novel submission

Did Poor Self-Pub Sales Sink My Career?


Dear Editor…

My agent didn’t have luck finding a home for my teen novels, so I decided to self-publish…but I now wonder if I should have waited longer. I wonder if I acted impulsively and made a mistake. I also broke with my agent (not because she couldn’t sell the work but for other reasons). To be honest, I feel as if I’m a boat drifting at sea as far as my writing career goes, which is sad to say at my age. A friend is encouraging me to try other agents/editors, but I’m not sure if I should contact them since the first book of my series and another stand-alone novel are already self-published and far from doing stellar. So…I don’t see the point in contacting them. Or do you think I still should?


Dear Confused…

These days, self-publishing first isn’t the interest-sinker it used to be with editors. If a self-published books does really well (say, selling 30,000-40,000+ copies) then it can impress editors and spark interest. Huzzah for that, of course. But if it hasn’t sold well (which is, honestly, more often the case with self-published fiction than not) but an editor likes the book and thinks she has a bead on its market, the editor will acquire your book and just have you remove the self-published edition from the market. So no, self-publishing with less than stellar results wasn’t shooting yourself in the foot. Your friend is right: Submit.

Happy writing!
The Editor