why self-published books fail

Yes, I know I’m going to be barraged with emails telling me that I’m wrong, that title A, B, or C managed to hit bestseller lists even though they were self-published.  And I agree, there are several notable examples of self-published books that did do well: The Chicken Soup series, for example.  And The Celestine Prophecy.  And a book that came out in the 90’s called The Messengers.  Those three books sold well because the authors took them on the road and sold tons out of the trunks of their cars or on the lecture circuit or through their contacts in churches.  (Although I should point out that the latter two titles didn’t really hit blockbuster status until they were subsequently sold to, and published by, big-name publishing houses.)  But for the most part, self-published books just don’t sell in big numbers, and for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of writing or the lack of editing (although we can talk about those flaws, too.)  It all gets down to the one huge weakness in the self-publishing business model.

Distribution.

I was reminded of this at a booksigning at a Barnes and Noble in New Hampshire.  After the signing, the events coordinator thanked me for being “so easy to work with — unlike some other authors.” 

“But I would think that most authors are pretty nice,” I said.

“Most are,” she said.  “But the self-published ones are horrible.”  Then she described an incident that had happened earlier that week.  A local self-published author had requested that the store arrange a booksigning for him, and she had turned him down flat.  Enraged, he’d thrown the book on the floor and asked: “When the hell am I ever going to get a signing in this store?”

“When pigs fly,” she’d snapped at him.  The man couldn’t accept the fact that their store almost never hosted signings by self-published authors — even if the author was local.

“Why not?” I asked.  “Is it because of the quality of the books?”

“That’s only part of it,” she said.  “The real reason is that we can’t return them.”  

This was a revelation to me.  She explained that when they order books from a subsidy (self-publishing) press, the books are non-returnable.  If the store can’t sell them, then they’re stuck with them.  And they lose money. 

Regular publishers, on the other hand, ship books on a refundable basis, so if the store orders 100 copies and only sells ten, they can ship the 90 unsold copies back and get a refund.  In this case, there’s no risk on the store’s part, so they’re happy to host a signing and order tons of books because they know they won’t get stuck with them.

“That’s why self-published authors can’t get their books into the large chains,” she explained.  “It’s all about non-returnability.”

So if you’re an author who’s thinking about going the self-published route, this is a cold splash of reality.  No matter how good your book is, good luck getting nationwide distribution unless you can guarantee the stores you’ll take back the unsold copies. 

It also tells me that we’re stuck with the current system of bookstore returns.  Bookstores are too afraid to take the risks of getting stuck with unsold stock.  They’d as soon not order any copies at all, and would only order the blockbuster titles they know they can sell.  In the end, it would be the new and quirky titles that would suffer — and all of us, readers and writers alike, would be the losers.

36 replies
  1. tuttle
    tuttle says:

    Tess-
    I agree that the much of the current distribution model that the publishing and bookselling industry uses has GOT TO BE upgraded
    changed
    challenged
    re-thunk
    so that it can get up to speed with the rest of the world.(including Amazon.com and e-publishing and audiobooks and just plain old fashioned humping around the country such as the amazing JA Konrath.)

    Even though literacy numbers are still low (especially in America)there’s an amazing number of books being published each year (heck- every month!) and people ARE getting to those books but the main artery of distribution is being choked off and slowed down from an ancient distributing infrastructure because nobody wants to step up and start the process needed that will ensure not only a more viable system for all but also a system that may ensure that we as a literate society are able to have
    (and SHOULD have) better access to the multitude of material thats out there.

    No, I myself do not know the answer. But maybe some people do and some kind of forum or panel should be arranged.
    AND the results , thoughts and suggestions OF THAT PANEL should be decided upon and enabled as soon as possible.

  2. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    i had a friend who self published a book and i bought a copy from amazon-it was about our former occupation which we had started on together and i was interested in his perspective because he became a headquarters/training type while i was a senior peon(by choice) throughout my career-anyway the book was okay and i wrote him a nice review on amazon-he sent me a bunch of copies for nothing and i gave them away to people with an interest in the subject-ha!distribution problem solved-only no profit,but nothing works out perfectly

  3. patrickshawnbagley
    patrickshawnbagley says:

    I used to sell self-published books at my store, but only on a consignment basis. I only paid them for copies that sold, and I would only keep the book on the shelf for three months unless there was some action (even selling one or two copies would be enough to justify my keeping the title a while longer). A few of the authors balked at the 40% discount I demanded, but I think it was fair since their books took up valuable shelf space while not selling.

