Monday, January 22, 2007

Publishing Outside the Mainstream

I am currently trying to organize a Valentine's Day signing for three Canadian Authors at a local Coles store that has proven to be incredibly romance friendly and the manager puts on a great signing. Finding romance friendly bookstores in Toronto has been a challenge. Like in the states we have lost a lot of our small private bookstores to the big conglomerate - for good or bad - that's not the point of my post. (Though always a good topic of discussion -- all that selection, comfy chairs and Starbucks but no soul). One of the author's doing the signing (Talented Teresa Roblin - Hocus Pocus and Now You See It) is e-published with Cerridwin and her books are being published in hard copy. Books are in the warehouse ready to be sent but the distributor doesn't have an account with Coles/Chapters/Indigo. Other Canadian writers have complained to Ellora's Cave/Cerridwin, but still no account. Maybe distribution is better in the States -- but there's not much in Canada.

I think this problem is something that a lot of people don't consider when the sign the contract with an e-publisher. If you publish outside the mainstream it's harder to try and work within the mainstream. It sucks. But that's the way it is. And if having signings and walking into the big bookstore and seeing your book is a big might not happen.

I write for Harlequin and if I had a nickle for every time someone has come up to me two months after my books were in stores and said "I went yesterday to find your book but I couldn't find it" I would have more money than I earned from both my Flipsides. Harlequin novels are pulled off the shelves after a month -- that's the deal. It sucks. But that's the way it is. So, I have to say to all those well-meaning friend's and possible sales that they will have to get the book on Amazon but most of them don't which is why those Flipsides never made any money.

I am hoping that with some complaining my friend Teresa can get this changed so maybe she can join us for the next signing - but it's been a real eye-opening experience for me.


Christine said...

I agree Molly. This is the fear of every small press or e-pubbed author, that our books won't be around for people to buy. Did this stop me from submitting to Ellora's Cave? Hell no. But I have another book almost ready to go that I won't be. Not because of anything negative with EC, but more for my own vanity and wanting to see it in the mainstream bookstores.

I'm hoping to be able to hit both markets as time goes on, but it is a lot of work.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Hey Good morning! I think deciding where you're going to publish and how you're going to publish is a big issue -- I know I didn't think at all and signed any dotted line they put in front of me -- but as long as you think all the way around the issue and know what the perks are and the disadvantages --you're being smart.

Erotic E-publishing makes perfect sense -- it's a match made outside of the box and it's working for everyone. It's just a matter of figuring out how to make promotion work too.

I am so excited for you Christine -- for this book and the next. I wish you many many many downloads!!!

Sinead M said...

Wow! Such a good post, Molly. It is so disappointing Theresa is running into these problems.
She was so excited about having a booksigning.

It is really relevant though. Understanding our options and making informed decisions is definitely one of the few things we have in our control in this crazy business.

E-Pubb'd, Print, large publisher, small publisher, they all have pros and cons and knowing what they are before signing is crucial.

Kimber said...

The problem is, I understand, not with the bookstore but with the publisher's return policy. Harlequin only reimburses returns by a certain date (which is why the bookstore pulls the books). Many small press don't reimburse returns at all.

Jordanne Ford said...

Morning ladies,
Just last week I was looking for a book on Chapters/Indigo website and while I didn't find the one I was looking for, a non-fiction, I did stumble across either and Ellora's Cave or Cerridwen, I just can't remember which one it was, but it was one of the two. I remember thinking, now why don't they carry them in the store, for pity's sake?

Maureen McGowan said...

Every method of publication has it's pros and cons.

Sure Harlequin books are only around for a month. But they distribute your books (Flipsides excepted) around the world and they earn out their advances and then some.

Ellora's Cave books might not be on many bookstore shelves, but they have loyal readers within the huge romance market who know where to find them and the authors get royalties unheard of in the mainstream world.

Mainstream published books are on the shelves, but unless you get struck by lightning and/or your publisher buys table space for you... your book is one in hundreds of thousands buried in the stacks.

There are good and bad things about each way. It just pays to understand this going in and not to expect perks not readily available to the route you've chosen.

I feel badly for Tree... but Coles has a right to stock the books they want to stock.

It's all so hard.

Wylie Kinson said...

Funny that this particular topic should come up... When the Feb edition of romANTICS comes out (should be any minute now) there's an article by Charlene Tiglia about Epubs vs Traditional Pubs - and the finer points authors should be aware of.

Molly O'Keefe said...

WYLIE!!! I just read that you sold to Ellora's Cave too!!! Congrats!!! That's great news.

Wylie Kinson said...

Thanks, Molly!

Amy Ruttan said...

That is what was stopping me from submitting to EC, not being able to buy it in the Bookstore; but then I look at EC's fan base (and the fact I buy alot from there) and now I am thinking of submitting to them if I can ever get my darn erotic WIP done.

There are pros and cons to everything. I know an author who self publishes her own children's books, but the marketing and promoting she has to do to sell them is phenomenal. Marketing her self published books is a whole entire full time job in itself.

Yet, I know there is marketing that has to be done by the author who publishes mainstream, the only good thing is we don't have to approach the stores to take the books.

So you're right there's good and bad with everything.

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