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  1. #1
    Junior Member Rob Durham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    St. Louis

    Does self-published success mean I should try again with query letters?

    I've sold over 800 copies of Don't Wear Shorts on Stage via Createspace and KDP (as well as Smashwords) since December 2011. Out of that 800, some (maybe 300 or so) have been sold after my shows. Each month I sell about 15-20 to random comics and my book hasn't received any negative reviews. Is this enough to start trying to find a literary agent again? Do I list my numbers in that query letter or are they still too small?

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    The Texas Hill Country
    This is a tough call. What an agent will be looking for in a book that's already being sold to the public is, "Can I convince an editor that the book simply doesn't have enough reach yet?" By that I mean, for a publisher to take the monetary risk to put it in process, from editorial salary, to cover art, marketing and distribution, plus the author advance, will the book find enough audience to break even?

    If nearly half the sales are only after people have met/heard you speak, it might be that's required to make sales. That's almost a reverse platform, where they might have to make you a bigger name in your live routine before the book would take off. Because realistically, if your engagements were already drawing in large crowds, the 300 sales at events would have a couple of zeroes after it.

    A lot also depends on whether you queried this same book before you decided to self-pub. If you did and got rejections, I don't think 800 sales would make an agent change their mind. But if you've never queried, the sales could attract some interest in at least looking at a partial. Then it would be up to the text. If you decide to give it a go, you'll want to stress whatever platform you have that might boost sales. For example, if you have a manager who books your shows, venue size where your shows are held, or any upcoming events that could be held up to a publisher as an example of your growing status.

    Hope that helps. Good luck.

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