Although many authors who decide on self-publishing (whether they choose true self-publishing, in which the author handles editing, design, printing, etc. him/herself, or one of the print-on-demand self-publishing services) don’t know it, it is extremely difficult to sell self-published books. Despite the periodic news stories about self-publishing successes, the average book from a self-publishing service sells fewer than 200 copies (see the Sales Statistics section of the Print on Demand page of the Writer Beware website). This is why success makes news if it happens: it’s rare.
Here’s a unique take on this problem. “Is Sara, the Pineapple Cat the most unsuccessful book series in publishing history?” asks this press release.
Have you ever heard of Sara, the Pineapple Cat? No? Well, that does not come as a big surprise to the publisher…Because sales have been so non-existent, the publisher is considering contacting the Guiness [sic] World Records people to see if there is a “Most Unsuccessful Book Series in Publishing History” category. But that would probably make Sara just famous enough not to qualify for Guiness [sic] World Records…Sara cannot be found lying around the shelves of your local bookstores, but go to Amazon.com and search for Sara, the Pineapple Cat and you will find her.
The Sara series consists of five books, each created by a different author-illustrator team, all printed by self-pub service CreateSpace. The series’ owner, David Olin Tullis, has trademarked Sara–a gesture of hope that, it appears, has not borne fruit.
Mr. Tullis definitely gets props for an original publicity angle. But given that press releases are among the least effective of all book marketing strategies, I don’t see a change in Sara’s future. Poor Sara.