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Self-Publishing to Traditional Publishing and Back Again

This seems pretty momentous – another notch in Konrath’s death spiral.  Plenty of writers are going from self-publishing to traditional publishing, but not many taking the plunge backward again.  She grew her platform via Harper Collins and now she has the standing to ditch them and still make a living.

Novelist ditches publisher at book launch for ‘condescending’ treatment

Courtney self-published Golden Handcuffs, a fictional exposé of life in the City, in 2006 after quitting her job as an investment banker, following it up in 2008 with Poles Apart, about an ambitious Polish graduate who moves to London. Their success helped land her a three-book deal with HarperCollins imprint Avon, but at the launch of the third book, It’s A Man’s World, she announced that she would not be working with the publisher again.

Instead, she is planning to return to the world of self-publishing.

“My writing has been shoehorned into a place that’s not right for it,” she said this morning. “It is commercial fiction, it is not literary, but the real issue I have is that it has been completely defined as women’s fiction … Yes it is page turning, no it’s not War and Peace. But it shouldn’t be portrayed as chick lit.”…

Her decision to publicly ditch her publisher was the result of “three years of pent–up frustration”, she said.

The whole thing is like an advertisement for self-publishing. Of course, the fact that she was traditionally published in the first place is why she’s gotten all this attention, but not too long ago (like last year) the thought of going back to the slums of self-publishing was unheard of.

About Henry Baum

Avatar of Henry Baum
Author of three self-published novels and one traditionally published (Soft Skull Press, Canongate, and Hachette Littératures). Recipient of Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival, the Gold IPPY Award for Visionary Fiction, and the Hollywood Book Festival Grand Prize. He lives with his wife Cate Baum in Los Angeles. He's the founder of SPR.

4 comments

  1. Avatar of Michelle Mead

    Some very good arguments for self-publishing made here. It’s pretty amazing just how quickly the whole publishing landscape seems to be changing. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Avatar of Stephen Graff

    So many success stories out there, which makes it seem as though these stories were the rule instead of the exception. I’ve been a self-published author for 3 months and have tried most available avenues to try to sell a young adult ebook. So far, it’s been an uphill experience: one very positive review, but few sales. I’ve tried facebook ads, a website, banner ads, promoting on forums, and commenting on a variety of forums. My take on it is that this kind of business is accomplished step by step over time. It’s all about building a relationship with potential readers.

  3. Avatar of D.M. Jenkins

    Ok, quick question: Why does it have to be “the slums of self-publishing”? For a lot of writers self publishing is not always a last resort but rather a way of maintaining artistic control. Is it me or is this author chosing not to be pigeon holed and attempting to stand up for herself and her art?

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