Saturday, August 13, 2005

Print on Demand: one author's story

The nearly always fascinating and almost never dull Miss Snark pointed me over to Jamie Boud's novel-flogging blog The Known Universe as an example of guerilla marketing for the POD book Envy the Rain.

With the conventional publishing industry a closed loop, it's not surprising that writers are turning to unconventional means of getting their books in the hands of people who want to read them. Over and over I hear from agents who say "I wasn't sufficiently excited by your book to undertake the struggle of representing it in today's challenging fiction marketplace." Translation: "it's a bugger selling most fiction these days, so I'm not going to flog anything I don't love."

I can appreciate that. If it's going to take 6-8 months to place the damn thing, you don't want to admit to your agent and editor friends you're peddling a book about the mating habits of perverted monkeys. Not great cocktail party chatter.

The fact is, many agents won't even touch fiction, and the majority of titles most of them are promoting on their websites are non-fiction. That doesn't mean novels aren't getting published, but it's not a market for the faint-hearted. So writers either accept the verdict of the marketplace-- or they don't. This writer isn't prepared to throw in the towel just yet.

And yes, it has crossed my mind: if Miss Snark is hanging out here, why hasn't she asked to represent Beyond You & Me? Good question. Presumably she's not going to rush in where 756 of her colleagues have refused to tread.


Blogger Rufus said...

I don't know about the agents, but you might want to consider staging a reading of perhaps a chapter of your book. I've seen people do this in bars and clubs- they book an open-mic poetry and prose night and make the headlining reading themselves testing out their work. I doubt you would sell it that way. But, the feedback would be much different than it is on the net.

5:14 PM, August 27, 2005  
Blogger W. S. Cross said...

That's an interesting idea. Right now, I'm pretty much looking beyond the commercial presses to something more human and humane. I'm hoping to find a publisher who will react to the opportunity the web site/blog affords us to promote this book in advance of its appearance.

The feedback outside of the agent world is strong, with readers liking the character and wanting to get closer to her. The two men? Well, they're jerks in their own way, as men often are!

10:35 PM, August 29, 2005  

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