This follow-up article is a continuation of James Watkins article on Self-Publishing And Piranhas . He is graciously allowed me to share this information with you. Feel free to visit Jim’s web pages filled with wise thoughts about writing, publishing, and marketing at:

This discussion covered warnings for writers considering self-publishing on the many scams and poor choices that are beckoning to eager writers. The next point talks about the number of copies that must be ordered and finallly, the question regarding your niche market. I hope you find this article helpful.   


Jim pointed out questions to ask the publisher and to consider using their own wisdom. Always check the excellent link:h ttp:// which provides information about problems reported on publishers, agents and all kinds of issues dealing with the publishing world. The link is extremely helpful. Her are questions Jim poses in regards to "marketing."

Does the Publisher Have a Minimum Number of Books That must Be Ordered?
When the average book in America sells only 500 copies, asking an author to pay for one thousand should be a red flag. With Print On Demand (POD) technology, which is basically a million-dollar photocopy machine, books can be printed in increments of one. (, for instance, can produce a book for as little as $5.) And POD books look virtually identical to traditionally printed books.

An author can expect to sell books to about 10 percent of his or her audience. So, if you're speaking to 10,000 people per year, it's likely you'll sell one thousand books in a year. Don't overestimate the number of books you can sell in one year.

There are professional and ethical self-publishers, butthere are also piranhas and pariahs preying on authors. Please check out the Better Business Bureau and a helpful site called Preditors [sic] and Editors. (P&E also is a good clearing house for royalty publishers and agents.

I would suggest self-publishing only if you can answer these three questions. (And yes, I know how eager you are to get your book published. The scam artists know that all too well!)

Has a royalty publisher praise your book but said there isn’t a large enough market for them to publish it?

Do you have a way to reach that niche market?

Do you have the money to produce it professionally? Can you afford to go with a reputable self-publisher that will produce a professional-looking product or do you have access to design and typography expertise to do it yourself? (A poor cover and interior design will cripple your sales. It must be able to compete with mainstream publishers.)

Self-publishing is a wonderful way to reach a narrow market (and become a big fish in a small pond) or to prove to royalty publishers that there is indeed a market for your work in the larger pond (one of my self-published book was picked up by Tyndale House).

But do stay away from the piranhas!

Copyright © 2009 James N. Watkins from his WILL WRITE FOR FOOD resource site noted above.

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