Can a self-published book be picked up by a publisher?

by Erica Surace

You might have successfully self-published your book and want to get a literary agent to help you try your hands on a traditional publishing house. And why not? The sky's the limit.

It is possible to publish a self-published book traditionally as long as, very importantly: you've retained the rights to your book.

Apart from retaining your book's rights, there are other things to note when making a transition from self-publishing to traditional publishing:


  • Be Positive about your choice to self-publish first.

Focus on your positive experience with self-publishing. Present the decision to self-publish as the one you made carefully and deliberately. Do not present your book as such that was self-published as a result of rejection by publishers. , be ready to talk about the success you have had with self-publishing: ranging from the number of sales to positive reviews in the press and social media. Do not hide the fact that your book began as a self-published project. 


  • Get ready to withdraw your self-published book from the market.

A publishing house or an agent will not want self-published copies of your book up for sale on platforms like bookstores or Amazon, so before you go about finding a publishing house or an agent, your book has to be off the market. with this, the publishing house becomes the sole distributor of your book



  • Avoid querying with your finished and bound book.

Even if you have a finished work of your book, avoid querying with it, ensure you follow an agent's or publisher submission guidelines, even if that means submitting your book the old-fashioned way: on manuscript paper.

Last, if you successfully switch from self-publishing to traditional publishing, you will have to give up your book's rights, and you will likely lose control over the design element or other artworks.

 The transition from self-publishing to traditional publishing is workable– especially when your book's right is retained.


Wrap up.

When a book has been self-published first, every literary agent will ask: When was it published? And how many copies of the book have you sold? Now, here's the catch. If your book has sold a small number of copies in the release period, then your book will be seen as a no-go area for investment by a publisher. But, if your book has sold very well, then they will ask, "Well, who does the author have left to sell it to?" It's a double-edged sword. The publisher or the agent has one aim at heart, making money, so they will not venture into a book with no good record of sales. If you ultimately want to find a traditional publisher, I encourage you not to self-publish your book first. If you are a first-time author, it's easier for a publisher to pick up a book in manuscript form than after being self-published. Why? Since you don't have a proven sales record, you stand a better chance of landing a traditional publisher than if you self-publish first and make low sales. So, think before you decide to self-publish.



--Image by Thought Catalog from Pixabay