Yes, You Can Sell Self-Published Fiction!

January 2003
by Sheri Cobb South

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Conventional wisdom has long claimed that it’s easier for small/independent publishers to market nonfiction books than novels. Where, then, does that leave the frustrated novelist who enters the publishing business in order to attract readers to the book of her heart?

That was the dilemma I faced in 1998. I had been writing for about 10 years, having begun with teenage romances for Bantam. But the young adult market was growing soft, and I felt the time was right for a change in genre. I had always loved the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer and now I was ready to do the necessary research.

Alas, the response was underwhelming. It appeared that the New York publishing world was not ready for The Weaver Takes a Wife and its protagonist Ethan Brundy, the wealthy but unpolished mill owner who weds¾
and ultimately wins¾
the proud but penniless daughter of a duke. Replies ranged from the kind but vague (“well-written, but not quite right for our line”) to the brutal (“No woman could possibly fall in love with a man like that unless he was devastatingly handsome,” wrote one editor).

I was convinced the editor was wrong. Granted, in a genre peopled with lords and ladies, Mr. Brundy was something of a misfit. But therein, I was convinced, lay his charm. Furthermore, my status as a reader, rather than an industry professional, gave me a perspective the New York publishers lacked. I was familiar with the complaints of Rege…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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