Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Q & A 28 Book Sales vs. Memberships
Here's my question...comment... rant. I actually HAVE sold two books to an RWA acredited publisher. Alas, I have never been a member of RWA, nor do I have a desire to join. I wonder, does having books actually out there, published, in print, hold more sway than being part of a big name organization like RWA? The problem is that, once you've been "published", that doesn't mean you'll ever get published again. And some people--even evil editors--seem to hold high stock in those aforementioned organizations. If a long period of time comes between publishing period one and hopeful publishing period two, will editors still be impressed by the fact that you're published to begin with?
Given the little information Evil Editor has, he would give a qualified Yes, Yes, Yes! It costs a lot of money to publish a book. A good-sized publisher isn't going to have a print run under ten or fifteen thousand. Add cover art and design to printing and binding and coffee and doughnuts and rejection slips and Evil Editor's salary, and we're talking a big investment. Either they're idiots, or they believe you have the right stuff. Even if you were published by a very small press, they must have put five or ten grand into your book, and to a small press trying to run in the black, that's not chump change. Somebody likes your writing. Compare that to a writer who has written something that hasn't yet sold, and has invested some money in joining an organization. She's serious about her writing, but it remains to be seen whether she can produce the goods.
Now, if your books tanked, that's why your original publisher isn't on you to write more, but you can blame it on the ugly covers they gave you, if anyone asks.