    I’d also have to agree with your bookseller friend that a lot of the self-pubbed people are rude and pushy. Many times I was blamed for the fact that no one wanted to pay ten bucks Author X’s cheesy book. Never mind that I had it displayed face-out right next to the cash register.

    Since I’m no longer on the retail end of the book biz, my main issue with vanity and subsidy presses is the lack of editorial input. Some of these books, of which their authors are so proud, are downright awful. One local woman gave me a copy of her book in the hope of getting me to host a signing, so I took it home and tried reading it. Here was a woman in her late 50s, supposedly educated, trying to sell a novel that read like a fourth-grade child had written it. You know you’re in for a real treat when the author describes her own work as “poignant.”

    Yes, there are exceptions to the rule…Walt Whitman, L. Frank Baum…blah, blah, blah. The sad fact is, a lot of these self-published books are just not worth reading or promoting.

  4. wrrriter
    wrrriter says:

    I wonder if there’s confusion here between “self published” and “print on demand.” A writer can establish a book publishing company to publish his/her own books and then get distribution through the normal channels. On the other hand, books published through vanity publishers and POD publishers cannot be returned.

    So it’s possible for a self-published writer to also have distribution in place to handle the returnable requirement for bookstores.

    Ray Rhamey
    http://www.floggingthequill.com

  5. JMH
    JMH says:

    Tess: It’s sad that yet another established author has decided to take a sucker punch as self-published authors. You even portray one of them as a raving lunitic. While it’s true that books must be returnable to get into BN, Borders and BAMM, what you don’t note is that any self-published author can print books at a reasonable cost and set up an account with Baker & Taylor, which sells to all bookstores on a returnability basis. Also, all the large chains selct books on their merits, irrespective of the size of the publisher. There’s a lot more self-published authors out there succeeding like crazy than you are probably aware of.

  6. Tess
    Tess says:

    JMH and Ray, I admit I’m not all that familiar with the world of self-publishing. The description of the self-published author was purely the B&N event coordinator’s, and not mine. I just recounted what she’d told me. And she was pretty riled by the experience.

    If an author can set up an account through Baker and Taylor and guarantee that the books are returnable, I see no reason why the chains shouldn’t take it. But the key is returnability.

  7. Kirsten
    Kirsten says:

    I recently read a review of The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler at Writer Unboxed (http://writerunboxed.com/) and stopped by my local big box chain the other day on the off chance they’d have a copy in stock. (Off chance because the pub date is 1998 and of course the older the title, the less likely you’ll find it.) I ended up doing what I’ve done way too many times before in bricks & mortar stores: hunted about fruitlessly for a title that could have been shelved in any of about three different spots. Or might not be there at all. Guessing game.

    Even the staff at these stores (assuming you can find a free staffer without having to stand in line) don’t necessarily know where things are shelved. I once got the idea I might want to read something on Goya. Couldn’t find a single book about him in the store. Gave up, asked for help, then spent 10 minutes following a staffer around while she tried to figure out whether they had any and if so, was it under art or artist bios or whatever the categories are.

    Compare this to the experience of shopping at Amazon, or Alibris, or some other online store. You are interested in a topic, or author, or title. You type in a keyword and you’re there. Another click & the book’s on its way.

    The only downside is that you have to wait for the book to be mailed, but OTOH it sometimes seems like finding a book in a bookstore takes about as long 😉

    So here’s my question: why can’t bricks & mortar book stores find a way to adapt some of the technologies used by online stores?

    It wouldn’t even have to go so far as publisher-distributor-consumer just-in-time inventory management (although dog knows that would help the publishing industry overall).

    But why not combine in-store inventory tracking (one Dutch bookstore has already done it, http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/2273/1/1/) with kiosks that give an Amazon-like interface. You walk into a store. You sign into your account at a kiosk and shop. If the book(s) you want to buy is/are in stock, you’re pointed to the precise location on the stores, kinda like in a library (imagine! LOL)

    As with Amazon the kiosk could suggest other books.

