Sunday, October 01, 2006
Q & A 86 Is it that easy to put out a book?
I'm confused about something (happens all the time). I always figured that aside from lack of talent, the reason nobody wants to publish anything I write is because it is a huge commitment by publishers to actually get a book out. It takes money, hard work, and money to do it, and it only happens when there is reason to believe that plenty of readers will buy it.
Now, our 'Deviations' book is presumably going to be bound up and released in record time. I know you rule the industry, but even so, is it that easy to publish a book that won't even be read by that many people? If it's so easy to put something out, shouldn't us unpublished writers feel even more discouraged than we already do?
Also, I've seen some banter about using this book as a publishing credit. Is this a legitimate credit for us minions? Are you minions considering mentioning this book in future query letters?
Thanks for all your help and hard work, Evil!
At a big-time publisher it takes a lot of money to put out a book because they're often printing 30,000 or more copies. Volume may get their costs down to a dollar a copy, but that's still thirty grand up front. It would make no sense for them to put out 300 copies of a book, even if they thought that was the exact number that would sell. They have book and cover designers on staff, as well as artists, editors, etc. And they sell through distributors and wholesalers who snag 55% of the cover price.
Now, here at EE Publications, Evil Editor handles all the design and the editing. Our small volume of books means they'll probably cost three times as much to print and bind (though less to ship), and there are numerous other expenses (not least of which is ISBN numbers, because you can't buy fewer than 10, even if you're putting out only one book), but we're not talking about a fortune. And it's not unreasonable to hope the expenses are equalled by income, especially if we can accurately predict how many will be bought. If expenses are exceeded by income, expect a sequel.
As for whether this is a pub credit, it's true that the openings are awfully brief, and that they don't need to get past a slush reader--but they do need to inspire greatness in continuation authors. The continuations, while they do need to be clever enough to outshine numerous other submissions, are even briefer than the openings. Nonetheless, you've seen the credits authors tack onto their query letters on this site, and most of them are obscure at best. If you're listing places your work has appeared, I wouldn't put a three-sentence continuation at the top of the list, but if your list has only two items, it wouldn't hurt to add a third.
My guess is that if you're involved in this because you feel it's an important step on the road to success, you'll be disappointed. If you're involved because you think Novel Deviations would be a cool book to own, you'll be happy.