Tuesday, June 27th, 2006 by

A recent Xlibris press release outlines an important distinction when considering self-publishing, an issue for many first-time authors. According to the Xlibris release, author David Mills has signed a contract with Ulysses Press to publish the second edition of his book Atheist Universe, originally self-published. What a querying author should note here, however, is that Ulysses contracted Mills original self-published book only after Mills had success with three other books.

On occasion, we’ll receieve queries from authors who have self-published their first novel, sold a few hundred local copies, and tout the book’s success as a benefit to republishing it. What these authors don’t realize is that, once newspapers and local media run stories about a book’s initial publication, they’ll be hesitant to run stories again when the book is released by a traditional publisher–and customers who already own the book are less likely to buy the book again. In some cases, re-publishing a self-published book can be tougher–and less attractive–for a traditional publisher than publishing a queried manuscript.

In the case of Mills, self-publishing his book and then continuing to write ended up netting him a book contract. To self-publish a book, however, solely with the intention of re-querying the book to a publisher based on the self-published book’s success can sometimes hurt the author’s chances, not help them. Occasional success stories do abound, but it’s also worth noting the risks involved.

Have you had success or difficulty marketing a self-published book to a traditional publisher? Have a question for our editors? Leave a comment and let us know!