Let's say you've written a book and had two offers for publication. One's from a hardcover publisher, and the contract's for $10,000. (Just using some hypothetical round figures here.) You're practically guaranteed reviews in the major publications, you'll have a lot of library sales.

The other offer's from a paperback house. $15,000. No reviews in PW or Booklist, no library sales.

Which offer do you take? Why?

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Thanks, Rosemary! And yay for gardener mysteries--you have the perfect name for it.
First rule of networking: it is never too late to congratulate someone for anything. Unless they're dead...
Congrats on learning to tie your shoes Steven.

;)

And congrats on the deal Rosemary, and the Edgar Naomi, and the Derringer Bill...
Thanks, Sandra. And add my congrats to all the others. I should probably mention that the question that started this discussion was purely hypothetical. I haven't been offered the deals.
Riiiiiiiiiiiight.
Congrats on learning to tie your shoes Steven.

Were it not for velcro...
And I'm so busy teasing that I forgot your Derringer win...
Well, when it comes down to it, the shoelace tying thing was really a lifechanging event while the Derringer is wonderful but less important - if I had to lose either my Derringer or my shoelace tying skill, I think I'd have to part with the award.

Steven (hoping it never coems down to making this kind of decision)
I'm not sure I know the answer to this. I started out in hc with SMP, and both Bryon and Steven are right. The money I got was immaterial. There was zero promotion and marketing. I next took the series to Penguin in tpb. Sales improved, though there is still no promotion. Libraries ordered the hcs. Good. I wanted people to get to know the series. Libraries ordered much fewer pbs. Also good. This will send people who want to continue the series to the bookstores.
However, when you get no promotion, you depend on reviews. And pbs get few and/or very short reviews.
Everything considered, I think I will opt for hc again.
i'm a paperback writer, and I often get fan mail that begins like this:

I didn't expect to like your book.
or

I bought your book with low expectations.

or

My friend forced me to read your book. I didn't think I'd like it.

I could continue, but you get the idea. Why are expectations so low? I have to guess it's because I'm published in paperback. my paperbacks have been reviewed in PW and picked up by the major bookclubs, so coming out in paperback doesn't mean those things can't happen.
Here's another thing about hardcover and paperback. Face it - the hardcover books take up more shelf space, which means they stand out just a little bit more.

I'm not sure it's possible for us, because we've all done thiss too many times, but if you walked into a bookstore and honestly followed what caught your eye faster in the mystery section shelved (take book ends out, because those cost a lot of money and aren't part of this equation - for these figures I can't imagine the publishers springing for them - they'll be filled with the Kellerman's and Dan Brown, etc.) what catches your eye first?

On one of my shelves the book that jumps out is Mark Billingham's Buried. Hardcover, fat, almost big enough to double as a defensive weapon. AND the spine has shades of white to blue to brown. It's different from all the darker spines on my shelf so doing a quick test that was the book that leapt out at me.

On my 'to review' shelf, Strangers by Carla Banks. That hardcover is solid.

And we should be careful to make generalizations about St. Martin's. They've done a pretty good job for Stuart MacBride and Ken Bruen. Not every publisher is perfect for every author.
Could you try to sell the book to both publishers? Maybe just change the title for one of them...

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