When a royalty publisher considers taking a risk on an author, an already established fan base and track record of book sales is a big plus.
I remember when, in music circles, self-produced CDs were known as “coasters”, anticipating the eventual fate of those stacks of CDs most of us had of our own work. But now, the tables have turned, and producing your own CD is an important step in getting a record deal. Record companies woke up to the idea that they needn’t risk millions of dollars on new artists when they could select from self-produced artists with an established fan base and already impressive record sales. Why gamble when you can invest in a sure thing? I saw this first hand when I travelled with a friend to Nashville for a meeting with a major record label. The label was very interested in her work and encouraged her to keep writing, and to contact them again when she had reached 50,000 sales on her own.
This wouldn’t have been possible in the past, but in both music and writing, this is now possible, and for many artists, it is the way to go. Among successful “self-published” authors are Mark-Twain, Mary Baker Eddy, and Deepak Chopra.