    Maybe let you print up a ticket with book ideas and their locations so when you leave the kiosk you have a little paper guide with you!

    If you want to buy something that’s not in stock, you click a button that sends your order to a checkout clerk; you pay on the way out; when the book comes in the store delivers it at no charge to your door. (No charge delivery would give bricks & mortar a competitive edge over the onliners — and why couldn’t they keep a van and driver to deliver books w/in, say, a 30 mile radius? Appliance stores do it!)

    This scheme would solve the returns problem because it would make maintaining inventory less critical. In the case of a self-pubbed author, the store could arrange a reading and anyone who wanted to buy the book could place an order. Orders would be essentially prepaid so the store’s risk is minimal. The author could sign bookplates.

    I suppose there are some issues as per interfacing with distributors etc. but the infrastructure for placing “special orders” is already in place, right? It’s just that it’s cumbersome for customers to place the order & requires the customer to return to the store when the order comes in.

    I’m armchair coaching here, but if I were a bookstore owner this is how I’d be looking at things . . .

  8. ec
    ec says:

    The bookseller’s experience with the self-published author is unfortunate, but this type of tale could probably be matched story-for-story with anecdotes about Conventionally Published Authors from Hell.

    I know a guy who shows up at other people’s signings, a stack of books in his arms, and stands there waiting until someone asks him to join in. He arranges his books cover-out on the shelves or relocates them to endcap dumps. Bookstores have been known to call his publishers and ask them to call him off. When I was doing a convention signing, an author lugged over a big cardboard box of books and hand-outs and proceded to set up an outpost of her fanclub at the table I was currently occupying. That was actually a fairly amusing hour, especially when her husband, who was in full fantasy-con regalia, came by, and she bade him give us a spin so I could regard and comment upon his very-tight-leather-clad ass. Most fantasy readers would know that author’s name. Before a signing in a store in Washington state, I listened to the booksellers tell backroom horror stories about a fantasy author who insulted the fans and, when complimented by one of the booksellers on his strong female characters, sniffed and replied, “That’s why these novels are called ‘fantasy’…” Damn near EVERY fantasy reader would know his name.

    Of course, I’ve met some odd self-published folk, too. And more than a few really great ones. In summary, it’s my observation that people tend to run the entire gamut of personality type and social skills, regardless of how–or if–they are published. 🙂

  9. spyscribbler
    spyscribbler says:

    I’ve noticed a preponderance of new-to-the-business authors posts on various loops about self-publishing. They’ve bought the whole iUniverse schtick about self-publishing being the best and easiest way to break into the business.

    That makes me sad, because it’s a very difficult, usually impossible way to break into the business.

    What’s strange, is that no matter how many experienced authors reply and explain the reality of the business, these people act like the experienced authors don’t know what they’re talking about.

    I always watch, speechlessly, wondering what can be said to inspire the new-to-the-biz author to do a little research.

    Thanks for posting this!

    Pssst, above … (POD and self-publishing are not synonymous.)

  10. ec
    ec says:

    It seems to me that many aspiring writers see publication as the Holy Grail, and simply don’t consider what comes after. I’ve been enjoying (and recommending) J.A. Konrath’s blog, especially his “publication is just the beginning” mantra. If more aspiring writers could get their heads around this notion, fewer aspiring writers would succumb to the unrealistic expectations publishers such as iUniverse are pimping.

    There’s a gal in my town who’s a cheerleader for self-publishing. She seems to view the attitude of conventionally published authors toward s-p as a type of posturing and social positioning, rather like wearing designer clothes and looking down one’s nose at those who do not. I suspect, however, that much of this attitude can be explained by humankind’s nearly boundless capacity for rationalization. Self-published gal knows that the only way to sell her books is to hand-sell them, and she knows the challenge of getting bookstores to give her the chance to do so, but there seems to be a disconnect between her rah-rah approach to s-p, and the reality of her situation.

    That said, I’m watching with interest the development of e-publishing as an alternate delivery system. My husband just bought a Sony e-book and absolutely loves it. I think it’s very possible that publishing models will be expanding over the next few years.

