I've been posting about my experiences at Eastercon, from the people I met to a lecture on swordplay for writers. The con was tons of fun, but an incident in the bathroom made me sigh and shake my head.
Get your mind out of the gutter! What happened was that as I sidled up to the urinal I was confronted with an ad. Not the usual ad for a TV show or safe drinking, but one for an obviously self-published fantasy novel. I looked across the row of urinals and saw one stuck to the wall above each one. A desperate self-publisher did the same thing at last year's London Book Fair.
Being curious, I took the urinal ad and checked the URL. Yep, self-published, and according to the Amazon rankings the second and third books in the series hadn't sold anything, at least on Amazon. The first book had a ranking of six million, meaning it had sold one copy, (probably to the author's mother) a few years ago. Even my London guidebook, which has been out of print for almost a year, has a ranking of 1.5 million. My book on medieval handgonnes, which doesn't come out from Osprey until October, has a ranking of 142,000 thanks to preorders. That's what a good publisher can do for you.
I've written before about how self-publishing is more often than not a pitfall for writers. It almost never leads to fame or big sales. And with the kind of associative advertising these jokers engage in, it only leads to ridicule.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. I tend not to take photos in public restrooms.