adventures in the small press

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  1. #1

    adventures in the small press

    As some of you may know, I am the editor-in-chief of a small press, seen to be
    "upcoming" in some circles and probably "uppity" in others. It's a full-time job, and a constant learning experience.
    The primadonna factor is less than I thought it would be...which is a good thing. I've never had a nasty letter from a prospective writer, and only a few have groused publicly. One of the most enjoyable things is making connections. As editor, I'm the guy that makes first contact, and often I'm selling the theme of the anthology to the writers, as we are not exactly a high-paying outfit. Our business model is just moving beyond crowdfunding.
    Recently I was involved in the startup and execution of a charity book, to benefit an author friend who needs much dental work and has poco dinero. We expected a dozen or so pieces and a quick issue.
    We ended up with a two-volume set, with a surprise late-hours entry from prominent horror author Jonathan Maberry to cap off our delight, and a table of contents to rival any work on the market.
    The lesson of Pandora's box is not unknown to me, but that has certainly driven it home.
    Do not calle up that which you cannot put downe.




    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  2. #2
    So would you consider yourself an Indie publisher, or a Small-press?

  3. #3
    I'd say small-press if pressed to do so. Indie is virtually synonymous but not exactly so, and has more the connotation of an individual rather than a collective, by my way of thinking. I am also an indie with two books to my credit, but Planet X has a team of four people, two of which are actually paid for their services. Us others refer to ourselves as 'investors' and flog ourselves to greater and greater heights of lunacy.




    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  4. #4
    Just think: Before Amazon you prolly could not have built your business model without a bag of cash.
    In a way I liken the ability to self-publish with the 2nd invention of the printing press.
    It was a radical change that allows more people access to the trough.

  5. #5
    Mimeozines, broether. Mimeozines! Stapled-together fanzines fulla fannish fiction with fannish facts and filk. I've published and been published in a great many such. Crowdfunding provided the bags of cash. We used crowdfunds for presales and created a handy mailing list.
    It's like selling band cassettes from the trunk or from the back of the van.




    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  6. #6
    I've just turned in the mss for 32 White Horses on a Vermilion Hill, a two-volume charity anthology with sixty different writers participating, with such luminaries as Philip Fracassi (Silicon Valley), Jeffrey Thomas (Punktown), and Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero) contributing work, helping to raise money for a fellow writer (Christopher Ropes) who needs extensive dental work.
    Because of the time element, I had two weeks to copyedit and proof the two books, at @80K each. This is not possible, as you will know if you ever try it. No time to develop any storylines or anything fancy like that. Barely time enough to read them all. But I did it, and everything looks good to go. Took a little over a hundred hours in two weeks' time.
    We're a two-man operation this time. Mike, the publisher, is doing layouts and serving as art director, while I accept mss for the next book, and then I get into the promotional round, up to and including running a crowdfund for the client, while Mike makes the books.
    The art this time is by Nick Gucker, who did the splendid cover for the first Test Patterns, and had a strip in MAD magazine in November, and by Mutartis Boswell, an Englishman with a winning way with inks.
    We expect both ebooks and print copies will be available for stocking-stuffers.
    In the meantime, we have firmed up our schedule for 2019 and the beginning of 2020, and are moving into publishing novellas, collections, and eventually full novels in addition to the thrice-yearly anthologies.
    2019 will see books of ghost stories, strange stories of the sea, and weird wild westerns, and 2020 will see a book of stories based on the titles of Black Sabbath songs. We have titles to announce once the contracts are signed.




    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  7. #7
    2 weeks for 2 80k books is a ton 'o work. I guess if you were at it full time then mebbe, but since you write regular sports columns too, I'd agree that it was a bit ambitious.

    Did you start the pre-sale yet on that book?

  8. #8
    No. Mike has just gotten the ebook proofs done. I imagine by next week sometime we'll have presales happening, depending on when we get the finished art.




    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  9. #9
    Always, always pre-sale for at least 60 days...90 is better.
    The more books you pre-sell, the better you look to the algorithm on release day.
    The better you look to Amazon's algorithm, the higher your book gets floated.
    Higher float = higher visibility = better sales

    Amazon's algorithm is designed to sell.
    So it gives preferential treatment to books/products that sell or show a lot of activity.
    The closer the activity/sales are to release day, the better you look to the algorithm.

    So if you're like BAM coming out the gate with 20 books already sold, and reviews on day 2, the algorithm will like your book even more...because it is a seller.

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