  11. struggler
    struggler says:

    This is a close-to-the-heart topic for me because I’m still undecided as to which way to go – pub or self-pub. What attracts me about self-pub (and what attracts most others, I guess) is that at the very least, I am IN CONTROL of the outcome, even if that outcome is modest by established writers’ standards. For example, I got a quote last year from a POD company to print 10,000 books for £10,000 (that’s about US$19000) and I’m sure that when I wiggle some cash under their noses I can do a lot better. But at £1/$1.90 per book, I think I can make money if I emulate the workaholic Mr Konrath, who is an inspiration to us all in my opinion. In my business plan, I would arrange for 250 venues across the country (the UK’s smaller than the US last time I looked) – many of them NOT bookstores but anywhere where lots of people gather (like car boot sales and markets etc) with the aim of selling what I would have thought a modest 40 signed books per venue, maybe 5 books every hour on average. This may sound painfully naive to the established literati reading this, but I do NOT relish the idea of humping my magnificent manuscript around to a squillion potential publishers and not hearing a jot from a single one. Even JK Rowling was rejected about 10 times before anyone saw the light, so what do publishers know? Don’t get me wrong, I would MUCH prefer to do it the old-fashioned, conventional and supposedly ‘right’ way and secure a contract with an agent and publisher, but the more stories I read about that, the more it puts me off. I plan to self-pub just the once, with a view to prostituting myself among the publishers second time around with the added confidence of having a ‘published’ book under my belt for which I can honestly claim 10,000 sales. Maybe they’ll listen then.

    Doubtless I’ll get shot down in flames here, but I’m an inexperienced writer with 30 years’ experience of direct sales behind me, and I paint a convincing picture to people to buy from me. I said this a few weeks back on Tess’ blog: for success you need a great product AND great distribution….if one of those is found wanting, the success may not happen. And while the published route provides immensely better distribution than an individual can achieve alone, it’s back to the chicken-and-egg syndrome of not having an agent or publisher (e.g. like ME) and the desire to by-pass that life of rejection, insult and despair and at least have a go at the self-publishing route. The worst thing that can happen is that I end up with 10,000 copies of my own book in my garage, another maxed-out credit card and losts of emails saying ‘we told you so’.

    Hey – there’s worse things that can happen.

  12. ec
    ec says:

    I’ve had over 20 novels published the old fashioned way, and my books have been on a number of bestseller lists, including the NY Times, and I have several more books under contract or in the pipeline, but I’m also considering sticking a toe in the waters of alternate distribution. The notion of e-publishing, in particular, fascinates me. While most of these ventures are not yet lucrative or, for that matter, financially viable, they have tremendous scope for creativity and innovation.

    There are some really interesting things happening, such as the Amazon Shorts–original fiction you can download from Amazon.com for $.49 a pop. (Go buy J.A. Konrath’s short story collections–great stuff!) The latest SFWA bulletin mentioned that Harlequin will send daily excerts of a new romance novel to your cell phone for $2.49 a month, so that even the busiest soccer mom can squeeze in a few moments of romance.

    I can think of a number of reasons to self-publish and/or e-publish. If you do a lot of book signings and attend a lot of conventions, a short story or novella in chapbook format could go a long way toward interesting potential readers in an upcoming book or continuing character series. Making this available in electronic format reaches an even wider audience. There might be times when you want to catch a wave, but can’t do so by going through conventional channels. I expect there will be a rather large batch of pirate-themed fantasy adventure tales coming out this summer to coincide with the third “Pirates of the Carribean” movie, but even so, I’m wondering whether the interest in fantasy pirates might justify an experiment in e-publishing. I read with interest M.J. Rose’s 500-blog promotion, and I wonder what might be accomplished by promoting a project of this nature through pirate-themed websites (there are gazillions of them), either through links or Google ads.

    I don’t see e-publishing replacing the conventional distribution channels any time soon, and I think moving too many eggs into an electronic basket would be a huge mistake, but the idea of testing the new technological waters holds considerable appeal.

