Can Self-Published Authors Land Traditional Contracts?

July 30, 2008

Can Self-Published Authors Land Traditional Contracts? Heck, Yeah! By Angela Hoy

I keep hearing the same question: “If I self-publish, can I still land a traditional publishing contract?” Yes, you absolutely can!

On Monday, I received a note from a fiction author who said an agent told him he can’t land a traditional contract if he self-publishes. We told him that was hogwash.

A few minutes later, I was notified that we lost yet another book to a traditional publisher. That keeps happening! Rickey Pittman received an offer for his self-published book, Stories of the Confederate South. This wasn’t anything new for Rickey. Read his past success story HERE.

While many in the industry, including agents, poo poo the idea of an author landing a traditional contract after self-publishing, they’re not looking at the facts. It’s actually easier to get a traditional contract if you’ve self-published and been successful than it is to blindly submit a manuscript with no sales under your belt. Many authors who have failed to get published traditionally have self-published, sold lots of books, and then landed traditional contracts because they could easily prove there was a market for their book (thus eliminating one of the risks for the traditional publisher).

Here are just a few former BookLocker.com authors who landed traditional contracts after self-publishing through BookLocker:

Peace Between the Sheets by Marnia Robinson (Frog, Ltd. / North Atlantic Books)

Extra-dimensional Universe by John R. Violette (Hampton Roads Publishing Company)

Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam by Paul Clayton (Thomas Dunne Books) Read Paul’s success story HERE.

The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook: Tips, Tricks, and Tactics for Surviving Boot Camp by Michael Volkin (Savas Beatie)

The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas, 1991-2006 by Henry Mark Holzer (McFarland & Company) Read Henry’s success story HERE.

The Art and Craft of College Teaching: A Guide for New Processors and Graduate Students by Robert Rotenberg (Left Coast Press)

The Snow Goose by Rita Hsu Syers (will be released for the 2007 Christmas season)

DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM: Holding to Faith When Life is Unfair – The Story of Joseph by Ronnie McBrayer (Smyth and Helwys Publishers) Ronnie just landed a traditional contract, only two months after self-publishing his book!

Tom Douglas, author of Some Sunny Day Read Tom’s success story HERE.

Kathy Sanborn, author of the ebook Grow Your Own Love Read Kathy’s success story HERE.

Next week, I’ll talk about authors who do not seek out traditional publishing contracts because they are making so much money selling books on their own. If you’re one of these authors and would like to be featured in my article, please send an email right away to: angela – at – writersweekly.com

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing emag for writers that features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is one of the top-rated POD publishers (rated “excellent”) in the industry.

This article may be reprinted/redistibuted freely, as long as the entire article and bio are included.



  1. Hello Angela

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    What caught my eye was the mention of Sgt. Volkin’s “The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook: Tips, Tricks, and Tactics for Surviving Boot Camp.”

    In fact, his previously self-published book has been through something like eight printings with us now, and we have just sold a very large (five figure) bulk order through specialty sales. Mike followed up his success with a Basic Training Workbook already in its second edition, a successful radio show (partly sponsored by the U. S. Army), and much more.

    The truth is that it is hard to be picked up by a reputable publisher under any circumstance, but if you self-publish, do a decent job at it, and then prove your worth by solid sales, someone will probably notice.

    We have picked up other self-published titles and are evaulating two more now. Would be happy to discuss it with you, or your audience–especially what a house like ours is seeking.

    Keep up the good work.

    Theodore P. Savas
    Savas Beatie LLC
    989 Governor Drive, Suite 102
    El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
    916.941.6896 (Voice)
    916-941.6895 (Fax)

    Join us online for some publishing blogspeak at
    http://www.savasbeatie.blogspot.com and http://savasbeatiemarketing.blogspot.com/

  2. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

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