Self-Publishing Part 8: While Still Preparing the Book, How a Seedling Platform Aims for an Agent, P​roper

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

As iUniverse is the only self-publishing company that currently offers this alternative entrance to the Traditional Publishing Path, all the requirements for such are their own.

For a book to make it here, it must first, like A Perfect Blindness, earn the Editor’s Choice designation, meaning it’s written up to traditional publishing industry standards and is of the quality that a traditional publishing house would publish under their imprint. I.e., had the writer gone the traditional double gatekeeper path, it might have gotten picked up should the right two gatekeepers both given it the thumbs up, and it has already made it through the entire editing process that both the agent and editor would had to have been convinced would help the manuscript get into proper shape.

Now, while the Rising Star designation is not technically a requirement, no title has reached Star level without it: the Rising Star designation indicates that its writer has demonstrated the book has an identifiable market and that the writer knows how to reach it. Plus, the additional help that iUniverse gives a title for landing that designation certainly gives any manuscript a boost.

With or without the Rising Star’s certification of a clear market and path to it, once iUniverse certifies a manuscript is up to Traditional Publishing House quality (the Editor’s Choice designation), a title has two ways to reach Star Status: it must either sell 500 physical copies, with at least 250 of those sales coming from traditional retail markets such as Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or any brick & mortar bookstore, or it must sell 5,000 e-book copies (for any title published after 2014). This shows that the book has developed a following through retail channels—in other words, the book has a market, has reached that market and that market wants it.

The 500-book minimum is hardly arbitrary: an old saw about self-published books is that most sell fewer than 500 copies. Selling 500 copies proves it’s not most self-published books.

            Once one or the other of the sales figures are met, iUniverse will notify the author of qualification for STAR status, and then asks the author to complete the STAR Program Marketing Questionnaire. This application evaluates the author’s answers to the following questions:

  • Does the book have fresh, innovative content and style?
  • Is the book in a genre with high sales potential?
  • Does the author understand the book’s target audience and know how to reach it?
  • Have early sales levels proven that the author’s marketing techniques are indeed effective in reaching that audience?
  • Is the author willing and able to continue to generate customer demand for the title with support from iUniverse?

Bottom line: does the author understand what it takes, is he or she willing to keep doing that, and can the author make use of additional help or opportunities?

If the author has made it this far, he or she has a fully edited, professionally designed book of high quality, which has already sold hundreds, perhaps thousands of copies, and now, an agent to help the book take advantage of many new opportunities, some of which were unavailable before representation.

A Perfect Blindness has made it the Editor’s Choice and the Rising Star designation levels and has been reviewed on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and by the Redheaded Booklover on her blog by the same name here: “A Perfect Blindness has become one of my favourite reads of 2017 so far. There is something special about this novel…something unique with an eerie darkness and fascination that surrounds it.”

While I’m only two-thirds of the way here, I do have a book. And I can now say that the process of getting a manuscript to book form, no matter how much potential it has, is a long, arduous journey. It is not for the impatient, nor the frail of ego. Nor yet for anyone who merely tries hard. It takes time, talent, commitment, energy, and if doing it yourself, no little bit of money. Many highly skilled people are involved in getting a quality book to market.

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To ask a question or follow along with the self-publishing adventure, join the “Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness” here.

 

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