Publishing on Amazon first

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Thread: Publishing on Amazon first

  1. #1

    Question Publishing on Amazon first

    This is going to sound really weird, but I've been thinking about publishing a poetry book or novella onto Amazon first to act as a portfolio for traditional publishers. The reason I'm considering this is that I noticed that a lot of publishing companies, or at least the ones I'm looking at, request a CV with a list of accomplishments or titles you've worked on. As someone just starting out, I obviously don't have either of those things though I have submitted stuff to journals and contests (still haven't heard back from them yet). I'm starting from scratch with nothing but a few of my poems published in a local literary magazine when I was in high school. Would it be a good idea to publish a few things to Amazon first so that publishing houses could see that I'm not a fraud and can write something worth reading. Willing to hear all thoughts on this because I'm kind of desperate for advice at this point.

  2. #2
    I wouldn't do that. Although there's always the rare exception, in general publishers do NOT want anything that's already been published. The advice goes around now and then that self-publishing is a way to get trade publishers' attention but it is false. It's based on those rare exceptions, and a rare exception is, by definition, not a good bet, especially in an industry that's so tough in the first place. Also, when a decent sized publisher does take on a self-published book, it's usually one that has already sold many, many copies, which is also rare.

    Publishers may or may not request a CV but unless you are some type of authority or celebrity, they're not that interested in anything but the quality of your manuscript itself. They aren't likely to be concerned that you are a "fraud."

    There are really no shortcuts. The big publishers, first of all, usually only accept work through literary agents, so you'd need a good agent first. And before that, comes the long, hard slog of being able to write very well.

    Everyone wants in but few get in. Good luck.
    Last edited by Ma'am; March 29th, 2020 at 02:19 AM.

  3. #3
    I was thinking more of putting stuff out there to be viewed and gain an audience/readers rather than putting something on Amazon hoping that a publisher would pick it up, but that is a good point. I'm just a little confused on how to approach publishers when so many of them seem obscenely selective. I understand why but it's kind of frustrating.

  4. #4
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    I remember listening to a Writing Excuses podcast where they were discussing the temptation to compare your WIP with other authors' published works...or even a published work of your own and the discouragement that comparison would cause. Because no WIP is anywhere near as polished as it will be if it goes through the route of traditional publishing.

    It is, likewise, difficult to create such a finished product on your own. Not impossible, I don't want the self-pubbed authors stoning me here, just much less likely.

    As a line item on your CV, though, it wouldn't be a bad project.

  5. #5
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    the only way a "self-published" resume will impress a legit publisher would MAYBE be if you could prove it had a very substantial amount of sales.
    otherwise? i'd say it would hurt more than help.

  6. #6
    Commit to one one path, and stick with it.

    Trad publishers are buried underneath offerings by unpublished writers, and they are not fond of the indie scene because every book an indie writer sells comes out of a trad publisher's bottom line.

    Unless your work sells in numbers akin to 50 Shades of Gray, trad publishers will consider you unpublished.

    Poetry is near the top of Amazon's low-sell list of genres, and one novella is not going to garner much attention, so going to a trad publisher citing indie works with minimal sales would definitely hurt you.

    Chose your route, and tailor your writing and marketing in that direction.
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  7. #7
    I agree that this is very unlikely to be useful. In terms of adding things to your CV, it would be like putting "cook my own dinner" on a CV for a chef's job. Your own dinners MAY be wonderful gourmet experiences, but cooking for yourself isn't professional experience, and there's absolutely no way for the person reading the CV to know whether your dinners are wonderful or awful.

    I don't know much about the poetry/novella market, but based on my experience with novels, there are very few shortcuts to publication. Unless you're a star in some other field, the child of someone famous, or similarly exceptional? You just submit, refine, submit, refine, and see where it takes you. Sorry.

  8. #8
    One thing that you have to remember about publishers is that they tend to view Indies and self-pubs in a dim light. Some think self-pubs are ruining the industry, and the Indies are stealing money from them. After all, we are taking a big bite out of their market.

    So unless you get a lot of reviews (like hundreds), they are not going to care. Unless you can tell them "I sold 10,000 copies..." they are not going to even look your book up (and will prolly stop reading your query at that point.

    But still, there is nothing wrong with self publishing your works. It is a good way to learn the ropes.
    It just won't work for what you want to do, at least not with the big publishing houses. The smaller pubs, and some agents may take a minute to look you up (if your query is compelling enough). I would mention it way, way down the page.


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