Authors: Should You Sell Your Next Book to a Publisher?

Recently, I responded to a query from an author who wanted to transition from self-publishing to traditional publishing. She had successfully sold 60,000 books on her own. The first words out of my mouth were, “Why would you want to do that?”

And then …I’m afraid you are in for a rude awakening if you go the traditional route. Yes, you can get the attention of an agent and publisher with 60,000 book sales—especially since the traditional publishing averages LESS than 5,000. What’s motivating you—maybe ego? Do you think there will be less work on your side involved with creating sales? Maybe you think a publisher will promote like hell? Think again. Most publishing via NY is about printing your book—it is expected it will already have the first pass of editing; that anything that you might get in advances will go directly toward you using for re-marketing efforts, a la publicity, etc.

I just did the number crunching of a book I created in 1987. After 28 rejections, a small NY publisher picked it up—how much money went under the table to them was significant—my agent (a biggie in the biz) referred to them as a “crook publisher”—not until I woke up, took control, created new work in the same venue and published and promoted myself, did the numbers start showing. To date, with speaking, consulting, book sales from multiple generations—about $4 million has been generated.

Authors rethink

Why would you want to lose control? Why would you want to most likely create an inferior product to one you could do own your own—do you know that publishers are actually reducing the amount of glue used in binding?

Members of the community ask me if I would publish with a traditional publisher again (I’ve done 31 books—18 with traditional)—the answer is sure … if they threw so much money at me, I just wouldn’t care. So much money is A LOT of money in my book.

Is There a Book in You?—Show Me About Book Publishing Recently, I spoke at the DaVinci Institute in Colorado—the topic was. When I asked the question: How many of you pick up a book because it was published by a specific publisher or turn to a page that says who the publisher is versus picking us the book to either 1) entertain you or 2) provide a solution? 100% didn’t care who the publisher was—did the book solve a problem? Was it a good read? Did it look/feel that there was “quality” in the production?






Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd a book publishing expert and coach. She is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 31 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord Indie/Fab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences.

Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at . Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at

If you are looking for FREE author and book coaching … call in to Judith’s Author Monday Mornings at NOON Eastern each Monday. The number is 218-632-9854; Access Code 1239874444 … have your questions ready–there’s a full hour to ask and listen.

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