Can a Self-Published Book Be Picked Up By a Publisher?

Maybe you’ve found some success with your self-published book and you’d like to find a literary agent to test the waters with a traditional publishing house. And why not? The sky’s the limit. It is possible to bring a self-published book into the traditional publishing industry as long as one important detail is taken care of: you’ve retained the rights to your book.

If you work with a hybrid publisher, like Luminare Press, read your contract carefully to make sure that you retain all the rights to your work. (Luminare Press, authors retain all rights.) That makes it possible to take your self-published book to an agent or a publishing house if you choose to try to do so at a later time.

In addition to retaining the rights to your work, here are a few other pointers for making the switch from self-publishing to traditional publishing:

Focus on the positive

Remain positive about your experience with self-publishing. Present the choice to self-publish as one that was deliberate and very carefully thought out. Also, be ready to share the success you have had with self-publishing: from sales numbers to positive reviews in the press. And never, ever hide the fact your book began life as a self-published project. Self-publishing is nothing to be ashamed of.

Be prepared to pull your self-published book from the market

An agent or publishing house will not want self-published editions of your book up for sale on platforms like Amazon or in bookstores, so before attempting to find an agent or a publishing house, you’ll have to take your book off the market. That’s as simple as unpublishing it from most print-on-demand sites like Kindle Direct Publishing.

Don’t query with your bound and finished book

Even though you have complete and bound versions of your book, always follow a publisher or agent’s submission guidelines, even if that means submitting your book the old-fashioned way: on manuscript paper.

Last, if you successfully make the switch from self-publishing to traditional publishing, you will have to give up the rights to your book, and you will likely lose control over artwork and other design elements.

But making the switch from self-publishing to traditional publishing is possible – especially when you retain the rights to your work. There are no guarantees, but if you put in the hard work to promote and sell your self-published book, the world of traditional publishing may the next best step, so don’t be afraid to try.