Monday, March 07, 2005

Print-on-Demand: Tell Us What You Know

Somebody--we'll call him Umberto--recently inquired as to the pros & cons of print-on-demand publishing. Fact is, I don't know jack about P.O.D., so I thought I'd turn this question over to all y'all. Anybody have an experience w/ P.O.D.--cautionary or otherwise--that they'd care to share? And we'd of course welcome any terrific success stories you've heard--about somebody like Umberto publishing in this regard, after which the book winds up in the hands of an agent, leading eventually to a fat contract....

It's important to note that Umberto is, shall we say, under-capitalized; he has no financial resources to promote his P.O.D. book... Here's his letter:

Dear Max,

I'm an unagented wannabe writer that has struggled to get published. I have a publisher who likes my latest work and they want to have a go at it. I'm tickled--but there's a catch. They are a Print on Demand publisher. No advance. Not much in the way of promotion. Ball's in my court on that end really...

Well, I signed their one year contract and am now a couple of months from my novel's release date. And I'm nervous.

There are no funds to promote my book beyond a meager website, a blog of nonsense, and frequent postings to genre related online sources...

So Max, tell me...was this a mistake on my part? or was it the best choice available (to be published or not to be published?)... Have I hurt my chances with big time publishing houses by going the POD route first? I'd appreciate any thoughts you and/or your readers might have on the subject.

--Umberto

51 comments:

GGJ said...

Umberto:

Depends on your goals. If you want to make the novel available to the select few--friends, family, whatever--then congratulations!

If you dream of a career as a novelist, however ... I think you made a (minor) mistake. Not because the 'big publishers' will now hate you (if you write a book they love, they probably won't a) know or b) care about your Adventures with the POD people), but because it's a distraction for you.

Obviously, there's no one way to get published, no one route writers take. But a common route is: write a novel. Get rejected. Write another. Get rejected. Realize that the first two novels sucked, and write another. Get rejected again, because number three sucks, too. Repeat until published or dead.

POD short-circuits this process. I'd bet (secure in my total ignorance, of course) that if what you're after is a career (such as they are, in this business) you'd be better served focusing on writing another novel than on PODing this one. On the other hand, there's nothing about PODing that precludes writing another and another and another. Long as you keep the writing up and the expectations down, I don't know it matters if your early work, which one day fawning academics will consider your juvenilia, was PODed.

Oh, and the above is totally uninformed opinion. Unlike Max, I'm happy talking about subects I know nothing about.

bookdwarf said...

I hate to say you made a mistake either. The problem I forsee for you is getting your book into stores. I am not sure how other stores run, but I know several that just plain don't carry print on demand unless it is a special order and prepaid. PODs are non-returnable (here we go back again to the return topic) and often look cheaply done.

Kirby Gann said...

As an editor at a small independent (nonprofit) press that has used POD technology from time to time, and as a novelist who struggled for a very long time to publish my first book, I'd have to say that Umberto hasn't lost anything by going with this publisher. But the ball is certainly in his court now.

POD is capable of providing a quality book. At our press we use it for small-run reprints; the cover does not print as precisely as in the original run (the lpi isn't the same), and there are color-matching issues; the paper isn't as heavy as our original run books, either. However, these "problems" are apparent only to the ten people in this country who care about such things. So the book should look like a well-made book.

The biggest question, as I believe someone else raised, is distribution. Does your publisher have a national distributor? If not, then selling the book is going to fall on the author; I suggest looking into whatever regional book festivals you can go to, and contact regional bookstores on your own behalf, and see what happens. Festivals tend to be very open to all authors.

Finally, though, I agree with ggi -- the most important step now is to get to work on another novel.

Nan Cohen said...

This is a publisher that uses POD technology, right?--as opposed to you self-publishing using POD? The suspicion of POD comes from its use as a low-cost method of self-publishing, but I think we're going to see that stigma diminish as more small presses follow the lead of
WordTech and other legitimate presses that use POD.

