Self-Publishing & Online Publishing Will Not Ruin Your Chances at a Traditional Deal - Writer's Digest

Self-Publishing & Online Publishing Will Not Ruin Your Chances at a Traditional Deal

Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

I'm myth-busting today!

If you self-publish your work—online or in print—you are NOT killing your chances of a traditional deal later.

I don't care if you uploaded it to Kindle DTP, Scribd, Smashwords, plus your own site. I don't care if you made it a mobile app. I don't care if you podcasted the whole thing. I don't care if you made it free, or if you charged, or what you charged.

What I do care about is how well you did it, and what happened as a result.

  • Did you gain followers/fans/readers?
  • Did you get the attention of a major blogger or opinion maker?
  • Did you blow the doors off a regional bookstore?
  • Did you make a splash in a community?
  • Did you experiment, take a risk, see your efforts pay off?
  • Did you fail, improve, see your efforts pay off?

That is: Did you do it with meaning and intention? Or did you haphazardly throw things online?

It's true (for now) that publishers don't want to buy books where they can't have the e-book rights. That's why, after you get a traditional deal, you remove your work from online sites (assuming your agent agrees it's OK to sell those rights to the print edition publisher).

But no agent, and no publisher, is going to turn away a project where they see potential to make money. Why else would David Carnoy get a deal after launching a free app and selling 30,000 e-books? Why would Hyla Molander get calls from editors about her Scribd success?

If you want to know how to self-publish or online publish with dignity, and with decent results, I encourage you to sign up for my class this week on the topic.

That aside, here are recent traditional publishing deals that were announced by PublishersMarketplace with self-published authors. (If you don't subscribe to this service, it can be helpful for research, but it costs $20/month.)

Ellen Dolgen and Jack Dolgen's Shmirshky
• Bought by Hyperion Voice
• Agented by Brick House

Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur's Business Model Generation
• Bought by Wiley
• Agented by Jeffrey Krames


Cathie Beck's Cheap Cabernet

• Bought by Hyperion Voice
• Agented by William Morris Endeavor


Karen McQuestion's originally self-published Kindle novel A Scattered Life

• Bought by Amazon Encore


Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman's In the Lion's Den

• Sold to Ballantine
• Agented by Writers House


April Hamilton's The Indie Author Guide

• Sold to Writer's Digest
• Agented by Rita Rosenkranz


Michael Sullivan's Necessary Heartbreak

• Sold to Pocket
• Agented by Irene Webb

Do you know of other stories of authors who self-published or e-published, then went onto a traditional deal (in 2010)? Share it in the comments, or contact me.

Photo
credit: Library Mistress

Hall_10:27

Seven Tips for Intuitive Writing: The Heart-Hand Connection

Award-winning author Jill G. Hall shares her top tips for how to dive into your latest project head-first.

bearing_vs_baring_vs_barring_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Bearing vs. Baring vs. Barring (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use bearing vs. baring vs. barring on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

15_things_a_writer_should_never_do_zachary_petit

15 Things a Writer Should Never Do

Former Writer's Digest managing editor Zachary Petit shares his list of 15 things a writer should never do, based on interviews with successful authors as well as his own occasional literary forays and flails.

Green_10:26

Evie Green: Imaginary Friends and Allowing Change

Author Evie Green explains why she was surprised to end writing a horror novel and how she learned to trust the editorial process.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The 3 Prime Rules of Horror Writing, Contest Deadlines, and More!

Welcome to the first installment of a new series! There's always so much happening in the Writer's Digest universe that even staff members have trouble keeping up. So we're going to start collecting what's on the horizon to make it easier for everyone to know what's happening and when.

Bell_10:25

Lenora Bell: When Fairy Tales Meet Reality TV

Bestselling historical romance author Lenora Bell discusses researching, avoiding info-dumps while still charming readers, and how her latest book was inspired by her life.

Major_10:24

Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.