If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Are We There Yet?


Every parent I know who has taken a trip with children eventually loses patience the umpteenth time their kid asks, “Are we there yet?” Parents are different so they’ll have different approaches to answering the pesky kid, but eventually you are there. But those last few miles can be the worst. I suspect (but have not asked for fear of the answer) that when it comes to their books authors take the role of child and the publishers stuff their ears with wax to avoid hearing, “Are we there yet?”

My mystery Bad Policy has an official publication date of next Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Since I am a published non-fiction author (One Trick at a Time: How to start winning at bridge) I’ve been through the run-up to publication date. Everything is the same—except everything is different.

I’m reminded of the story about a ship’s captain who, on taking over the ship, discovered there were only two compasses on board. He couldn’t find a third to break a tie in case the two disagreed, so he threw one overboard to avoid being in a dangerous situation and receiving conflicting information.

I am living that captain’s fear. Moral of this story: I assumed based on one previous experience and instead experienced a different result. The fault is mine: had I asked, I would have been told what this publisher’s work flow was.

PROOF COPY

In both cases I received my “proof” copy as a pdf file months after I had turned in my “final” copy after working with the editor. Then from the ether the email arrives and I have only a few days to review the proofs. I drop everything and get it done. In both cases I found typos I couldn’t believe no one (including me) had not noticed before.

BLURBS

With the bridge book we did not get any advanced blurbs, but for Bad Policy I thought it would be a good idea. Asking people to say something positive about my book was not something I was particularly comfortable doing.

I considered authors I “knew” who might find a connection with the book and contacted three successful authors. One had helped my writing through a critique group; a second lived in the area where my protagonist grew up and I had a secondary character who (it turned out, I hadn’t planned it that way) was a younger version of her protagonist; the third had fans I thought might be interested in my writing. Two of three responded and gave me great blurbs. Since then I’ve tried to pay back that generosity and have provided a blurb for another author.

PHYSICAL BOOKS

With the bridge book I received my “free” books almost six weeks before the publication date and received my own initial order at the author discount nearly a month before the official date. With the novel, the books will be printed by the publication date, but unless I make a rush order, I won’t have any in hand. Since I’m thrifty and won’t pay for special shipping, I’ll pass the official publication date without any books in hand.

Which is the standard practice? I have no clue.

MARKETING/ADVERTISING

For the bridge book there were no press releases or flyers, but the publisher did purchase an advertisement in the monthly bridge magazine most US contract bridge players receive. I had to make up my own poster-board to advertise the book when I gave lectures at bridge tournaments.

With the mystery, the publisher has created a very attractive poster I can print and has written a press release. The publisher provides no advertising—that’s my bailiwick.

SALES VENUES

The bridge book is sold through a large US online retailer of bridge supplies, Amazon, Barnes &  Noble and the like and at the publisher’s website. E-books can be purchased only on the publisher’s website. The e-book versions were available at the same time as the print version. Most online retailers had the information by the official publication date, but for some it took a bit longer. I learned there is a long lead time.

Bad Policy became available at the publisher’s earlier this week. Online retailers are starting to include it and it will become available at each one depending on their scheduling. The e-book will be available sometime after the print version, perhaps as much as a month later. Unlike the bridge book with its limited online retailers, both versions of the mystery will be available almost anywhere books are sold.

The only physical booksellers for the bridge book are those folks who sell books at bridge tournaments. I suspect the mystery will only be available in bookstores at which I make an appearance.

ROYALTIES

Good thing I’m already retired, because royalty checks aren’t going to fatten my accounts. Of course I already knew the differences in royalty provisions since I signed both contracts. It is useful to sit with a calculator and determine the expected royalty for different books depending on how they are sold.

It is not surprising that I make the most on any book I personally sell. Not only do I get an author’s royalty, but I get the retailer’s mark-up. It makes sense since I am fulfilling both roles. The contracts structure the author’s discount & royalty rates differently, but in either case I make about $5-6 on a book I personally sell. (That’s gross – for example, if I am driving to a bookstore the cost of gas, etc. is on me.)

In neither case can I personally sell an e-book. Those generate royalties in the $1.65 - $2 range.

Otherwise, my print royalties depend on how large a discount the retailer receives on my books. The mystery will pay royalties at about twice the level of the bridge book.

And of course I get nothing from a used book sale.

LINKS FOR YOU

For the price of giving the publisher your email address, you can read the first four chapters of Bad Policy for free and earn a 35% discount when you buy the book (print or e-book).

If you’d like a signed copy from me, you can order from my website.

And if you are wondering if I’ll be in your area, I have a list of planned appearances.

~ Jim

13 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

I came from the Barking Rain website where I saw Bad Policy featured, your bio, and saw Kaye George's promotion for her music series. It looks like a good publisher, but I wonder about non-profit publishers--why do they not want a profit?

Only one more day to wait. After all these years, you can do it. But I'm sure it is agony. I hope you have a lot of fresh books at Malice. See you there.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

EB,

I wondered the same thing about why Sheri Gormley chose to make Barking Rain Press nonprofit.

She's our guest next week on Salad Bowl Saturdays and that was one of the questions I asked her.

So stay tuned.

~ Jim

Kaye George said...

What a great idea, interviewing your publisher on your blog! AND this is a very interesting comparison. It also gives me a head's up! Thanks.

Gloria Alden said...

Interesting blog, Jim. I understand how hard it is to wait for something. I'm a lot like those kids you mentioned. I look forward to getting your signed book at Malice.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Gloria,

It will be so much fun to meet people at malice who I have only "known" online.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Jim, thanks for all this good information. Congratulations on your launch. Please add me in the list of people waiting to meet you and get your signature at Malice! Paula

Warren Bull said...

Congratulations and good luck.

Kara Cerise said...

Thanks for the interesting comparison and good lesson, Jim.

I look forward to reading Bad Policy soon. Congratulations and best of luck with the launch!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Speaking of Malice Domestic. Just heard by email that I was accepted for one of the panels.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Great news! Congratulations!

E. B. Davis said...

Terrific, Jim. I'll look for you in the program under panels. I think Barb Goffman sets those up. Panels are fun--I like attending them. Very spontaneous.

Carla Damron said...

have a spectacular launch on the new book!

Beth Green said...

Congratulations on the new book launch and thanks for the interesting comparison between the two books' publishing process.

Beth