WordTech is a poetry press--check out their FAQ for a discussion of why they use POD. My first book, Rope Bridge, is coming out with one of their imprints this month. It wasn't a hard decision for me, as a poet, to sign their contract: most first books of poetry aren't sold to people idly browsing in a bookstore (they're special-ordered, bought online, or picked up at a reading). So I'm not that worried about the non-returnable issue (though I have seen other Cherry Grove/WordTech books on the shelf at the local Barnes and Noble). I checked out their books (which look perfectly nice) and also talked to others who'd published with them and were very happy the books were out instead of still being sent to first-book contests at $20 a pop. WordTech books are distributed through Ingram, so any bookstore can special-order one, and they can be bought from Web retailers, too.

As a fiction writer, you're facing a slightly different situation (some first books of fiction do make a giant splash, while first books of poetry are more or less expected to emerge modestly), but I wonder whether you will find, as I have so far, that having a book coming out, and then having a book out, are better positions than having a completed manuscript that may or may not get published. If you're going to do this, figure out how to do the best you can by the book with the limited resources you have, and get on to your next project.

Of course, I am just at the beginning of this path, and my ignorance is only very slightly less than anyone else's. Check back with me next year this time.

Anonymous said...

POD has gotten a bad rap because of the self-publishing portals -- IUniverse, XLibris, AuthorHouse, to name a few -- which rushed in to exploit the technology. There's a reason that so many of these books couldn't find a home through traditional means: they're awful. There is something to be said for an editorial presence (though I suppose one might argue that there's a lot of awful books published which are edited).

POD has not gained wide acceptance with mortar and bricks bookstores. That's because you've had to back order them as part of an Ingram order and bookstores don't seem to want to do that. Why Ingram hasn't just shown them as in stock is beyond me but from what I hear this may be changing. The model works best, nearly seamlessly, with online booksellers.

POD strikes me as the saviour of literature. Why? Because it's a way of keeping books always in print and always available. Presses, faced with deciding whether or not to reprint another 3500 copies of a book will let it go out of print because the likelihood of selling them within the year may be small. Eventually maybe they can move the run but meanwhile it takes up wharehouse space and there's tax liablity. Not so with POD. I wonder why every publisher isn't moving their backlist to POD. Set up costs are minimal.

Should Umberto go POD? If this is self-publication, I'd say no. If this is a small press which uses POD -- like Word Tech or Hollyridge Press -- than I say, maybe. Can he put a presence behind the book? That is, a presence in terms of promotion and marketing? Given the obstacles with bookstores, it's a difficult road. He won't be able to look back at the end and point to sufficient sales to warrant a larger press taking on his next book. In some ways, he'll be in worse shape than the "one and dones" we've been hearing about.

Anonymous said...

POD has gotten a bad rap because of the self-publishing portals -- IUniverse, XLibris, AuthorHouse, to name a few -- which rushed in to exploit the technology. There's a reason that so many of these books couldn't find a home through traditional means: they're awful. There is something to be said for an editorial presence (though I suppose one might argue that there's a lot of awful books published which are edited).

POD has not gained wide acceptance with mortar and bricks bookstores. That's because you've had to back order them as part of an Ingram order and bookstores don't seem to want to do that. Why Ingram hasn't just shown them as in stock is beyond me but from what I hear this may be changing. The model works best, nearly seamlessly, with online booksellers.

POD strikes me as the saviour of literature. Why? Because it's a way of keeping books always in print and always available. Presses, faced with deciding whether or not to reprint another 3500 copies of a book will let it go out of print because the likelihood of selling them within the year may be small. Eventually maybe they can move the run but meanwhile it takes up wharehouse space and there's tax liablity. Not so with POD. I wonder why every publisher isn't moving their backlist to POD. Set up costs are minimal.

