Why No Self-Published Books?

As most of you know, it’s Kaye Publicity’s policy not to take on self-published books. Though I have made one exception, and I’ll explain why later in the post, I don’t foresee making any changes to the policy in the near future. Here’s why:

  1. My primary job as a publicist is to obtain media coverage. Currently, most newspapers and magazines won’t review self-published events. Most local TV and radio stations won’t book guests that don’t have an event in the area, and if your books aren’t available in stores, it’s harder to organize an event. Without traditional media coverage, a large chunk of my job description is omitted.
  2. Publicity doesn’t necessarily sell self-pubbed books. I had lunch with a self-published author a couple days ago and we talked about the various publicity and promotions he had obtained for his books. He did promos through Amazon, giving away e-books and playing with pricing, and he also won an award which garnered media coverage in the local papers and a spot on a popular radio show. I asked him which moved the needle. He saw huge increases in sales with the online promos and barely any movement from the local media coverage. My prediction is that the people who are reading the books section of newspapers or listening to the Sunday morning radio show aren’t the demographic that purchase books on Amazon. They’re the readers who still shop independent bookstores, and in most cases, self-pubbed books aren’t available there.
  3. I don’t believe hiring a publicist for a self-published novel gives the return on investment. The most successful self-published authors don’t get that way on just one book. They produce content which continues to sell year after year. I don’t believe hiring a publicist for a single title, even a series of books, makes fiscal sense. Trust me, there are plenty of publicists who will be happy to take your money and do a great job. But when I started this company, I made a decision that I was going to be a career builder, not a one-off campaigner.  And though I can get online reviews and other promos for self-published books, the amount they pay me to do it isn’t going to be redeemed through sales. They’re much better off hiring an assistant or intern to research opportunities, stay on top of distribution, etc.

The one exception I’ve made is for Christa Faust, a critically acclaimed author with Hard Case Crime. She came to me with a self-pub project that made sense, a lesbian pulp fiction novel. Because of the niche market, I was confident that I could obtain media coverage that would move books. It’s also the type of books that lends itself to e-book buying. Most people don’t want to walk into a B&N and ask about a book titled DOUBLE D DOUBLE CROSS or be seen on the train reading a paperback with a busty dyke on the cover. The project made sense, and I made an exception.

But for mainstream self-pubbed books, I don’t see myself changing the rules anytime soon. It’s not because I have anything against authors self-publishing. It’s because, in the end, I believe it’s in the author’s best interest.

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