  13. Tess
    Tess says:

    Struggler,
    I advise you strongly to at least TRY to go the conventionally published route. You haven’t even sent off the first query letter, and already you sound like you’re certain of rejection. Well, STOP THAT right now! Yes, it’s frustrating to try to find an agent, it’s ego-battering to get rejection letters. But that’s how most published authors got published. They took the chance, took a few hits, learned along the way, and stuck with it. And instead of paying to have their books printed, someone paid THEM.

    A self-published book will NOT count as much of a publishing credit when you later submit your next manuscript to a conventional publisher. In fact, agents and editors might even consider an earlier self-published novel a mark against you. (At least, the ones I’ve spoken to think so.)

    I hate to sound so negative on this issue, but I fear that many, many writers are being taken advantage of by vanity presses.

  14. struggler
    struggler says:

    Tess you can be so bossy sometimes! OK after my smacked bottie I promise to never, ever thing about self-publishing again (in fact I’ll so a Bart Simpson and write it on the blackboard 100 times)

    PS Could you refer me to your UK agent?

    😉

  15. marky48
    marky48 says:

    I tried this with two nonfiction travel memoirs with predictable results. And that was back when it was relatively new and free, not the case now. Since then on the net I’ve become a “reviled” self-publishing critic. The sooner the poor people who fall for this wise up to reality the better off they’ll be. Even with the so-called specialized nonfiction the format isn’t commercially viable. I agree with your post 100 percent.

  16. JMH
    JMH says:

    I am an author who formed my own publishing company, Dark Sky Publishing, Inc., which some would say makes me “self-published.” The company publishes only my books—the Laws series, which are hard-edged legal/crime thrillers. Dark Sky performs all of the tasks that are required of any publisher, namely book editing, copy editing, cover design, printing, distribution, etc. The Laws books are printed by one of the top book manufacturing companies, Central Plains Book Manufacturing. It costs approximately $6,000 to print 3,000 trade paperback books (TP). Distribution is performed primarily through Baker & Taylor, which will automatically establish an account with any size publisher. Virtually every bookseller in the US, both chain and independent, has an account with B&T, which sells books with full return rights. The Laws books are also purchased from Dark Sky by other wholesales and book buyers besides B&T, such as Barnes & Noble Distribution Center, Borders, BAMM, Brodart, Blackwell’s, Amazon and many others.

    So far the company has released two books, namely Night Laws (March 2006) and Shadow Laws (October 2006), with two more written and upcoming, namely Fatal Laws (March 2007) and Deadly Laws (Mid-2007), and another in the works, Bangkok Laws (2008).

    As for the first two books which have been officially released, Night Laws and Shadow Laws, they are carried on the shelves of most of the Borders and B&N stores throughout Colorado. BAMM, an east-coast chain, recently indicated that it will stock Shadow Laws in stores starting early 2007. Our books are also available online at countless venues including Amazon, B&N, Borders, BAMM, and many others.

    As the author, I have held over 30 author events at B&N and Borders stores with many more scheduled. The average event results in a sale of 15-30 books with the average being about 20.

    The Laws books have been reviewed by such fine review organizations as Library Journal, Midwest Book Review, New Mystery Reader Magazine, Heartland Reviews, In the Library Reviews, Crimespree Magazine, FWOMP Book Review, I Love a Mystery, Roundtable Reviews, Simegen Reviews, Armchair Interviews, Book Pleasures, Book Review Café, Crime Scene Scotland, Quill Pen, Review Books, Reviewing the Evidence, Bookbitch, Linear Reflections, and many others. They have also been blurbed by such noted authors as Carolyn G. Hart, J.A. Konrath, Baron Birtcher, Tony Cheatham, L.B. Cobb, Anne K. Edwards, Geraldine Evans, Eric Harry, Joan Hall Hovey, Sarah Lovett, Evan McNamara, Patricia Rasey, Shelley Singer, Mark Terry, Nancy Tesler, Mark Bouton, Ann Ripley and others.

    On October 1, 2007, Library Journal issued the following review of Shadow Laws:
    While police detective Bryson Coventry investigates what looks to become a serial-killer nightmare, brilliant and beautiful young attorney Taylor Sutton is hired by big-time lawyer Nick Trotter to follow up on a mysterious client who pays Nick a fee but has never asked him to do any legal work. As engaging as the debut Night Laws, this exciting blend of police procedural and legal thriller recalls the early works of Scott Turow and Lisa Scottoline. Hansen is a Colorado attorney.