Should Umberto go POD? If this is self-publication, I'd say no. If this is a small press which uses POD -- like Word Tech or Hollyridge Press -- than I say, maybe. Can he put a presence behind the book? That is, a presence in terms of promotion and marketing? Given the obstacles with bookstores, it's a difficult road. He won't be able to look back at the end and point to sufficient sales to warrant a larger press taking on his next book. In some ways, he'll be in worse shape than the "one and dones" we've been hearing about.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know if Umberto tried getting an agent and submitting his manuscript to "traditional" publishers before going the POD route. He may well be a very nice guy, indeed one of those exceedingly rare authors who've been passed over by the pros but who then go on to break out on their own, finding recognition for the high quality of their work.

But with one exception, the POD/vanity press books I've tried to read have been sloppy efforts--early drafts, in every sense. I get a lot of them in the totebags distributed at conferences in my genre, and have listened to their authors bemoaning, on panels at those same gatherings, the fact that they can't get their books reviewed by mainstream critics, or carried in most bookstores.

Frankly, it pisses me off. I mean, fuck it--I could have decided the first or second draft of my novel was goddamn unadulterated genius, not to be sullied by input or revision, too. I could have blown off all the writing groups, conferences, college and post-college fiction workshops I've struggled through while trying to figure out what the hell I was doing, not to mention the year-plus I spent on revisions once I DID find an agent.

I could, instead, have decided "these New York pointy-heads just don't recognize my God-given talent, my RIGHT to have my book rushed into print, so I'm going to bypass them all and THEN THEY'LL SEE..."

Every person I know who's been published "traditionallly" has worked his or her ass off, usually for years, to get there. It's excruciating, it's exhausting, and it's fucking HARD.

The ones I know personally (with that single exception mentioned above) who've opted for POD weren't willing to do the work, and now they have chips on their respective shoulders about not getting the recognition they think they're entitled to from "narrow-minded" booksellers and reviewers.

Oh, it's the no-returns policy, they say... it's the pro-New-York bias... it's a refusal to think outside the box... And I struggle to keep from snapping back "no, it's that your book SUCKS, and that you're a fucking lazy-ass whiny self-important windbag with delusions of literary grandeur, so shut the hell up."

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know if Umberto tried getting an agent and submitting his manuscript to "traditional" publishers before going the POD route. He may well be a very nice guy, indeed one of those exceedingly rare authors who've been passed over by the pros but who then go on to break out on their own, finding recognition for the high quality of their work.

But with one exception, the POD/vanity press books I've tried to read have been sloppy efforts--early drafts, in every sense. I get a lot of them in the totebags distributed at conferences in my genre, and have listened to their authors bemoaning, on panels at those same gatherings, the fact that they can't get their books reviewed by mainstream critics, or carried in most bookstores.

Frankly, it pisses me off. I mean, fuck it--I could have decided the first or second draft of my novel was goddamn unadulterated genius, not to be sullied by input or revision, too. I could have blown off all the writing groups, conferences, college and post-college fiction workshops I've struggled through while trying to figure out what the hell I was doing, not to mention the year-plus I spent on revisions once I DID find an agent.

I could, instead, have decided "these New York pointy-heads just don't recognize my God-given talent, my RIGHT to have my book rushed into print, so I'm going to bypass them all and THEN THEY'LL SEE..."

Every person I know who's been published "traditionallly" has worked his or her ass off, usually for years, to get there. It's excruciating, it's exhausting, and it's fucking HARD.

The ones I know personally (with that single exception mentioned above) who've opted for POD weren't willing to do the work, and now they have chips on their respective shoulders about not getting the recognition they think they're entitled to from "narrow-minded" booksellers and reviewers.

Oh, it's the no-returns policy, they say... it's the pro-New-York bias... it's a refusal to think outside the box... And I struggle to keep from snapping back "no, it's that your book SUCKS, and that you're a fucking lazy-ass whiny self-important windbag with delusions of literary grandeur, so shut the hell up."

Umberto may well be different, and it's encouraging that he's asking about the merits of his decision, here, but sadly his efforts will be tainted by association with those who see POD as a legitimate subtitute for working harder to learn their craft, and as a shortcut to glory.

