This article originally appeared on the nzherald.co.nz site on 3/7/11.
It is a truism in the publishing industry that very few Kiwis get rich by writing a book.
While many receive a pittance for their creative efforts, there are some authors who have become millionaires – some many times over – by cutting out the middlemen and middlewomen in the publishing industry and marketing themselves to a global audience.
The most recent self-publishing success story is cooking star Annabel Langbein, who has broken all previous New Zealand records by selling more than 110,000 copies of her latest cookbook, The Free Range Cook. The book now sells in more than 70 countries and negotiations are underway to sell the accompanying TV series in several major markets.
Langbein is credited by many as a smart cookie who has carefully and patiently planned her career over many years. She admits to having turned down offers just because she didn’t think the timing was quite right.
She says she initially wanted to manage her own books simply because she enjoyed the creative challenge. But along the way, she has sought advice from some of New Zealand’s top businesspeople, including staff at Auckland University’s business incubator, The Icehouse.
Langbein is unsure how many books she has sold in total in her career so far, but guesses it would probably be in the millions. And she genuinely believes she is only just getting started.