When New Hampshire author Kenneth Tingle self-published The Girl in the Italian Bakery, a gritty memoir about growing up poor in the inner-city, he didn't know what to expect. Tingle had to approach bookstores himself to even get the book stocked. It exploded in the local area, selling over 5000 copies in ten square miles. The reviews were five-star at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, readers urged their friends to read it, and local schools had their students using it. Tingle has been on radio shows, local television, even in the Boston Globe. Sounds like a Hollywood success story. This is not the case.
Over 100,000 people self-publish a book each year, hoping to hit the big time. Most will sell copies to friends, family and co-workers; maybe a few more. Tingle has some advice for them: "People need to know what they're getting into. When you self-publish the marketing falls completely on you. Many of these companies claim to have great marketing or distribution. Listing a book on Amazon will do nothing; there are close to 5,000,000 books listed there. If people don't know your book is there, they won't buy it, period. The truth is they will try to sell you copies of your own book, that's it. This is how they make their money (along with their original fee for editing and cover design). My book has sold over 5000 copies and it is still an uphill battle. I'm still trying to get decent distribution."
Currently, Tingle is trying to sell the rights to a larger publisher who can put it in bookstores nationwide. The book may in fact break out on its own -- it is described as a "sleeper" by some readers, and currently has a five-star rating at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. So if you're thinking of self-publishing, you may want to heed Tingle's advice. But definitely check out The Girl in the Italian Bakery.
Visit the author's website at http://www.thegirlintheitalianbakery.com/