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

PoD isn't a good way to go for most new writers. Where it can really make a difference is for those established writers who have loyal fan bases but sales figures below what most publishers want to see. Short fiction collections come to mind, as most large houses won't even consider those. If significant sales are expected, then PoD is less viable because of the economics of scale.

Monkeybrain and Wildside have had some success, but those are PoD publishers exploiting very specific niches.

It's also a good idea to not sign an open-ended contract. Why wouldn't a writer want a book to stay in print "forever"? Because said writer could potentially be missing out on additional revenues if some other publisher becomes interested in issuing a reprint of that work. PoD is a tool, and like all tools, it has its place but isn't viable for all situations.

Anonymous said...

1. The only actual problem is that Umberto thinks he's being published. He's "tickled" but "nervous"; by saying "Not much in the way of promotion" and mentioning the "meager" web efforts it seems clear that he still thinks there might actually be some.

Umberto has arrived at a printing arrangement; he doesn't have a publisher. If he wants to see his book sold and promoted, he needs to get starting on doing it all, himself.

2. As to his question,"Have I hurt my chances with big time publishing houses by going the POD route first?," I'd say no. As long as Umberto never ever mentions it to some in the real publishing world, unless and until it becomes a success.

Jessica said...

Umberto: If you go ahead with the POD option, assuming you have a good book, you’re still going to have to do all that marketing stuff that a lot of writers hate to do. And marketing will cost you money and time. (Others have already mentioned the dangers of poor distribution methods.) So understand that, with meager funds, your book may end up back on your shelf and the shelves of your family, good friends, and in a bookstore or two, then ask yourself if that will satisfy your hunger to publish or if you will still ache for a larger audience.

But if you feel you have struggled enough (more on that in a minute) and you believe it’s time to get your work out of the damn drawer, then do it and put your three hearts into it. And when you do, hire an experienced copyeditor to get rid of typos. I’ve only read two POD books. Both were good (one was a memoir, the other a novel), but both were filled with typos.

Now about your struggle—Since you’ve described yourself as an “unagented, wannabe writer who has struggled” it got me thinking about what that really means. As I see it, the line between an unagented and agented writer, a published and unpublished writer, is thin; and, as I see it, a “writer who has struggled” includes all of us (except for my uncle who has a photographic memory and writes each of his ACADEMIC books in one draft, using two fingers and a typewriter). So it’s hard to know how to interpret your struggle. What kind of book are you trying to publish? Memoir? Novel? Non-fiction? Children’s fantasy? What has the response to your work been so far? Did you send your query to 20 agents, 200 agents? Have you been struggling for 1, 5, 10, 20 years? I ask this because you know the answers and I don’t. So, if, in answering these questions, you still feel you’ve had enough, then, as I said, put your three hearts into it. Get that book POD’d.

Are you making a mistake? I don’t think choosing to POD is an egregious, point-of- no-return career move. The writer I know who published her novel with iUniverse feels liberated by the experience. Previous to this, she had several good agents who, unfortunately, couldn’t sell her book Now, she’s giving readings and readers are responding. But that’s because she’s written a good book. She’s a PEN New England Discovery Award recipient (and Grace Paley wrote a blurb). Also, this writer has been working on her fiction for more than 10 years. Still, she says there’s a stigma attached to a POD book

So, how many POD books must one sell to attract a larger house and get past this stigma? 5000? 15,000? Max? Anyone? That’s something I’d like to know.

Ava said...

From the bookselling point of view, unless you are local to our area or have some local connection, it is unlikely we would carry your POD book. Certainly if someone asked for it, we'd be delighted to order it. And yes, it's because of all the reasons previously posted by others.

It is no longer easy to distinguish a vanity press from a small press; a POD press from a vanity press and so on - at least from where I sit. Imagine the volume of email we get daily from individual POD people, sales reps, marketing departments...all wanting our attention. The chances are very likely that an email from a POD author with no local connection and who can't capture my attention in the first line, will be deleted off the server with the SPAM.
Pretty much the same treatment for the conventional mail and most of the phone calls.