    Many hundreds of copies of the Laws books are stocked by libraries across the country. Following the Library Journal review above, library orders for Shadow Laws exploded and several hundred books have been ordered out just in the last few weeks.
    Thousands of copies of the Laws books have already been sold. Dark Sky Publishing operates at a profit, in fact, a very healthy profit. This is why I disagree with your blog, “Why self-published books fail.”

  17. Tess
    Tess says:

    JMH, what you did was establish a small press, which is a quantum leap above paying a vanity press to publish your book. You, in effect, copied the conventional publishing business model, including their full-returns policy. As a result you were able to get nationwide distribution. Your books ARE, in effect, conventionally published, the same as if Rupert Murdoch chose to publish his own novel through his own company Harper Collins. Even if his book was the most badly written novel in the world, I have a feeling he’d still manage to get it published… because he has the bucks and the power.

    The problem is, you had to accept all the financial risks yourself — and it IS a financial risk to back a national release of any book. Rupert Murdoch can afford it. But let’s say one hopes to hit a national bestseller list. To achieve that, you’d probably need a print run of 35,000 copies. Not many authors would be willing to take on that much risk. So right off the bat, a self-published author has a limited chance of success, because the personal gamble is just too great.

    I’m glad to hear that your books are doing well. But you could just as easily have lost your shirt.

  18. Zinza
    Zinza says:

    I enjoyed reading the above, especially about the tantrums of the frustrated self published authors — hilarious; perhaps it contains the kernel of a novel in its own right? I’m not a writer and the last time I wrote a story was in 7th grade, for which I got a satisfying reward – an ” A ” from my English teacher.
    A few months ago I picked up a fiction paperback lying forlornly in an airport lounge area. Kool, I said to myself — free reading material for my flight! Good cover, good intro, captivating topic. Almost immediately, however, I stumbled and tripped
    over some strange, stilted phrases and odd – sounding descriptive passages that made the book increasingly arduous to read. Not surprisingly I later discovered it was self – published. I felt sorry for the author — he actually had an interesting story, but it was obvious he did not go through the ” trial by fire ” that is necessary to hone and perfect his craft. It’s actually embarrassing to see something like this – I wonder if this is typical of self published books.

  19. MelH
    MelH says:

    Ms. Gerritsen,
    What a damning and unfair indictment on Self-Publishing. It is clear that you are uneducated to the publishing business or you’ve written this entry because you don’t like the competition.

    I’m self-published and I’ve received nothing short of praise for my debut effort. You, however, probably never heard of me (that’s ok, this is the first time I’m hearing of you.) and do you know why you’ve never heard of me? One simple reason, which is also the same reason why self-published books fail:

    AUTHOR/PUBLISHERS DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY FOR MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION.

    Ask yourself, honestly, with the traditional publishing business-revenue model are you are bestselling author or a best loaning author? Only you know for sure by the royalty statement you receive every six months from your publisher.

    Traditional publishers sell on consignment too. They print and ship books out bestsellers and then they promote the heck of those books with the hopes that they will sell in the thousands. If the books don’t sell those books are returned to the publisher. Guess where they end up, in the hands of employees such as me when I used to work for Penguin & Putnam (before the merger).

    However, many of us Author/Publishers can’t afford to print up books to ship to every retail outlet in the country. It is cost-prohibitive and there isn’t much incentive either, on the part of the retailer or the author/publisher, to do it.

    Let’s say a major retailer acquires a self-pub book; in an effort not to let the book collect dust or have it returned, the author/ publisher will have to market and promote nationwide. Again, that’s cost-prohibitive.

    I released my book in March 2006, and to date, I’ve personally sold 200 copies, but I can assure you the cost per acquisition is very low. I’ve only given away 25 books and only had to sell approximately 40 books to break even.

    Personally, from a distribution perspective I can’t stand dealing with bricks and mortar bookstores for several reasons. I’ve sold books through Amazon.com, Borders and an independent bookstore in Wheeling, WV. I know because I ask my readers how they acquired my book. Do you know those sales have yet to be reported? Distributors are required to report sales in 60 day from the date of sale, yet retailers can take almost 120 days to make payment.

