One or two might, that is, they garner good solid sales all on their own, and then the publisher moves in with more marketing to bolster them. But for the others, they don’t help to promote those author’s books and then they wonder why sales aren’t meeting their expectations. It’s backwards business practice to be sure, but that is the state I find my books in. They won’t invest in the paperbacks because their whole marketing strategy is concentrated on hardcover.
Hardcover sales, primarily to libraries, have been their staple, whether it’s currently a solid business practice these days or not. Fewer bookstores and ebooks have moved into the paradigm, and for a while my ebook sales rose, too, but now they’ve plateaued as well. The only thing that will save Crispin’s books with this publisher is for readers and libraries to buy more hardcover books. A LOT more of them.
But if this publisher won’t offer any more contracts, then there is the hope a smaller publisher will pick it up and be happy with the solid core of fans. Smaller publishers, ironically, put more effort into promoting their authors, but naturally there is less money for authors with a smaller publisher; smaller advance, less places to buy the book. It’s a trade off. That’s why it’s most difficult for authors to make any sort of living at writing.
What made you decide to set up the Facebook event? What has been the reaction to it?
I wanted to boost sales in order to keep my current publisher. It was a desperate and gutsy move. It’s still a better deal having that big name publisher behind you. By my book’s mere presence in their catalog—a catalog that goes out to libraries and bookstores—gives my book that imprimatur that lifts my novels above the dross.
The reaction has been heartfelt. Every Crispin fan wants to help. Readers don’t realize how important it is these days to talk up a book. To ask their libraries to order it for all their branches. To review it on online sites and to “Like” it where those buttons are offered. I really hated to do it, because it could backfire just as much, but I’m not one to sit by. I’m proactive and have always busted my buns getting the word out about my books. I don’t know whether it will be enough, however. Plenty of other seemingly successful authors have been in my shoes, and they have had to find smaller publishing homes for their series as well.