Posts Tagged ‘Grumpy Old Bookman’

Writers, Publishers and DIY Publishing

August 11, 2008

It is a well known fact that there are far more writers — good, bad and indifferent — than traditional publishers can even contemplate selecting from by glancing at their submissions. So most publishers work through agents and rely on them to produce the writers suitable for their particular list of titles. So agents filter through the thousands of submissions they get inundated with, that is IF they are accepting submissions from unknown authors. If they are, then it is likely only one or two new writers will be taken on in a year. Thousands of manuscripts but which one or two will be chosen? It stands to reason that many excellent authors are turned down year on year. A few writers make it through the self-publishing route. It takes money, hard work, dedication, good promotional and marketing skills and maybe friends in the right places to get anywhere. If books are sold in the right numbers a known publisher may well take over the title. It seems to me that the chances of ‘making it’ are getting more and more remote.
Frankly, most bookshops don’t ‘want to know.’ If the book has a lot of appeal and is already being ‘asked for’ then the book might do well, at least locally. (As did my ‘When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in Red Boxes’ — out of a 750 run, 600 were sold locally.) But national booksellers go through the national office. Our local W.H.Smith’s manager was interested in stocking two of my books but the head office did not even reply to the letter I was asked to send in!
Okay, our book will appear on Amazon and a dozen other bookstores may also advertise it on their website — yes, along with thousands of others! They don’t have to stock or buy the book to advertise it.
I know of authors who travel all over the country trying to flog books one way or another, some with a modicum of success. Is it worth it? Well, you have to believe in your book, and yourself, to pay in time and money for what is involved. With cheap books for sale everywhere, it is hard to compete. How many unknown author books do YOU buy, and how much would YOU pay for them?
When we take the self-publishing route it is as well to have all this in mind. If services are being paid for, you may not get a penny back and that could run into thousands. If you are doing your own publishing (complete with ISBN and bar code) you can get books printed in smallish numbers and, if your book does not sell, all you will end up with is a box of books to give to friends or offer to libraries. At least your ‘baby’ has been born and smiling for all to see!
If I recall correctly, Michael Allen of Grumpy Old Bookman fame, once wrote that the average sales for a self published POD book were 80 copies. He also has a great deal of advice to give about the whole subject and of DIY publishing through LULU in particular.
Before starting on your publishing project it might help if you first visited:
http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/2007/01/lucius-and-lulu-part-2.html

Onward!

November 28, 2007

I have just written a long post on my other blog.  http://writingforjoy.blogspot.com  I do not wish to merely duplicate it here. So I will write here about my sadness that Michael Allen will not be writing his blog for a long time. I will miss him. I will miss his guidance, his wit, his intellect, his grasp of the publishing world. At least, I can console myself by reading the rest of his books and learning from them. He is a darned good author! He is also, by my reckoning, the patron saint of the writer struggling for recognition. Thank you Michael. http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com is still there for folk to read many a good posting, and also some of his stories and essays.

2012 UPDATE — MICHAEL ALLEN IS BACK! THE GRUMPY OLD BOOKMAN IS AGAIN WRITING ON HIS BLOG. WITTY AND WISE — A GOOD COMBINATION!

One door closes – another opens?

September 1, 2007

It always gives me a sinking feeling when someone, ‘in charge’ of a shop or store, hands back Northern Lights (or another of my publications) and says they don’t want it. I feel the rejection far too personally. It is even more embarrassing if it is someone I know. But more than embarrassing are the dashed hopes of selling copies of the book. It is good to know that some individuals, working in various places, like the book and WANT to sell it, even if top management says no! I have not heard from W.H.S’s top office and don’t expect to now. Pity, the local store seemed quite keen. The manager of the store that sold about 80 copies of Red Boxes, did not want it either. (Well, they don’t normally sell books and Red Boxes was being sold for charity). I am still a little hopeful of selling some books through Hills, BUT will not hold my breath. Of course, if I had to reorder just for a few, with the huge discounts wanted, I would be out of pocket anyway BUT one has to speculate to get established.

If you don’t read the Grumpy Old Bookman website, you don’t know what you are missing. You can get a realistic view of chances of publication and of alternatives. So many good and interesting things to read of what is happening in the book world. Occasionally, publishers are mentioned that are open to submissions – for example Tindal Street Press
They only publish regional books. I have an idea they get a grant to do so. But others get a mention. Plus latest releases, book reviews etc etc. It also mentioned Cinnamon Teal printing and publishing. For someone who wants to self-publish they do a jolly good deal.

The September edition of the THE JIMSTON JOURNAL is now out. My story is there and I am so very pleased with the way it is presented. Incredible the time and effort put into that ‘on line’ free journal. I feel quite proud to have my work included. Who knows where it might lead?

This was published five years ago, see more recent posts and my other blogs —

My author blog and Magpies Nest Publishing. More recently my novels have been published by Dare Empire BUT four of my novels have been taken over by Turquoise Morning Press and The Dark Mirror by Storm Moon Press