Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Let There Be Questions (Part IV)

It's taken me longer than usual to work through the questions from the students at Kennesaw State University, but I'm getting there. Here's a few more --

From Rachel B. --
"Do you ever think of going to a larger press?"

Yes, I do, because it is one of the main ways to increase readership.

Dragon Moon Press is a vibrant independent (and growing) speculative fiction publisher. That being said, they are still considered a "small press" though no one really has a good definition of that term. That means that DMP does smaller press runs, usually employing short run technology (aka print-on-demand) or offset. They print their books in trade paperback (the 6" x 9" size) as compared to the mass market size because for a mm paperback you need to print at least 10K to be cost effective. Doing short run printings allows a smaller press to keep more $ in the pocket up front. It makes fiscal sense.

When I take my books to a bigger publisher, I will be looking to move to that mass market paperback size as the "price point" is lower. A trade paperback just costs more to produce whereas the web press newsprint paperbacks are cheaper. The difference in my case would be a $19.95 price point down to something in the $7.99 range. Readers are much more likely to take a chance on a new author (to them) at the lower price. So yes, I will eventually move my Time Rovers series to a bigger publisher so that more readers can enjoy the stories. Like most things, it comes down to a matter of dollars and sense.

From Anna M. --
"What is the latest thing you have read?" and "What is your favorite genre to read?"

That would be Jim Butcher's
Harry Dresden Series. When I'm in the middle of final edits on my own manuscript, I need an hour or so a night to disconnect or I end up living the dratted thing 24/7. For a time I kept myself sane reading through Terry Pratchett's Discworld Series. During the current book (which has proved to be a major stretch for me) I immersed myself in Butcher's series. He has nine books out at present and they would be considered urban fantasy. I love his world, his characters and how he carries the suspense and the emotion from book to book. So right now I'm "into" Mr. Butcher's fine works. I haven't met the fellow yet (which is amazing given all the conventions I do each year) but I suspect we'll eventually bump elbows. I want to buy the guy his libation of choice and pick his brain on how to keep a series dynamic. He's planning on 20 books. That means he'd got a plan. I'd love to know how he does it.

My favorite genre is usually something paranormal with a heavy mystery element. Books like that can be urban fantasy or paranormal mystery. I'm pretty good with paranormal romance, but not always. Give me a vibrant world, a deep mystery and lots of questions and I'm good.

From Teddi M. --
"Who handles your public relations? How are they compensated?"

Up until last year, I handled all my own P.R. I'm really good at some things and I ignore other marketing avenues at my own peril. I decided it was best to have someone else out there pimping me, as it were, so I hired Two Sisters Promotions . Sherry & Kristen (who are indeed sisters) know how to keep my name in front of potential readers, how to work marketing venues I'm not familiar with and generally keep me on track. They handle my convention contracts (unless it's a convention at which I already have a standing agreement) and my book signings. They can do marketing while I'm writing my next book. We work together as a team and the arrangement has been absolutely wonderful. As to how are they compensated? They take checks or Lilliputians in small denominations (just kidding).

Teddi also asks --
"What do you think about sales of previously owned books on Ebay and other sources?"

Oh, that's a good question. Like all authors, I'd love to get a royalty for every time you bought my book, from the first time to the very last. Actors get residuals on shows they starred in decades before. Not authors. Where it would be lovely to get a cut of those earnings over the long haul, once the book is sold, there is no way to track where it goes and who buys it.

So, I live with the fact that someone can sell a used book out there cheaper than a new one of mine. I admit to buying used books. If I find I like the author, I will then buy the rest of the series new to help support my brothers and sisters slaving away at their keyboards. I figure other folks do the same -- they buy one of my books, like what I do and buy the rest new. At least that's my delusion.

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