    Now you know why traditional publishers send out royalty statements every six months. They have to wait for payment too.

    What’s more, the royalties are practically cut in half in an effort to stay competitive in the market when dealing with distributors, wholesalers and retail outlets in the market. When I sell my book direct, I make approx $7 in royalties. When I sell through a retail operation that royalty is $2.00 and that’s even with a retail price of $16.95.

    Anyone who decides to self-publish must first learn the rules of engagement. Unfortunately, the example you cited isn’t the norm in the self-publishing business. The reasons for success or failure vary and are far more reaching than the answer you’ve provided.

  20. Speaking of Peace
    Speaking of Peace says:

    Dear Friends, I came upon this site and was saddened by much of what I read. First and foremost, each piece of writing must be considered individually – regardless of where it has been published. There are traditionally published pieces which are of questionable quality just as there are self-published pieces of the same. Secondly, not all vanity and POD’s are without a return policy. CafePress for example has a 30 day return policy. And finally, I would hope that no sincere writer is discouraged by reading anything negative regarding self-publishing. We live in exciting times in which we have varied opportunites. We are blessed to live in America where we celebrate free speech. And, we are limited only by that which we choose to be. I think it is wonderful that we live in a time when writers can design their destiny rather than wait for someone else to count them worthy. If we all spent our days and nights considering what it is that we could do to make an earnest contribution in the world; we would indeed be too busy to have this dialouge. I have not been sorry for one moment that I self-published my book “Speaking of Peace” and I have been very happy with the quaility provided by CafePress. If just one person is helped by listening to my cd or reading my book, then I have done my job. I do not write to make money, nor do I write to be famous, I write because it is who I am. Wishing you all a beautiful day and peaceful night. Peace on Earth. Thank You. Laura Lester Fournier

  21. Bill H.
    Bill H. says:

    JMH,

    While I agree with some of your points, I’m not sure if I would characterize your printer, Central Plains Book Manufacturing, as a “top” book manufacturer. From what I’ve read, they are one of the worst.

    Check out this website:

    http://central-plains-book.tripod.com

    You might want to get some quotes from other companies!

  22. TheSyretts
    TheSyretts says:

    We wonder how long it will take for the book publishing industry to be revolutionized in a similar manner to what’s happened to the traditional recorded-music business. In that realm, self-publishing is now potentially a quicker route to being able to make a living from your art than dealing with those suits who (in the words of the Byrds) are “waiting there to sell plasticware”. I’m sure returnability of physical product was an issue for outfits like Tower Records. The analogy isn’t precise, because reading is different from listening, but I can’t help believing that the bookstore of the future will have just one shelf copy of each title, with a fancy machine in the back room that downloads, perfect-binds and serial-numbers a book only AFTER the buyer’s credit card payment has gone through. In that model, the major argument against self-publication goes away.

  23. GEMMAwF
    GEMMAwF says:

    The already written essay associated with this good post creating seems to be a really time taking work, but if you’re not a real professional, you got a chance to get the knowledge connected with buy term paper in the writing service very simply.

  24. Keinon99
    Keinon99 says:

    I think Books are very important, helps us to build our spirit, give information, help to pass time, make us more deep an cultural, helps us to write and think better, help us to chose people, because with book you will able to chose the persons that like the same books that you like.

    Regards!
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  25. AdvantagePapers
    AdvantagePapers says:

    This is good to ask that why self published books fail, and I think there are many reasons for that, self publishing it is the most common problem and I think these books are not as good as it needs to.

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  26. Essay Writing
    Essay Writing says:

    There are many reasons behind this, I think The main reason is that Peoples are not interested to read’s the book, Now they find a short way to get the info. And the short way is internet. But I think Books are giving you proper information about the topic’s. and Books can solve any prob.

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  27. mandela011
    mandela011 says:

    To succeed as a self-publisher you need to have a business plan for marketing your book. You need to polish your manuscript, and then turn it over to a professional editor. Have the cover and interior designed by a professional who understands both art and marketing, and then have your book proofread just before it is typeset. Start with a very small press run— get a few hundred copies into the hands of readers and reviewers and let demand build before you pay for thousands of copies. That is the way to self-publishing success.
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