Why Aren’t Traditional Publishers Interested in My Book?

I have written to several (well, a lot, to be honest) publishers and agents about my self-published books, and the response is always the same; interesting, but not for me …

I was under the impression that self-publishing would prove beneficial in approaching a traditional publisher if the story was intact.

Having a self-published book does not mean your book is better than the manuscripts sitting in the traditional publishers’ slush piles. It just means your book is already on the market. And, if your self-published book isn’t selling, publishers aren’t going to be interested. Since most traditional publishers expect new authors to carry almost the full weight of book promotion now, the fact that a self-published title isn’t selling is all the traditional publisher needs to know to generate a rejection letter. If the author hasn’t been successful promoting their own book yet, the publisher will assume the author may never sell impressive numbers of books. And, don’t try lying about your sales numbers. It’s very easy for publishers to investigate the success of a book.

Many traditional publishers are very happy to look at self-published books that have a proven sales record. That eliminates part of the risk for them. If a self-published book is selling very well, that book is much more likely to land a traditional contract than one by an unknown (completely unpublished) author with no sales and no way to prove their marketing savvy.

The best selling self-published books are by authors who treat marketing their book(s) as a part- to full-time business. Putting a book on a website like Amazon and hoping it will sell is one of the biggest mistakes new authors make. An author must have a marketing plan in place, and must do their marketing activities daily in order to sell books.

Again, traditional publishers now expect unknown authors to do most, if not all, of the marketing themselves, including footing the bill for any expenses involved with that marketing. This is one reason so many authors choose to self-publish now. If they must do all the promotion anyway, why not keep the rights to their book, and earn much more per copy sold, by publishing it themselves?

There’s a link to my 11-part series on free online book marketing here:



A practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.