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I have a book that is nearing completion. Because the current circumstances might increase interest in the book and also the Christmas sale is coming, I would like if it would be a good idea to self-publish it now (e.g. on Amazon Kindle) and later send a changed version of the book to a traditional publishing house?

The idea is that I would like to add more material to the book - but in order to do that, that takes time I currently don't have. I don't plan on a radical rewrite, but rather to make the book more substantial.
I know that there are questions like these that deal with the case where one tries to get essentially the same book published the traditional way and that seems to work if the self-published work is a commercial success.

I guess what I'm asking here is: If the self-published work is not a commercial success, when does a changed book count as a "new submission"?

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  • Realistically, if a self-published book is not a commercial success, you have to ask why a traditional publisher would take it on even if you make changes. – S. Mitchell Nov 26 '20 at 19:43
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The changed book would merely be a new edition of the original. It would not be a new book. And they want a new book, unless your book hits the big time and draws attention of publishers.

You would certainly have to tell them because there would be serious legal complications if you tried to sell it as an original and they discovered it was published in an altered form.

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  • I agree - I need to tell them. But when? Timing is crucial - if I tell them at the beginning, I'll knock myself surely out. So somewhere later down the line would be best. But when? – retska Nov 26 '20 at 16:44
  • Up front. They can't trust you if you mislead them by withholding it. I would advise not self-publishing if you want to go trad. – Mary Nov 26 '20 at 22:01
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I have no idea. BUT here is what I would think you could get away with.

I would go ahead and make sure you can add a few more pages of story to what you have now. Probably you should be able to increase the length by 3-10%(shorter books should be lengthened more). Instead of just tacking three extra chapters on the end and a long epilogue, you can go back and add a few extra scenes here and there. Then self-publish your shorter version and see how that goes. On your self-published book, add a bit in the credits or authors note or whatever about 'I'm taking a version of this book to a publisher with extra (insert extra stuff here) and is in general a better story. If you want to see this then like and fav and all that jazz'.

Once you've finished your longer version, send THAT to the publisher saying 'yeah this is this book here(linked to your book) but it's got some extra stuff so maybe you want to publish it'. If you got a bunch of 'likes and favs and all that jazz' then the publisher will also know that the people want this bigger version and will probably be more willing to publish it.

Technically, it probably wouldn't count as a new submission but if you change names and maybe the setting you can probably get away with it as a new submission.


I have absolutely no experience with publishers and stuff so this is probably not the best answer you will get but maybe it will help you some.

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  • hm... interesting approach. Basically you say I should emulate the business model of various influencers these days that have a public channel (eg youtube) where only a part of the goods are given away and a subscription-based channel where all the stuff can be had... I wonder if other writers have done something like that yet ... – retska Nov 25 '20 at 19:39

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