On the other hand, to support our community, we do carry a copy or two of the books written by local "authors" and book them for a signing if they've inquired about one. We often ask them to bring their own books (which we let them sell) and we give them, frankly, a minimum of promotion. It's a service to our community.

Umberto, I'm sorry I haven't distinguished your POD publisher from the Vanity Presses or from some so-called small presses (hmmm. the publisher has the same name as the author...) in my rant. And it's all rather discouraging, isn't it? Keep writing, go the conventional route, work hard, work harder, suffer rejection and perhaps someday be "discovered." I recall a story that Iain Banks, AKA Iain M. Banks (who is a wonderfully popular Suspense and SF author in the UK) had 3 or 4 novels tucked away in a trunk before he finally was able to get one published. Is that encouraging? I hope so.

And know that there are booksellers (small "B") who enjoy reading and promoting the first novels of such hard-working and long-suffering authors.

Richard Hoy said...

My wife (who co-author "How to Publish and Promote Online" with MJ Rose) and I own a POD publishing company and I did an interview for SmallPress Blog on the pros and cons of using a company like us.

Our company has a good reputation, and we strive to offer a low-cost service to help self-published authors print, distribute and sell their books. (Most of our revenue is from direct to the public book sales.)

But many POD publishing firms prey on an author's desire to be published, milking them slowly for lots of fees - which is ultimately their business model.

What is concerning to me in Umberto's case is that he "signed their one year contract". There is no good reason a POD publishing company should require such contract terms. Umberto should look closely at the contract and make sure it is not a rights grab. He may have given up more than he realizes.

Anonymous said...

I found three typos/grammatical errors in Richard Hoy's post. The problems with POD are self-evident.

Anonymous said...

Some one needs a Valium.

richard hoy said...

My poor typing and a sophomoric rebuttal from an anonymous poster aside, the fact is traditional publishers are more risk-adverse today than ever. And unproven authors are incredibly risky propositions.

What the POD model offers, when not used to milk would-be authors of every last cent in their pockets, is a way to inexpensively put a book into the market and see if it has legs. This is something traditional publishers simply cannot do as cost-effectively as a POD publisher can do.

If the book has a market, the traditional publisher can then come in and buy rights. I have seen this happen too frequently to be just dumb luck. In fact, the book my wife and MJ Rose wrote followed this exact pattern - it started as an ebook published by us before it was sold to St. Martin's Press.

Granted, not every POD book is very good nor will many sell more than a few copies, but the model provides an incredibly cheap way to find new talent, and to define the market for that talent in the process. Traditional presses just need to be savvy enough to use it that way.

It is my opinion that this is what the book publishing business model will evolve into in the next decade.

And while POD books may lack the polish of a New York editor and may need overhaul before reaching the "traditional sales channels", they have one thing every unsolicited manuscript doesn't have - a sales history

Jessica said...

Richard: Thanks for posting here. I appreciated the info on your site. Could you comment on sales numbers? Without revealing names, what have your best sales been and for what kind of book? You made it clear that novels, in general, don’t do well. Thanks.

Ray Rhamey, Flogging the Quill said...

I self-published two novels with iUniverse back when they were first getting started (and it only cost $99 each; different story now).

Like Umberto, I had few $$ for promotion. I emailed and snailmailed all my friends. I created a website. I sent copies to area newspapers that I thought would be interested--you know, "local author...etc." Later I found the copy I'd sent to the Oregonian for sale in Powell's used bookstore.

No luck. Sold a few copies via Amazon.com, upon which I listed my books. You can still find them there. I put them on Barnes & Noble, too.

Bookstores would not take my books, so the only avenues were the Internet, and my books got lost in the vastness.

More than that, after a few years of growing I now know that those novels should have been much better. A vast rewrite of one has made it a much improved novel and capable of getting me an agent. I've recently rewritten the other novel and the agent is considering it.

