friendly toward self-published authors.

  • Harry Connolly // Nov 30, 2005 at 11:07 am

    I wonder how many of those books are already written and resting at the bottom of his trunk?

  • Brenda Coulter // Nov 30, 2005 at 11:08 am

    Selling 15,000 copies of a self-published book in a single year is phenomenal and indicates that either the author has a genius for marketing or the book was so darn good it generated its own sales by word-of-mouth. Whichever is true (and especially if both are), of course a major publisher was going to notice. Imagine what this author might do with a big house behind her.

    As for the nine books in two years, I couldn’t do it, but I know many writers who could–and do. Maybe the books are shorties. Maybe they’re already outlined. Maybe some of the manuscripts are already finished…. Still, you have to admire the woman.

  • Harry Connolly // Nov 30, 2005 at 11:09 am

    I meant to say “her” trunk. Der on me.

  • Booksquare // Dec 1, 2005 at 8:50 am

    I would normally agree that 15,000 self-published titles is phenomenal, but I’m not feeling good about the numbers. The whole scenario felt a bit squishy to me. Maybe it was the marketing strategy employed by the author — all those phone calls to bookstores couldn’t possibly have lead to related sales.

    There have been a lot of self-publishing successes, and I believe it’s a legitimate route for many authors (provided they go in to the venue fully informed). That being said, the nine-book deal didn’t sound right either. If the author is as great as such a deal would suggest, then locking up the next nine books is a dumb business move. Advances and royalties are already defined, leaving the author little room to negotiate if national success equals local success.

    If the books do not take off nationally, then the publisher is dumb as they’ve committed to paying advances plus editorial, production, distribution, and marketing time over a very short window. Of course, if we’re talking the next Harry Potter, then the publisher is sitting very pretty.

    Then again, maybe it’s the fact that a deal like this would have attracted more attention in the literary press (and we both follow that with a fair degree of closeness). It’s a nine-book deal. I remain skeptical, though always willing to review facts.