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Thomas Nelson Publishes First WestBow Press Book (Observations)

Three Cups Thomas Nelson announced on March 11,2011 that their childrens' division had selected its first WestBow Press title, Three Cups, to be published and distributed through Thomas Nelson. The company will release Three Cups with a redesigned cover on November 8, 2011.

"One of the reasons we created WestBow Press was that we wanted another way to find the new voices," said Michael Hyatt, chairman and chief executive officer of Thomas Nelson. "WestBow Press provides us with a kind of farm team. We watch the sales of these titles carefully and are committed to offering traditional publishing contracts to those authors whose self-published books begin to gain traction." (my underline)

WestBow Press reports that they have released 400 titles since their launch just over a year and a half ago (October, 2009).

Several observations:

1) For Thomas Nelson to find one book out of their 400 is actually impressive.

Self-publishing professionals viewed with some pessimism Thomas Nelson's WestBow launch claim that they would review self-published books for a shot at a traditional publishing contract with Nelson. Those of us who care very much about self-published authors were concerned this might be just so much "dangling of the golden carrot" before them. 

It was important for Nelson to find one book right about now, in order to add legitimacy to their "farm team" claim. I hope that more than just legitimizing their claim, they will follow through and put considerable resource behind this book. We will follow up on this. 

2) Traction = Sales. This book was selling well already. 

Note the portion of the Michael Hyatt quote I underlined above: "begin to gain traction." Traction means only one thing–proven sales history. This is very telling. Everyone wants to jump on board with something that is already succeeding. 

Don't miss this: Whether you publish with WestBow or not, solid proven sales history gets the attention of traditional publishers. (See point "2." in my post after clicking this link: Any Christian Book That Sells is Interesting to Bookstores, Distributors, and Traditional Publishers.) 

3) All that glitters is not gold.

Is a traditional publishing contract a true golden carrot? Almost never–at least not anymore. The rare unknown author who is signed by a traditional publisher typically finds it to be a disappointing experience. Find out why at these links:

Self-Publishing Offers Greater Earning Potential 

Traditional Publishing Does Not Guarantee Your Book Will Be Published

WestBow Press is a division of Thomas Nelson, but its services are fulfilled by Author Solutions, the secular self-publishing conglomerate (investment group owned) which also owns CrossBooks (LifeWay's Christian self-publishing division), and two of the earliest POD self-publishing pioneer companies, iuniverse, and xlibris.  Side fact: At about the same time Thomas Nelson signed with Author Solutions, Harlequin signed with Author Solutions to launch their "farm team," Harlequin Horizons (quickly renamed DellArte Press, after outcry from Romance Writers of America).

[Hyatt quotes found above and other items in top three paragraphs, quoted from press release "Thomas Nelson to Publish First WestBow Press" ] 

Oh, also, this book is very good!

Blessings, Jim Kochenburger

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