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Will self publishing first prevent me from later getting real publishers?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Swordfry, May 13, 2015.

  1. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

    Let me just state my current plan to clarify things:

    I am writing a novella, completely unrelated to any of my other future stories. I will self publish this as an ebook only to test the waters of the author world. To get honest critique on my work and skills and to help get my name out there. I will make some physical copies for myself, friends and family, but only more will be made if the demand is high.

    And then I want to my novels, my full trilogies, and bring them to a legitimate publisher.

    Do publishers frown upon authors self publshing first? Will this hinder my book getting published?
  2. Russ

    Russ Istar

    I don't think so.

    Is there a reason you think this might be the case?

    If you are really worried about it just do the self publish under a pen name.
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Self publishing is legitimate, and a self-published novel is "really" published.
  4. cupiscent

    cupiscent Sage

    The stats and stories I've heard are related to authors who want to publish the same work as self- and then trad-published. In that case, the publishing houses (and/or agents) want to see big numbers of sales of the self-published work to know that it has real market potential. The number I've seen quoted is 50,000.

    I cannot think of any reason why self-publishing a related work wouldn't be absolutely fine. I know there are authors who do this "in reverse", as it were - for instance, Brian McClellan self-publishes short related pieces in his trad-published Powder Mage trilogy universe. When you approached agents and publishers, you'd want to make it clear what you were and weren't offering - i.e. new works in the same universe as the thing you'd self-published - and I'd only mention it if you had good sales numbers.
  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    If what you're publishing is really good, it will help you build an audience. Building an audience should help you get traditionally published.

    If what you're publishing is really bad, it has some small potential to tarnish your reputation. I wouldn't worry about it too much, though. Seems to me like most self published stuff is really, really bad - basically the stuff that would have never made it out of the slush piles in the past.

    Write. Get feedback. Improve your craft. Repeat.
    skrite likes this.
  6. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    No. If you do a good job - and there is a hell of a lot of hard work involved and a steep learning curve for indies if they want to do well - then it will help you. At the least it shows your commitment to writing. It may also persuade agents etc if you submit another book and they see one quality book of yours already out there. And if the book does well commercially, the agents and publishers may well come to you - Hugh Howie etc.

    If on the other hand you do an amateurish job, it could hurt you.

    Cheers, Greg.
  7. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

    Thanks for all of the feedback. I do intend to make this self published work as professional as possible, maybe even hiring a cheap editor.
  8. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Not true. Many agents make offers to represent self published writers all the time.
  9. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Where did MineOwnKing's quote come from? (or where did his post go?)
  10. MineOwnKing

    MineOwnKing Maester

    Sorry, I made a snafu so I deleted it. Mythopoet is correct. :)
  11. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    I love the enthusiasm.

    Listen, I have no idea of your skill level. Perhaps you've been writing fiction for years and have a really good skillset and knowledge base.

    If I had to play the odds, though, my guess would be that your work probably isn't as good as you think it is. People who are about to self publish are infamous for being poor judges of the quality of their own work (myself included!). If I had published the fourth draft of my novel like I'd planned, I'd be seriously embarrassed right now. Frankly, it sucked.

    The best thing you can do is find a group of authors in a critique/feedback group. I think this board has a few. Scribophile is also good. Try the Showcase here.

    Seek feedback early and often, especially anyone who will tear your work to shreds. It's painful, but it will improve your writing faster than any other method I know.

    Hope this helps.

    Russ and Trick like this.

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