I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them



The attraction of self publishing is that there’s no gatekeeper. The weakness of self publishing is that there’s no gatekeeper. It’s not less curated – it’s not curated AT ALL.

In traditional publishing, somewhere between 1-3% of books that are actively queried are picked up by agents. Of those, somewhere around half are eventually sold. In self publishing, there are books of the quality of that .5-1%. And there there are all the rest – and they are put out there too.

Of all the books that are self published, a handful are self published “well,” meaning they have professional-quality writing, professional editing, a professional cover, AND are marketed correctly.

Guess what happens. By and large, those that are not self published well sink to the bottom. They sell a handful of copies, mostly to family and friends. Those that are self published well do very, very well! There are more self published writers living on their income than there are traditionally published writers.

Will self publishing remain viable? Yep. But it won’t get easier – and it shouldn’t! Quality rises to the top. This is a BUSINESS, not a get-rich-quick scheme.


Seriously, there are as many marketing plans and strategies as their are writers and books. There are FB groups devoted to the subject. There are books devoted to the subject. There are (or used to be) Kindle board discussions dedicated to the subject. There are people on Twitter who specialize in the subject and are forever tweeting suggestions.

And it’s all irrelevant until you have at least one, and preferably THREE, books out. There’s no use in planning now, because what works today won’t likely work in six months. Focus on your content.


The Wild West market is very appealing, I’ll admit. Maybe we’ll saddle that horse up again, but it’s inquiry letters fo’ days until then!

Adding to the Facebook group resource, I agree. It certainly did help me a great deal. Just don’t be obnoxious while posting, and be sure to be courteous and read other people’s work, too.

I appreciate the input.


Niche markets like that can really excel with self publishing. Get a good product out there, and then figure out how to get the book in front of that market. It will sell like hot cakes.


as a full time writer how many words/chapters/pages do you write every day?


I know I’m late for the party. I was away preparing my original work for publishing.

To answer your question, Timmarica.

In this digital age, we have all the tools and all the resources to be successful if we have a good story to tell. The problem is the majority is too lazy to do the research. They expect someone to come up to them, give them a hefty advance along with the pat on the back and publishing deal. Publishing is a ruthless industry. Whether you do it on your own or whether you do it traditionally.

In the past 6 months (while I was off Wattpad), I met a number of self-published authors whose books are New York Times bestsellers. I ask Google whenever I have a question. I do my own research. I network. I read, look for places, watch how others are doing it. I have 5 books written and I am not in a position to wait until someone notices me. I am very ill and I want to do this on my terms instead of being discovered and boxed into some trad category (if it even happens). I hired an editor, a proofreader, a designer. I learned how to created promo materials. I have a PR rep. I worked my ass off the whole last year (while I still could) to pay for all that but I like how it’s turning out. I’m just a few weeks away from my release and I’m right now working with bloggers to get some exposure BEFORE the release. I do giveaways. I have signed paperbacks. I have promo materials I shot myself (I am a photographer). I never had anyone telling me how to do any of these things. I just went online and started researching.

I’ll come back here in 2 months and let you know how the sales are, but the key for me with the first book is not the sales. It’s getting the name out there. Those who think they are going to snatch bank with the first book are mistaken. Be ready to give your first baby away for free to thousands of people to build a fan base. Once you have the fan base, you have your Facebook group, your Goodreads, your BookBub, then you can expect to start seeing some money, but be ready not to make any for the first year or two or three or five. If you really want to do, keep going. One day, it will all fall together. I’ve met tons of people who struggled for years before they started making six figured.

Good luck everyone. Don’t wait. Do research. Follow your dreams. The tools are all there. We just need to learn how to use them.


When you do, I suggest you start a new thread about your journey rather than have it in @MichaelJSullivan’s.


Great post – and yes, do start your own thread so we can all follow your journey!!


Question, what’s better when it comes to book/property rights? trad or indi?


Rights? Indie, because you control them. Trad publishers are rights grabbing everything these days – and screwing the writers for a pittance.


Keep in mind what “rights” are. When you traditionally publish, the publisher buys your novel. What are they actually buying is rights. The right to publish it.

They could buy the digital and paper rights which means only they can publish in those formats. They paid you to do so. They may also want the audio rights. The contract spells out what rights they’re buying.

Now if they didn’t buy the audio rights, or foreign rights, you can then sell those to another publisher. That’s why publishers try to get all the rights.

The contract should have a reversion clause. That means, under certain conditions (spelled out in the contract), the rights the publisher buys reverts back to you and you can sell them to another publisher.

Magazines typically buy serial rights. They’re geographic. So a magazine might buy the North America rights.


Oh ok.


The rights you sell to a publisher are geographic too. You could, for example, sell North American English only. But traditional publishers are greedy bastards, and they’re demanding world rights.

If you don’t license all the rights, then you can slice them up and license them as you see fit.


a) is going to depend on what the advance is. It it is a standard advance $5,000 - $10,000 it’ll mean “not much.” You’ll be added to the seasonal catalog and you may have a few ARC’s sent out to reviewers but that’s about it. If you have a larger advance $100,000+ then you’ll get much more. This could include being sent on tour, Goodreads Ads, Amazon Ads, Facebook Ads, LOT’s of free copies given away at places like Book Expo or the ALA anual conference.

b) The author is ALWAYS the one ultimately responsible - because only you have JUST your book to worry about. When the publisher DOES do marketing it’s going to be short lived. (a few weeks before the release date). The thing to keep in mind is each week a new crop of books will be coming out that the marketing department has to turn their attention to.

c) I personally think the best approach is to use goodreads. This link should help: An author’s guide to goodreads But there are all kinds of things you can do including setting up a blog tour, blogging on your site, doing giveaways, setting up a pre-order campaign where you give away free content to those that buy the books before release day. The list goes on and on.


I concur with all of this.


Most books don’t get movies, so let’s take that off the table. Look at my other post regarding what the publisher and author can do for promotion…


I do. And my wife uses text-to-speech when doing proofing.


This isn’t a realistic expectation and so it’s not worth even spending any time on. Only about 1% of queries lead to a request for representation. Only about 20% of the books represented get published. Only about .1% of the books that get published get enough attention to be options. Only about 1% of the books optioned get made into movies or a series.

So what it takes is an amazing book that is read and talked about by a very large segment of the population. The only part of that equation you can control is the book you write. So make it the best it can be, but don’t assume any movie or television deal.


This link should help.

Marketing Resources for Book Promotion

For blog tours generally you are writing posts on topics the blog owner thinks would be of interest to their readers or you are answering interview questions.


An author can’t run an AMS (Amazon) ad, as it’s something that has to be setup by the publisher. They can run Facebook ads, although I wouldn’t recommend it as most of the sale is going to the publisher and you are getting such a small amount that getting a good ROI would be difficult.

Nope. It’s not a market I follow.