Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Self-Publishing 911

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?


  1. ...it's been three minutes and it's not selling. I'm going to kill myself.

    If that's the expectation--yes. Might as well get it over with quickly...

  2. Hilarious and great read. Good job with that. I feel for that operator.

  3. *giggles*

    Great one. It's a periously self-published world out there!

  4. In a word: brilliant.

    Because it's all true.

  5. This is the closest "prestige" and "Amanda Hocking" has ever been near each other. And probably the last.

    As for those poor first novelists, perhaps they should send an email to J.A. Konrath? He likes to promote charity cases.

  6. LOL!!!
    This was great and funny! Thanks for making my day. :)

  7. This was so great! Made my day! : )

  8. Hahaha, awesome! Thanks for the laughs this morning. :)

  9. So funny, made my husband read it. Thanks for the laugh!

  10. LOVE IT! I just tweeted about it, because you have a real gem here! But all of those things are why I am so excited to self-publish. It is a challenge! No one is going to believe in me but me. Basically, by traditionally publishing, I've figured out you exchange royalties for flattery. :)

    Today I pulled a thread in my storyline, and my whole middle section turned to mush. No worries, tonight I will notecard all of my ideas (that's the real problem I had a better idea for a scene but then it made the next one need to change and so on and so on until my second disaster). Counting down to 8 PM when the kids go to bed and Mommy the Writer breaks out the red wine and chocolate. I'm such a cliche :)

  11. Um, what's an Amanda Hocking? Seriously, I have no clue.

    But the it's been three minutes and it's not selling. I'm going to kill myself. really made me laugh!

  12. As someone who has self-published before, THIS WAS HILARIOUS. Probably one of my all-time favorite posts of yours yet.

    I love the line "Self-Publishing 911, what's your emergency?"

    I want to say...where do I start?



  13. One of the funniest posts I've read in a long time!

  14. If every blog entry ever written read like this, I'd never get work done. EVER.

  15. Cool!

    Very creative...

  16. Very entertaing even for someone who has self-published and sold 11,000 copies in a single month.

  17. They laughed because it was all true and they cried because it was all true!

  18. Lovely. About to venture into self-publishing myself, and very excited about it, but I know there are gonna be days like that. Thanks for the laugh!

  19. Brilliant!! :) operator...