From author Robert Bidinotto:
One of the most common raps against self-publishing — put forward militantly by the publishing industry — is that any truly good writer will not only be discovered eventually by a reputable publisher (a “gatekeeper of literary quality”), but also benefit from the kind of sophisticated marketing efforts that only the publishing industry can provide. By contrast, for a self-publishing author, even a good one, to break through without such industry support (their argument goes) is well nigh impossible.
So, now comes the story of a new debut mystery novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, by a previously unknown author named Robert Galbraith. It was released this April by Sphere, an imprint of the highly respected Little, Brown Book Group in Britain, and by Mulholland, an imprint of Big Five publisher Hachette, in America. The novel benefited from these major publishers’ promotions and from general bookstore distribution. It received a host of positive reviews in various trade publications. It attracted rave blurbs from well-known authors.
In short, The Cuckoo’s Calling got all the support from Big Publishing that any author could dream of.
Yet the book sold poorly — fewer than 1,500 copies combined in Britain and America since its April publication. Clearly, the book trade, with all its editors, cover artists, sales people, marketing savvy, and traditional distribution channels, managed to do very little for this well-reviewed novel by a brand-new author…
. . . .
Yes, the creator of the monster-mega-selling Harry Potter series — even while relying on her past publisher, editor, and sales staff — could not sell more than a few hundred books under another name. In fact, when first submitted to publishers under her pseudonym, her novel was turned down by the fiction editor at Orion Publishing, who said that while it was well-written, she didn’t think it would fare well in the traditional publishing marketplace.
And, of course, she was right: It didn’t – not until J.K. Rowling was revealed this week as its author. Now, overnight, the book has shot up to the #1 sales position on Amazon. Until her magical name was attached to it at last, though, the novel was well on its way to obscurity and the remainder tables.
So, here’s a question for you:
If Big Publishing can’t effectively market the work of J.K. Rowling when she disguises her identity, what does it have to offer most other first-time, “no-name” authors?
Link to the rest at Robert Bidinotto