Thursday, January 25, 2007

Choices

Been thinking lately about choices, and what they mean.

I think 99% of us wanting to be published aren’t going to get the publishing angels to present us with a 6 figure contract, a huge initial print run and all the publisher promotion dollars we could ask for.

I figure we have three possibilities.

1) With a combination of luck, talent and perserverance, we might get offered a contract by a major NY publisher. Which, don’t get me wrong, would be fantastic, but it’s not all roses and chocolate.
Chances are the initial print run would be small, small depends, but anywhere from 5000 copies to 20,000, (my guess, if I’m wrong, sorry), probably no publicity budget and 8% royalties on sales.

2) With a combination of luck, talent and perserverance, we might get offered a contract by an E-Publisher. This is nothing to sneeze at either. E-Publishers offer much, much higher royalty rates, easy access to books and are seeing dramatic increases in their readership.

3) We could continue to submit and continue waiting. Not as much fun as the other two, but more likely…

I’ve been thinking about my choices, because a couple of things hit my radar recently. As Molly mentioned in her blog, our friend and critique partner Theresa who’s E-Pubb’d was trying to get her recently print published books(by her E-Publisher) into a local bookstore for an upcoming book signing.
This is not the first time this issue has been raised. A couple of other E-Pubb’d and small print pubb’d members of our local RWA chapter have tried to do the same with varying success rates.

I would love to see Theresa sit at that booksigning, my fingers are crossed that this will happen.
But, one of the drawbacks of choosing an E-Publisher is not having the distribution networks in place that the major publishers have. This is, hopefully, offset by the higher royalty rates.
I’m not sure how important a booksigning is for most of you, but I’ve known of writers beating their heads against the wall because they can’t get a print copy of their book into their local bookstore to show family and friends.
A woman on one of my loops, went so far as to get angry with her local bookstore, the manager and their head office. The manager of that bookstore has since decided not to hold another booksigning because of that incident. Because of one author’s frustration, other authors, whose books are available can’t have booksignings there.
This seems ridiculous to me. Surely this woman knew when signing with an E-publisher that getting her books into these stores would be difficult, or even impossible. Didn’t she understand the pros and cons before signing a publishing contract?
The other thing this woman forgot is once we sign a publishing contract, we’re no longer bookstore customers.
They’re our customer. We want bookstores to stock our books, hand sell one more copy, talk about the lovely local author who comes in to visit every once in a while.

That woman, who is E-Pubb’d, but shall remain nameless, pissed her local bookstore off so much, that if she did accept a print contract one day, they’d probably go out of their way to shelve her books in with manuals on automotive repair.
But it was important enough for her to get that booksigning that she just didn’t care and I’m not sure I fully understand why.

For me the key is being published, getting a contract, an editor who loves my work. The rest very much less so, and to be honest the idea of sitting at a booksigning makes me shudder.

I’m curious. Is it important to other people to see their book in print, or is it enough knowing a reputable publisher loved it enough to offer a contract?

13 comments:

Christine said...

For me it was important to get my book out there. Not that I was willing to go with just any publisher, I certanly had my standards. They had to be RWA approved and with a good rep. For me e-pub made sense. I also look at it as an opportunity to move into the NY Pub world as well. I'll have sales numbers I'll be able to take to them, a track record that can prove to them (I hope) that I can sell books.

That works for me because of what I write. I'm not sure if that would work for other sub genres of romance.

Sinead M said...

Hey Christine, you made a great choice.
Not only is your publisher well respected, but several of their established authors got amazing deals with New York publishing houses.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I think your point about the change from being a customer of a bookstore to them becoming our customer is a good one.

Promoting my Harlequin books is hard considering the short shelf span but one thing my editor and agent told me to do was cultivate a huge relationship with a local bookstore. And, of course, have an on-line presence - but the cultivating a good relationship with a book store -- amazing. It works. It's a big deal. The fabulous Eve Silver (who we should have blog here sometime) has done such a good job at the local bookstore (it's the same local bookstore) that for a fairly new author she has huge signings and managers of the store hand sell her book.

Be kind to booksellers, I guess is my point.

Saw Pan's Labyrinth last night -- anyone else seen this crazy amazing movie? Smurphy - get out there and see it -- this is your kind of movie -- you'll love it.

Kimber said...

Epublished authors can usually get their books on shelves...on store by store consignment basis. That means the author fronts all costs though (unless the publisher picks up the tab).

A way to minimize the dollar damage is to list with the bookstore's on-line "location" and then inform fans that the on-line books can be ordered through their local bookstore (what I do 'cause I'm never home to receive delivery).

What is key for me is having my book be "good enough." A deal with a bigger name publisher or landing a RWA approved agent due to that book would do that.

If I had that seal of approval, I'd even self-publish.

I just don't want to sell crap.

Maureen McGowan said...

Great post, Sinead. LOL about books being shelved with auto repair manuals.

And you're so on the money about booksellers being our customers.

I think many, many authors fail to understand this. Sure, they're one of a few middlemen between writers and readers... but the retailer is the key link in that chain and it behooves us to remember the customer is always right. (whether they are or not.)

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, and Pan's Labyrinth is totally Smurphy's kind of movie. Get at sitter, Sinead. Go see it.

Sinead M said...

Pan's Labrynth is at the top of must see list. We have an evening next weekend put aside just to go see it.
I am a big fan of that director, from Hellboy, to Mimic and Blade 2, don't laugh, they are all really good sci/fi-horror flicks.

Very excited to see Pan's. I hear it's his best yet.. and who doesn't love wierd creatures with eyeballs in the palm of their hands...

Molly O'Keefe said...

who eats fairies...it's like a crazy slasher flick fairy tale. can't wait to talk about it!!!

Eve Silver said...

Molly, I'm with you on this point. Cultivating a local bookseller can have a huge impact in the long run. And signing at a bookstore that is kind to you is really an amazing experience.

Kristy said...

Yep, definitely be kind to booksellers! For one thing, most of them are kind people themselves, and anyone who loves books is usually worth getting to know anyway. I've had the pleasure to meet several independent booksellers this year, and they've been an amazing lot; generous, smart, willing to listen.

Great post!

Molly O'Keefe said...

Hey Eve! What would you say are some of the things you do that have impacted how well those signings go for you...

Amy Ruttan said...

I would like to see my book in print, either E-pub'd or Print.

The booksigning aspect of the whole thing does not appeal to me. Not that I wouldn't be gracious and kind to fans, it's just that I'm not good being in the spot light of big groups of people. It makes me uneasy.

I will do it if it is required of me when the time comes; but the whole reason I want to get published is to get my stories out there.

Sinead M said...

I'm with you, Amy. A little uncomfortable being the focus of a group of people, worse, sitting at a lonely table and watching people walk by..

But, developing a great relationship with my local bookstore, I'm all for that, anyone who loves books is worth knowing in my estimation.

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