Aspiring authors whose concepts of reality include anthropomorphic animals
solving homicides, and intergalactic lizards mating with British Royalty, cling
tenaciously to their fantasies.   Despite my explaining, in detail, the absurdity
of self-publishing a fiction novel in order to make more money, the unpublished
first-time writer said "but I would get to keep all the money from the millions
of people who would read the book!"   

The best reality check/cure I’ve found for these people is to
send them to a large major book store — the biggest Barnes and Noble in town,
for example — so they can see the thousnds of books, all written by
professional authors.  With all these books available, who exactly are the
millions who want to read yours? And why? How are they going to hear about it,
where will they buy it?

Even a book from an authentic publisher; a book garnering rave
reviews, may not sell well due to the limited market for that particular genre,
distribution problems, marketing issues, or simply competition in the
marketplace for readers’ book buying dollars.

I have 12 books published, in various languages, and one even
made the New York Times Best Sellers List — but none of them has made me rich,
and none of them have sold in the millions. Hundreds of thousands, over time,
yes. Millions, No.

Had I paid some company to publish them, I would not be a
professional author. I would be somene who writes as a hobby, and pays to put my
hobby on display, in stacks, in my garage or basement and in the trunk of my

5 Responses to “DON’T WRITE THAT CHECK!”

  1. Peter L. Winkler

    Dear Burl:
    “a fiction novel”
    A slip of the pen, so to speak?
    What other kind of novel is there, besides one that contains a fictitous story?
    Peter Winkler

  2. Evil Dr. WebbwerX

    I self publish stuff all the time and make money… However usually I associate it with a major event where 1000 – 2000 of my fans dressed as my characters feed my ego…
    Maybe it’s because I don’t write about anthropomorphic animals solving homicides, or intergalactic lizards mating with British Royalty… Though that was awe inspiring statement… I am thinking my next rave is ANIMAL RAVE MORPHING HOMICIDE ROBOT CAT GIRLS!
    Wait maybe I should Mr. Barer, I mean, lately anthropomorphic animals solving homicides, and intergalactic lizards mating with British Royalty has been selling, just watch the new Dr. Who, Torchwood or Sarah Jane adventures. – “ANIMAL RAVE MORPHING HOMICIDE ROBOT CAT GIRLS ADVENTURES with guest star: DR.WHO, only on BBC 4.”
    Anyways, I miss you! Got invited to host a massive rave in LA this summer and a guest at Raver Day in Disney Land… So maybe we could hang out!

  3. burl barer

    Well Evil — You prove my point — it is a target audience of your fans at a live event. Self-publishing works in that manner. Lawrence Block self-published How to Write A Novel and sells it at his seminars. He does NOT self-publish his best selling novels.
    Yes, come visit. I miss you too. Been a long time.


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