Operator: Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?
Author: My new novel isn't selling. I'm sure sales will pick up next month; that's why I quit my day job. But right now, well . . . the utility company just shut off my power and I can't cook my Ramen noodles.
Operator: How many copies of your novel have you sold, ma'am?
Author: At least two or three thousand by now. Amazon just hasn't posted them yet.
Operator: Ma'am, how many sales have been posted?
Author: Two. I know what you're thinking, but my mother only bought one of them.
Operator: Call your old boss, ma'am, and see if you can get your day job back. (switches lines) Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?
Writer: I want to self-publish but I'm afraid I'll fail and then that will be the last straw and I'll kill myself. Could you tell me what to do?
Operator: Don't kill yourself, sir.
Writer: I mean about self-publishing. Should I do it? Or should I keep enduring the rejections?
Operator: Sir, what's the title of your novel?
Writer: "All the Stories I Couldn't Sell to New York."
Operator: You need a new title, sir.
Writer: What? I can't change my title. It's the first book in a sixteen-part series.
Operator: What about titling it "All the Stories I Wouldn't Sell to New York."
Writer: Hmmmm. That's not half-bad. A little clunky, but I could work with it.
Operator: Glad I could help, sir. (switches lines) Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?
Reviewer: I don't want to review self-published books. They're all nothing but crap.
Operator: (sighs) Then you should review traditionally published novels only, ma'am.
Reviewer: I'm not getting any ARCs to review. The publishers aren't printing them anymore, can you believe that? What am I going to sell on eBay now?
Operator: (checking eBay Pulse page) Fake Coach handbags are trending. (switches lines) Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?
Writer: Okay, I'm ready to change my title. What do you think of "All the Stories New York Was Too Stupid to Buy"?
Operator: I think you need another title, sir. (switches lines) Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?
Editor: I've been an editor at a major publishing house for seventeen years, and without any warning at all they gave me a pink slip today. They said they don't have enough titles to justify my position anymore. No one else is hiring. What am I going to do?
Operator: Ma'am, you could self-publish a memoir about being an editor.
Editor: What? Become an author? I'd rather eat dirt.
Operator: Well, self-published authors are hiring freelance editors now, ma'am.
Editor: Does that pay anything decent?
Operator: Let me redirect your call to a Freelancer Specialist. Please hold. (transfers call, switches lines) Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?
Author: This awful book reviewer won't review my self-published novel. She says they're all crap and only wants printed ARCs from real publishers. So how am I going to get anyone to hear about my book?
Operator: (props head against hand) Have you created fake accounts and written any five-star reviews on Amazon.com for your novel, ma'am?
Author: I post a new one every day. How did you know?
Operator: It's my job, ma'am. Now, using the fake accounts you've created, go onto Amazon.com's discussion boards, pretend to be readers who loved your book, and gush about how good it is.
Author: Wow. That's a great idea. Thank you so much!
Operator: You're welcome, ma'am. (switches lines) Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?
Author: My agent has been shopping around my zombie novel for twelve months with no luck. I want the prestige of being in print, but I could publish it myself tonight in twelve minutes and start making money right away.
Operator: Which do you want more, sir? The prestige or the money?
Author: Why can't I have both?
Operator: Sir, you're not Amanda Hocking.
Author: That's not an answer.
Operator: I know. Good luck, sir. (switches lines) Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?
Writer: Okay, I changed my title to what you said and uploaded it to Amazon.com, but it's been three minutes and it's not selling. I'm going to kill myself.
Operator: Don't kill yourself, sir. (takes a deep breath) Have you tried offering a discount coupon on your blog?