At $99 each, the experience was good in many ways. It's a major thrill to hold your book in your had. Family members and friends loved reading them. I had fun directing the publisher on creating the covers.

Bottom line, though, as a novelist I wouldn't go the self-published route to try to establish a career. I think that, once the career gets going, I might self-publish my "lesser" efforts and sell them on my website, just for fun--after all, the reason I wrote the damn things was for other people to read them.

As for Umberto, has he run his novel through a good set of fresh eyes? Struggling is normal and necessary, and I've found that a good editor is equally necessary if you want to have a chance at getting an agent or publisher to open the door. (I know this sound like a plug, and it sorta is, but first novels need editing, no matter who does it.)

Ray
blog: Flogging the Quill
editing: www.editorrr.com

Richard Hoy said...

I answer that question this way in our literature:

"An average traditionally published title sells between 5,000 and 10,000 copies a year. But because of the efficiency gained from selling direct and using the "inventory-less" models of POD and ebooks, we can pay more back to the author. So selling 5000 copies traditionally at a 10% royalty is the financial equivalent of selling 725 ebooks at 70% royalty, or selling 1450 POD books at 35% royalty. Those numbers are definitely achievable through our service."Some novels have achieved this through our service. However, our best selling books in terms of most units sold are non-fiction. That is just the nature of the beast for reasons we all know well.

But I would point out that a novel with even a modest sales record can be far more attractive to a traditional publisher than an unproven manuscript from an unknown author, given the right circumstances.

Unlike a lot of companies in this space, we try hard to manage expectations. What we offer does not work for everyone; and even if it does work for you, it will require a lot of effort.

Publishing your book through POD is like starting a business. You have to enter into the process prepared to treat it that way - no matter if you have a fiction or a non-fiction book.

TLG said...

I had a friend who got his first book published that way. He said that more people are reading his second book, and he's getting actual comments instead of form rejections...but he's still running into the problem he had with the first book--it was a genre that no one really publishes (urban fantacy). I can't say whether it's a good thing or not. The world's a convoluted place :)

Anonymous said...

`hola...Umberto here. Thanks for the kind thoughts, concerns, advice, and all. Let me point out that the book will be distributed by Ingram, so will have national reach, but due to the "no return" policy my local Waldenbooks won't even carry the book (and I'm a former employee).
Tough row to hoe, but I'll make the push and see what dust I can stir up.
As to the question of whether I tried to nab an agent or not...i9n truth, no I did not. As a novice in this game of publishing, I had fear of the use of an agent, though Max has since educated me in the error of my ways.

M.J. said...

Umberto, good luck. And do try the agent. But there are some misconceptions here.

It's important to remember that Print on Demand or POD is not a type of publishing but rather a type of printing. It means printing one book at a time. Simon & Schuster, Random House and pretty much every publisher uses Print on Demand services to keep books "in print" that do not any longer warrant print runs of more than a hundred or so books a year. They do this to keep the rights to much of their back list which would otherwise revert back to the writer if the publisher didn't print a certain number of books a year.

POD is also used a lot by authors who get their rights back from their publishers and want to keep their books in print and available at online retailers.

Then there’s self publishing using POD. Or being published by a very very small house who only uses POD. For the most part, bricks and mortar stores will not stock POD books because they are not returnable. That’s a problem in that no one will stumble on your book but chances are these days unless you have a lot of co-op not many people are stumbling on your book anyway.

So who should go self pubbing/POD or tiny POD house route?

If you do a lot of speaking engagements where you can sell your book POD is a great way to go. Or if you have a newsletter or very very very active website or blog on the subject of the book. Or if the tiny house has a brilliant editor and exquisite taste and is going to hand sell you.

The good thing is if you do go any of those routes and if the book does sell and get buzz it can get picked up by a traditional publisher and even go on to be a bestseller. (Eragon anyone?)

