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Can You Self Publish And Still Get Published Traditionally? (1 Viewer)

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
For what it's worth, I know of one author who self-published her book and was later approached by a publishing company and asked if she would allow them to publish it too. She agreed and the book did quite well in sales. (I'd guess she had a good marketing system that got the work before the eyes that could help her even more.) I'd guess this to be quite out of the ordinary but it has happened in recent times.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
For what it's worth, I know of one author who self-published her book and was later approached by a publishing company and asked if she would allow them to publish it too. She agreed and the book did quite well in sales. (I'd guess she had a good marketing system that got the work before the eyes that could help her even more.) I'd guess this to be quite out of the ordinary but it has happened in recent times.
So it can happen but it's not the norm. Cheers. I just wanted to get ahead of the game on this. If I'm going to go for traditional publication, I have to consider how long I'm willing to pursue that before I self publish. I'm not going to sit on a book for years when I can at least self publish, but at the same time I don't want self publishing destroy the possibility of a book eventually getting traditionally published.

Here's a related question for anyone who's self published. Did you first pursue traditional publication and if so how long did you pursue it before you eventually self published? A year ... two years?
 

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
What happened, Sue?
Nothing really Llyralen. It was just a discussion with a person who should know that did not go very well. Actually, doing more research, I see it is possible so I may have mispoke, based on my experience. It is very important for a writer to retain their rights to their book. The difficulties I ran into required an attorney to help extract those rights for me, but I didn't pursue traditional publication after that. It took me awhile to get over it- but I'm fine now! :) This was a couple of years ago.

Thanks for asking! :)
 

Non Serviam

WF Veterans
If you self publish a book, can you still put that book forward to be published traditionally?

I self-publiahed and was subsequently approached by a mainstream publisher. I didn't approach them, they approached me. Admittedly it was a small press publisher who does print runs of a few thousand at a time.

I think it would be hard to do that with fiction though. Everything's easier for non-fiction writers in my experience.
 
It is possible to bring a self-published book into the traditional publishing industry as long as one important detail is taken care of: you've retained the rights to your book. That makes it possible to take your self-published book to an agent or a publishing house if you choose to try to do so at a later time.
 

LCLee

Financial Supporter
I googled it. I would imagine that somewhere along the way to riches a publisher would have stepped in to squeeze out a little.

Here are five famous—and bestselling—books you didn't know were self-published.
  • Milk and Honey—Rupi Kaur. rupikaur_ ...
  • Fifty Shades of Grey—E.L.James. ...
  • The Martian—Andy Weir. ...
  • Swann's Way—Marcel Proust. ...
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit—Beatrix Potter.
 

Digital Dive Labs

Senior Member
  • Fifty Shades of Grey—E.L.James. ...
Coincidentally, I recently finished watching the Folding Ideas essay on FSoG. It turns out that after her blog posts gained a mass following she was approached by a specialized publishing house devoted to nabbing self-published works.

That right there says it all. It's profitable enough for publishers to gear towards it exclusively, and they undeniably have enough resources to roll out a bestseller from it.

Albeit this doesn't mean bigger publishers can do the same since they're not optimized for the strategy. Perhaps they'd even reject by default because it's a slice of the market they can't reliably focus on.
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
If the book sells really well then you could get a conventional publishing contract. The Martian was an Indie book that went big and was eventually picked up by a big publisher.

But I have been told by people in the publishing business that they typically prefer not to "because they would be competing with themselves." Essentially they would have to overcome all the marketing you did in order to have everything pointing to THEIR version of the book.
So yes...if there is a bag of money in it for them.
No if your book had lackluster sales.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
I googled it. I would imagine that somewhere along the way to riches a publisher would have stepped in to squeeze out a little.

Here are five famous—and bestselling—books you didn't know were self-published.
  • Milk and Honey—Rupi Kaur. rupikaur_ ...
  • Fifty Shades of Grey—E.L.James. ...
  • The Martian—Andy Weir. ...
  • Swann's Way—Marcel Proust. ...
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit—Beatrix Potter.
Ah ha! I knew 50 Shades was self-pubbed first. Didn't know about the others.
My guess is that most small start-up publishers actually read a bit of what you send them, everyone else just bins the emails unread. What is needed is an agent. Or a name.
Betcha that anyone in the top 5% indi-sales might get an inquiry. If you can rack up that kind of interest on a shoestring budget, the publicity machine of a publishing house must be able to do better.
 
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