Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How an author who'd been rejected for 19 years sold 300,000 books in 15 months

James Altucher writes about Theresa Ragan, a self-published writer who's sold 300,000 copies of her books (five romance novels and two thrillers) in print and as eBooks, in 15 months. She recently signed a publishing deal with Amazon's Thomas & Mercer. Ragan said that for 19 years, she was rejected by every publisher she approached. During that time, she worked with two agents, but they were unable to get her a contract.

Altucher writes that Ragan stopped waiting for a publisher to choose her, and instead chose herself:
"Because of technology, and the total breaking down of societal, financial, and psychological barriers brought on by the financial catastrophe, its become more acceptable, even welcome, to  CHOOSE YOURSELF. You no longer have to wait for the big media companies to call you. You no longer have to wait for the big companies to reach down from the sky and offer you a job. You no longer have to wait for some website to link to you so you can get thousands of followers. You can work hard, be persistent, and eat what you kill. You can choose yourself to be the dream you always wanted to be. You build your platform and then select yourself to be the star of it."
When Ragan began self-publishing, she emailed a book reviewer every day for the first three months and asked if they were interested in reviewing her book. If they were, she'd send them a review copy in whatever format they preferred. Once they published a review, she tweeted about it or posted it on Facebook. As the number of reviews increased, so did her sales and interview requests.

Altucher makes the point that self-publishers have to continually market themselves. Even if you've got a publisher, they're not going to help you with marketing if you're a midlist author. Writing a book is only the first part of a much longer process to sell it and build the foundation for future books.

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