Opportunities with print-on-demand open up possibilities for writers to go ahead and publish their own books even when their ultimate goal is securing a deal with a traditional publisher.
The most important point to realize is that it is not enough simply to print and publish your book and expect an agent or publisher to be impressed sufficiently by those actions alone.
It is true that a self-published book which has been well-produced (including professional editing, design and proof-reading) shows a serious commitment on the part of the author.
And publishing professionals are certainly looking for authors who are prepared to make a serious commitment to their work.
Add this to an original idea and a well-crafted text, and you have established the preliminary pieces of the publishing jigsaw.
Yet this is just the beginning because agents and publishers will be looking for the book to have already achieved some degree of success in the marketplace.
This is what really establishes credibility and encourages professionals to give your book serious consideration for commercial publication.
So your book needs to have sold well in its self-published format (upwards of a thousand copies) and received favourable reviews and/or media coverage to demonstrate genuine market potential.
Another significant factor is the size of your platform and the momentum you are building as a self-published author.
These constitute the ingredients for a successful approach to an agent or publisher with a self-published book.
Here’s a summary of what you need to include:
- A compelling key sentence describing the essence of the message your book conveys or the highlights of your story if it is a novel …
- When you published it …
- How many copies it has sold and where …
- What media or review coverage you have achieved …
- What promotional or marketing activities you have done and what your plans are to continue supporting the book in the future …
- Information about you as the author and where you are heading next…
Feel free to send one or two copies of relevant published articles or media coverage to support the summary of information you have given.
And finally, I recommend that you remain open to possibilities.
You may find that the agent or publisher likes what you’ve done so far but would actually prefer to speak to you about a whole new book altogether.
In this situation, your self-published book will have given you valuable experience from which you can draw for your next project and also served the purpose of opening the door so that the conversation can begin.
Good luck and remember to enjoy the journey!