It’s stories like this from BookStandard.com that give self-published authors the motivation to keep writing those checks:
Touchstone Fireside, a division of Simon & Schuster, has
paid a six-figure sum for the publishing rights to Pamela Aidan’s Jane
Austen–inspired trilogy “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman.” The first two books,
An Assembly Such as This and Duty and Desire, have sold some
40,000 copies through Aidan’s website—initially in digital form and then as
print-on-demand titles—according to Amanda Patten, a senior editor at
Touchstone, who acquired the book from Lloyd Jassin, of the law firm The Jassin
Office. (The third title in the trilogy, These Three Remain, is available
this month, according to the website Austenesque.)
“The idea is to hit an audience outside of this world of Jane Austen fans, who
discovered Pamela through a ring of Austen websites,” said Patten, who added
that the strength of the books’ print-on-demand sales made the deal especially
This is the one-in-a-million success story that drives the unrealistic hopes of most self-published POD authors. Those aspiring authors miss this important fact: Aiden didn’t attract a publisher until she’d sold 40,000 copies of her book, well over 100 times more copies than most self-published titles will ever sell. And even with those sales, she still opted to go with a traditional publishing house rather than continue her POD self-publishing efforts. Why? For the money, ofcourse, as well as the wider distribution, publicity, and brick-and-mortar sales a traditional publisher offers.
For all the talk about the "advantages" of self-publishing from vanity press novelists, the fact remains, not matter how much they say otherwise, that attracting a traditional publisher is still their ultimate goal.