Had he screwed himself, he wondered?
No, but he has published his book and clued-up trade publishers will only republish books in certain circumstances, and these are rare:
- If the book does phenomenally well as a self-published book, proving its worth. NOTE: "phenomenally well" means two things: high volume and at a decent price point. If you've sold ten thousand at only 49p, this tells the publisher nothing. That is a good result for a self-published book, but it's nowhere near good enough to show a publisher that this book has sufficient legs to sell enough at a higher price point, and a publisher needs a higher price point to cover costs and overheads - including, crucially, editing, which the self-published book almost certainly will not have had. (You may technically have had your book edited, but the publisher will most likely want to suggest changes and this is a vexed issue if the book is already out there. Be warned, too, that your understanding of the word "editing" may fall short of professional standards. Editing requires training and is not at all the same as proofreading - which also requires training!)
- If a book has been previously published but perhaps went out of print or only sold modestly (at a proper price) but now the author has become very successful with other books, so his "backlist" genuinely stands a chance of a new life.
- If there is some other unusual reason which gives the book a special chance of success. For example, you've suddenly become a celebrity. Or something else which my imagination is failing to imagine.
(Please forgive me if I'm slow to respond to comments. I'm in London and tomorrow I have a big event for Mumsnet. Not big as in big audience - it's a small audience - but big in terms of exhaustion and energy. And hours... Tomorrow evening, I will have collapsed, nursing a small glass of wine.)