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Putting the self in self-publishing

Today's GalleyCat has two items that reference self-publishing, one about Isabella Jade, a former model who wrote a memoirs, and a second about The Lace Reader, a spec fic novel, even if it's not marketed that way. Both works were apparently self-published first, Jade's book on BookSurge; it doesn't say what method Brunonia Barry used to self-publish The Lace Reader. They don't mention it on the NPR interview I found, either. From one report I found online, it sounds like it was the more traditional route of paying someone to print the book and then schlepping it to bookstores rather than using a web-based POD and e-book publishing vendor like Lulu.

The item about Jade is on the order of tips on self-promotion from her to other authors, but the scoop on the bestselling The Lace Reader is all about publicizing a gripe session. The author and her husband hired a publicist during the self-publishing phase, and then dispensed with their services after they got a huge advance from Morrow. The publicists are miffed that they not only got dumped, they didn't get publicly thanked for their help and awarded partial credit for the book's success. Comments vary from mild reproof at the author for not playing nice to stunned amazement that a company that handles publicity would make such a fuss and risk alienating future customers.

Sour grapes aside, what interests me is the self-publishing part. This route seems to be achieving a new respectability. I wonder if, over time, self-publishing will replace the traditional route to finding an agent?

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
Lace Reader anomaly
I think the message of the Galleycat article was that there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that aren't mentioned in these overnight success stories. It would be a shame if people read about and tried to recreate the "magic" of the Lace Reader only to find themselves in self-publishing debt. It's irresponsible to write about the emergence of "self-published to multi-million dollar" book deals without giving all of the facts. The real question is why are self-published authors making it seem like their kind of success is so easily attainable?
Aug. 16th, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)
Re: Lace Reader anomaly
Well, in a way, that's the interesting part. It seems like she spent a lot of money printing and publicizing her book. And yet most folks who self-publish these days use services that are either cheap or even free, like BookSurge or Lulu, but then they have to sell the books through the proscribed outlet. I wonder if she didn't know about those services or if she wanted control of the process.

And I don't think a multi-million dollar book deal is ever easy. I have not actually ready The Lace Reader but the reviews on Amazon are decidedly mixed as to how well it was written. On the other hand, they all seem to think it's a different kind of a book.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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