My Other Pages

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To Publish With A New E-Publisher...Or Not?

During the past couple of weeks, several of my aspiring author friends have been all a twitter (that is, "a twitter"as in old-fashioned chirping away with one another rather than as in modern tweeting on Twitter) about a new e-publisher on the scene (I'll call it "Happy New Publisher"). I researched this start-up on EREC and elsewhere, learning that the two principals have no editorial experience between them. As an attorney, I shivered at the inherent dangers of getting caught up as an author in such a scenario.

Then, as it would happen, an aspiring author (I'll call her "Happy New Author") mentioned that she had just submitted a story to Happy New Publisher. A few days later, Happy New Author said that she had a contract in hand from Happy New Publisher and was off to choose a book cover. I wish her the best, as I always enjoy vicariously when someone else succeeds at something.

But would I go this way? No, this isn't the right scenario for me. When it comes to writing, I want one thing more than anything—an editor. Oh yes, I want an editor, one who has experience, one who'll see my promise, one who'll send me revision requests, one who'll demand more and more of me. When this happens, and I know it won't happen within a few days, I'll be a happy new author, but probably one with an established publisher, whether print or electronic.

Happy Writing...and Revising!

3 comments:

  1. I share your cringes about authors happily marching off with the first publisher to offer them a contract...often with little or no research into the company. However, I believe the assumption that lack of editing only happens at e-pubs is misleading.

    As the founder, publisher, editor at Black Velvet Seductions I can tell you that I am very much focused on looking for the promise in authors and books. Sadly, a lot of authors who have promising books don't themselves have much promise for the simple reason they don't have the work ethic to stretch a little more, work a little harder, revise a bit more to strengthen the work.

    They see "Happy New Publisher" who offers them a contract in a week...who asks them to do very few if any revisions...and they think that that is a better deal than publishing with a publisher who is more established, who has more sales channels, but who requires more work to attain the contract.

    There are essentially two kinds of publishers--those that make their money on quantity who will publish almost anything vaguely readable and those who publish far fewer titles but who take more care in what they publish.

    Black Velvet Seductions definitely falls into the latter category. I spend hundreds of hours editing the manuscripts I accept for publication and the authors of them spend hundreds of hours or revising them.

    I think it's a little flawed to think that all e-pubs are scrimping on the editing, the revisions, and so on while the print publishers are the only ones who focus on quality. I often read books published by bigger companies than ours and think to myself...I wouldn't have published this without serious revision.

    I just think it is unfair to judge e-pubs as a category and paper publishers as a category. I expect that in the future we will see the two camps much closer together. Paper books lose market share. Ebooks have already overtaken hardback sales by a margin of almost 2-1 at Amazon which sells only one format of ebook. The business model of the major print publishers only works as long as people continue to buy paperbacks in large numbers. As more people buy in ebook form and the numbers of paperback buyers decline those publishers are going to be forced to adapt -- likely away from huge print runs (an industry standard of 30% of which are destroyed when they aren't sold.)

    I don't see it as a long term sustainable business model. Large print run publishers see the light. They already have ebook divisions in place and many of them are converting back lists to ebook format. I've been surprised recently the number of older romance titles that are available in ebook format.

    There is a lot to consider. And it isn't really just whether a publisher is an ebook publisher or a paper publisher. It's more of a matter of what the publisher does within the industry...it's whether they value quantity over quality and what they do as a result of that judgment.

    ReplyDelete
  2. HI, LAURIE-

    THANKS FOR STOPPING BY MY BLOG.

    I share your cringes about authors happily marching off with the first publisher to offer them a contract...often with little or no research into the company. I REPORTED ON AN AUTHOR WHO MARCHED OFF WITH A NEW PUBLISHER WHO OFFERED A CONRACT, EVEN AFTER INFORMED THAT THE TWO PRINCIPALS OF THE NEW PUBLISHER HAD NO EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE BETWEEN THEM. However, I believe the assumption that lack of editing only happens at e-pubs is misleading. I DIDN’T ASSUME THAT A LACK OF EDITORIAL HAPPENS ONLY AT E-PUBLISHING HOUSES. I DID A POST ON EDITORIAL VERSUS NON-EDITORIAL PUBLICATION, NOT ON E-PUBLISHING VERSUS PRINT PUBLISHING. YOU ASSUMED THAT I MADE THIS ASSUMPTION, PERHAPS BECAUSE YOU ARE FIGHTING A BATTLE AGAINST THIS PERCEPTION WITHIN THE INDUSTRY.

    As the founder, publisher, editor at Black Velvet Seductions I can tell you that I am very much focused on looking for the promise in authors and books. BUT, OF COURSE. Sadly, a lot of authors who have promising books don't themselves have much promise for the simple reason they don't have the work ethic to stretch a little more, work a little harder, revise a bit more to strengthen the work. I FIND THIS SURPRISING, AS I KNOW AUTHORS WHO WILL REVISE UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME, ALL WITH THE HOPE OF SATISFYING EDITORS.

