These people were selling mass market books before I was born. I am hearing from some writers and industry folks that supposedly Dorchester will NO longer sell ANY print books and will begin only selling ebooks. I was trying to check this out but can't find an article or anything on it, confirming.
So does anyone know if this is really true? Not that it wouldn't be hard to believe since MM sales have been suffering for a while but I'd like to know if this is really the case and if someone can direct me to a link where I can read about it, I'd appreciate that.
So, they're just not doing print runs anymore, not dropping print entirely. I think a lot of smaller presses are going to see the wisdom in that model as the economy continues its ups and downs and the market changes.
Yes, I saw an unrelated article talking about how going straight to e-book makes it a little more possible for smaller presses to compete.
Big, returnable print runs are important to get books into bookstores - as the article says, shelf space is getting smaller and likely even more dominated by big publishers.
So, now it looks like Hard Case Crime will only print books for the book club members and POD - which I think is a really good idea.
It's funny, this is very close to the model I envisioned for the Writer's Co-Op Publishing company but I found that it was very important to writers to have a print run - writers seem to resist e-book and POD more than anyone else ;)
Print runs and advances are tangible evidence of a publisher's degree of commitment to the book. We're betting months or years of our writing lives on any given book--so naturally we like it when publishers reciprocate. It's a sign of respect for the project and for the writer. But you already know this.
Yes, and the way that "comittment" plays out is very important. Up till now large publishers could buy a certain degree of success - the same way the Yankees can buy a certain degree of success.
But for publishers many of those old ways aren't as effective anymore. A large advance could almost be guaanteed to be paid back wih a big enough print run and some promotion. But a print run is only useful if there are a lot of retail bookstores with a lot of co-op tables and shelf space and the old ways of promotion are only useful if there are newspapers and magazines with big book review sections.
So, we'll see what new model develops. It's unlikely retail chains and big publishers will just fold their tents and go home, but those big advances may become even more rare than they were.
For someone like me who writes niche books with no chance of bestsellerdom or big advances it doesn't change anything - except maybe I won't have as much to be bitter about, watching others get huge advances ;)
Now, when looking at different publishers maybe writers won't automatically choose the biggest one as the best.
You make a good point here, John. Maybe this will help level the playing field a little between the niche book writers and the major sluggers in publishing. The computer world has made it possible for the small guy to make a big impression in a variety of fields, especially in entertainment. I hope it will be the case for struggling writers as well.
I'm very happy that I'm finally with a publisher who doesn't accept returns. If that means stores will not carry my books, so be it. That will send the traffic to Amazon. Stores have never reliably stocked my books.
I'm in the same boat as you now because I'm with a small publisher now. And like you, I could care less about my books not being in stores. If they are in some, fine but if not, I don't care. I would've been more concerned say, ten years ago because then you had to be in stores to sell but now online sales rule.
Plus you don't have to worry about bookstores dictating shelf life of YOUR work and since less than four copies of an author's book gets in stores anyway, what's the good of that? If you don't have the big advertising dollars behind you, being in a store means nothing.
I like the idea of not having to worry about returns too. At least now if my books aren't selling at a certain rate, I don't have to sit there and be nervous when I look at the returns on my royalty check.
It feels like freedom I tell 'ya! I don't wanna go with a big house again. Been there, done that. It wasn't for me. I can't tell you how fascinating and how much I love the experience of working with a small press that actually values my ideas and opinions when it comes to MY work.
Yes, indeed. And consider that the publisher not only refunds the money but pays for the shipping. They've just incurred a loss. And whom do they blame: the author. There is in any case no proof that the store ever even unpacked the boxes. When you write a series, you sort of expect that all your books are on the shelves, and that the new one is on the "new arrivals" table. Forget it. In most cases there's nothing on the shelves and the salespeople tell customers, "Oh, we can order that." Usually, that takes care of the impulse. Ordering means making another trip to pick up the book.
You made some excellent points. I completely agree. Writers need to just take advantage of the best options for us.
That's why I always say that NO one method of publishing is best for everyone. It's not just about what you write, but what your goals are. A lot of authors don't care about getting rich. They are happy with folks just reading their books. That's me all over. I'm comfortable in my shell and I love writing so much that the joy of being published and having my books read is what does it to me. No amount of money or fame could compare. Besides, all writers have fans as long as people are reading their books.
Part of being successful in your own right is being realistic and knowing what you want out of your own career. I think the most writers who feel let down and sometimes bitter are the ones who had big expectations (which is nothing wrong with that), but didn't stay grounded as well. We all wanna reach for the stars but we should also count our smaller blessings and just be happy we are who we are.
A while back I was reading a forum where some published authors were complaining about being mid list. A lot of the unpublished writers got on there and said, "I'd rather be mid list than unpublished."
I always think about that. No one's situation is perfect but hell, I think if you're published you're way ahead of most people. I know I wouldn't wanna go back to struggling like I was and trying to get published. That's hell so I sympathize with unpublished writers and try to remember how it was when I was one.
I'm just grateful to still be able to get work published.