Saturday, May 13, 2006


Shuffling to the Review Pile

Not a usual source of literary news, the Kiplinger newsletter -- you know, the thing your Uncle Morton down in Miami Beach subscribes to? -- carries an intriguing headline: I Published My Own Book and the Critics Noticed.

Writes Champ Clark of his book Shuffling To Ignominy:

I bought the Select Package for $460 and e-mailed iUniverse my manuscript and the photos I wanted to use. Within a few weeks it was for sale on Amazon and other Internet sites. If anyone goes to and types in "Stepin Fetchit," my book pops up along with the other one, and iUniverse prints and ships each order on demand. You wouldn't know my book was self-published.

I own the rights to my book, and I receive a 20% royalty on the $14.95 charged for each copy sold. (The other book costs $26.95.) I spent $400 on copies of the book that I sent to reviewers. The book was favorably reviewed along with the other Stepin Fetchit book in the New Yorker and the New York Times. My goal, besides having the book reviewed and read, is to make back my investment. So far, I've sold about 170 books.

Interesting to hear that you can get reviewed in the New Yorker and the New York Times, and still not have enough royalties to cover an $860 investment.

Even so, as a headline, I Published My Own Book and The Critics Noticed should probably rank up there with I Built My Own Saturn V Rocket and Landed On The Moon.

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