    They see "Happy New Publisher" who offers them a contract in a week...who asks them to do very few if any revisions...and they think that that is a better deal than publishing with a publisher who is more established, who has more sales channels, but who requires more work to attain the contract. NO, I SUSPECT THAT THE AUTHOR TO WHOM I REFERRED IN THE POST WENT WITH HAPPY NEW PUBLISHER BECAUSE ESTABLISHED PUBLISHERS, WHETHER ELECTRONIC OR PRINT, HAD REJECTED HER SUBMISSIONS, NOT BECAUSE SHE WANTED AN EDITOR WHO ASKED FOR FEW OR NO REVISIONS.

    There are essentially two kinds of publishers--those that make their money on quantity who will publish almost anything vaguely readable and those who publish far fewer titles but who take more care in what they publish. I DON’T NECESSARILY AGREE WITH THIS, THOUGH I AM NO EXPERT. I HAVE SEEN SOME E-PUBLISHERS WHO PUBLISH QUANTITY WITH QUALITY. I HAVE SEEN SOME PRINT PUBLISHERS WHO PUBLISH QUALITY IN QUANTITY.

    SEE NEXT COMMENT FOR CONTINUATION OF DISCUSSION.

    ReplyDelete
  3. HERE IS THE CONTINUATION OF THE DISCUSSION FROM THE PRIOR COMMENT.

    Black Velvet Seductions definitely falls into the latter category. I spend hundreds of hours editing the manuscripts I accept for publication and the authors of them spend hundreds of hours or revising them. THIS IS AS IT SHOULD BE WITHIN PUBLISHING, WHETHER PRINT OR ELECTRONIC.

    I think it's a little flawed to think that all e-pubs are scrimping on the editing, the revisions, and so on while the print publishers are the only ones who focus on quality. I FINISHED MY POST WITH THESE WORDS: “WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING, I WANT ONE THING MORE THAN ANYTHING—AN EDITOR. OH YES, I WANT AN EDITOR, ONE WHO HAS EXPERIENCE, ONE WHO'LL SEE MY PROMISE, ONE WHO'LL SEND ME REVISION REQUESTS, ONE WHO'LL DEMAND MORE AND MORE OF ME. WHEN THIS HAPPENS, AND I KNOW IT WON'T HAPPEN WITHIN A FEW DAYS, I'LL BE A HAPPY NEW AUTHOR, BUT PROBABLY ONE WITH AN ESTABLISHED PUBLISHER, WHETHER PRINT OR ELECTRONIC.” ONCE AGAIN, I DIDN’T WRITE A POST ON E-PUBLISHING VERSUS PRINT PUBLISHING. I WROTE A POST ON THE NEW PUBLISHER’S LACK OF EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE, WHICH HAPPENED TO HAVE OCCURED IN THE CONTEXT OF A NEW E-PUBLISHER. OF COURSE, THEN THE QUESTION BECOMES: IS A PRINT PUBLISHER OR E-PUBLISHER MORE LIKELY TO LACK IN EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE UPON OPENING ITS DOORS? I often read books published by bigger companies than ours and think to myself...I wouldn't have published this without serious revision.

    I just think it is unfair to judge e-pubs as a category and paper publishers as a category. I expect that in the future we will see the two camps much closer together. Paper books lose market share. Ebooks have already overtaken hardback sales by a margin of almost 2-1 at Amazon which sells only one format of ebook. The business model of the major print publishers only works as long as people continue to buy paperbacks in large numbers. As more people buy in ebook form and the numbers of paperback buyers decline those publishers are going to be forced to adapt -- likely away from huge print runs (an industry standard of 30% of which are destroyed when they aren't sold.)

    I don't see it as a long term sustainable business model. Large print run publishers see the light. They already have ebook divisions in place and many of them are converting back lists to ebook format. I've been surprised recently the number of older romance titles that are available in ebook format. AS A CORPORATE LAWYER, ONE WHO HAS WORKED IN THE MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS ARENA, I PREDICT THAT ESTABLISHED PRINT PUBLISHERS WILL MAKE EVER INCREASING INROADS INTO E-PUBLISHING, BECOMING THE DOMINANT FORCE OF THE E-PUBLISHING WORLD, AND ALONG THE WAY, BUYING OUT ALL COMPETITVE SMALL E-PUBLISHERS AND DRIVING THE OTHERS INTO OBLIVION.

    There is a lot to consider. And it isn't really just whether a publisher is an ebook publisher or a paper publisher. It's more of a matter of what the publisher does within the industry...it's whether they value quantity over quality and what they do as a result of that judgment. AGAIN, I DON’T NECESSARILY AGREE WITH THIS, AS I DON’T BELIEVE QUALITY AND QUANTITY ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

    SUCCESS FOR A PUBLISHING HOUSE, AND CONCOMITANT SUCCESS FOR ITS STABLE OF AUTHORS, TURNS ON THE EXPERIENCE AND SKILL OF THE EDITORS AT THAT PUBLISHING HOUSE, WHETHER PRINT OF ELECTRONIC.

    AND THAT WAS THE POINT OF MY POST.

    REGARDS, MADELINE

    ReplyDelete