As Richard Hoy mentioned above, his wife and I wrote a little book in 1999 about publishing and promoting online because we both were getting a lot of questions about how to do it and we were running out of time when it came to answering them all. We had no big plans for the book so we just put it out as an e-book/POD book through her company. The goal was: when someone wrote and asked advice we’d suggest they buy the book. But it sold well and the Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild heard the buzz made an offer on it and my agent (who’d been through this exact scenario before with my first novel) took it to auction and we sold it to SMP. They bought it because it had a track record and we’d proved it had legs.

In the last few years over 50 authors who self published through POD or small print runs have been picked up by traditional houses for the exact same reason:

If an author can prove on his or her own that there is an audience for a book, a publisher is interested.

The author is in effect test marketing the book and proving its salability.

But having been there and having done that, I only recommend self pubbing/POD if you are a professional speaker/or someone with a seriously big platform or if you want to be in the business of publishing or if you are a novelist and have rave rave rave rejections and suicide is the next step. Having done it and survived I still don’t tout the glories of self publishing fiction. IMHO it is the last choice any novelist should make. Getting an agent and being published by a traditional house is still the best route to go despite the bitching we do about what’s wrong with publishing these days.

On the other hand, self publishing will no longer lessen one's chances of getting published.

All that said, POD is a terrific technology and I think that once the POD vending machines come to town they will lead to some fascinating innovations in how books are sold, how new authors are tested, how returns can be reduced.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to clear up the misconception that POD books are not returnable. That's a choice made by the publisher. We use Lightning Source and run a very small literary fiction press. We're relatively new and working hard to build a reputable catalog, which we would not be able to do if using offset printing. When we do a book setup with Lightning Source, we are asked if we will take returns. We always say yes. Because LS is affiliated with Ingrams, we have distribution. Our books are nice to hold and read. We edit carefully and are a "regular" publisher in every sense because although the author can buy books from us at a discount to sell on his/her own, there is absolutely no requirement to do so. The author does not pay for setup, layout, or marketing. We send out presskits, arrange for readings, and work hard to get books in local bookstores, realizing that the book will be more successful if the author enthusiastically pushes the books' presence along with us. So far, the authors seem happy. We have no illusions about getting rich from the arrangements. But we're serving a niche market and publishing good authors who might not otherwise have a chance.

Anonymous said...

Today's Publisher's Lunch puts us on to a POD blog, POD-dy Mouth...
http://girlondemand.blogspot.com/

And quotes the blog owner's (a traditionally published author) impressions of POD as: "I am not a great advocate of POD. It's overpriced, slow and has a scent just this side of Roquefort. If you ask your Barnes and Noble sales rep if they have Slap Happy,
Arkansas, he'll look it up in the store database, then curl his lip and flare his nostrils as he grunts, 'That's a POD title. We don't carry those.'"

For more, see Lunch or link above.

Anonymous said...

As to my above post... I've just gone and read the entire (okay, she only just begun blogging days ago) POD-dy mouth backlist. Delightful, irreverent, and with an intriguing mandate (to find the buried POD treasure in a stinky heap o' POD poop). All I can say is, anyone who wants to wade through roquefort on my behalf is my hero. And Max, babe, you might want to make friends with that POD-dy mouthed babe -- she seems to have a knack for finding gems in the poop pile.

chryscat said...

Umberto:

How bad do you want it?
If your ambition stops at the final period of your book, you're screwed. If you're willing to get off your ass and self-promote, you have a chance.
And "Anonymous", the bitchy whining moaner of a comment-poster, get over yourself. The only one whining here is you. So you have an agent. Bully for you. If you honestly think you're the only author who has worked your ass off, you need to get out more. Try removing your head from your heiney first. Sunshine will do wonders for your snapses.
Umberto, if this is your dream, then follow it. DON'T make excuses. It will be only as good as the effort you put into it.
WRITING is hard work. This life is hard work. But it's worth it. Every damn second.
*******

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A VOCATION OF UNHAPPINESS [Courtesy Georges Simenon (1903-1985)]

"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."


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