Monday, November 25, 2013

A friend, a publisher and a really bad day - a vent

I have been lucky over the last year to meet a lot of authors - and even luckier to be able to call a few of them my friends.  

Watching their struggles has been a hard thing to do.

Saturday morning I received an email from one of these friends, him opening up to me about yet another such struggle that he's having to deal with.

The night before (9pm on a Friday), he received an email from his publisher informing him that they were severing their relationship with him because his book wasn't selling as much as they wanted it to.  They asked him to be patient with him, letting him know that it would take 10-15 days for them to remove his book from the websites that they posted them on.  After this action was completed, he would be free to find himself another publisher. 

Then on Saturday (before 9am since that's when I received the email from him), he received a message on Facebook from a potential customer informing him that his book was no longer available on Amazon.

Not only did he lose that sale, but he potentially lost several others because he had a website who was advertising him at the time.  Plus he was going to be on the second author on my Between the Bindings (he still will be, but not for a few weeks so that he has time to get everything rolling again with his book).

On one hand, he's frustrated and angry because of this and on the other hand, happy to finally be rid of these people that have not been doing a very good job in the first place with him (didn't properly plan his blog tour, gave poorly edited copies of his book to book reviewers which resulted in not so favorable reviews, unprofessional behavior on the part of the publisher, not promoting the book, etc).

The conversation continued on for part of the day and I was shocked with the things he was telling me about these people, the behavior of the publisher (i.e. complaining about her personal life in mass emails to everyone, blaming her problems on the authors because they ask for too much, etc), but the thing that REALLY got me was the list of things that she sent out to the authors, informing them of what the publishing company is willing to do for them so that authors would stop asking for things.

I decided to share it here:
1) Helps you create a presence on the internet.
2) Helps you maintain that presence on the internet.
3) Makes posts on occasion to promote the author's work.
4) Sets up occasional virtual blog tours for promotional purposes.
5) When funds are present, will occasionally choose a book to present on NetGallery.
6) Solicit reviews from bloggers and provide e-galleys for these reviews.
7) Puts your book on Librarything for giveaways.
8) Lists the book on Goodreads when available.
9) Does cover reveals at author's request.
10) Formats book for print and e-book.
11) Creates cover art.
12) Puts your book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes and Createspace.
13) We have and will try to get your book into Barnes & Noble, but just because we try does not mean it will happen.  (Trust me when I say, it's not easy and so far we've been completely unsuccessful in our efforts.  Unfortunately, an Indie published author whether with a publisher of independent status or not, rarely gets their book in B&N stores unless you have a bushel of four leaf clovers and horseshoes hanging from your ears!)

[Notice that #12 says one thing, then #13 takes what it says in #12 and goes back on it.  Do you see that too?  "Occasional" and "when funds are present" are two things I found very interesting.]

Everything that they were willing to do, an author can do themselves.  (And in my friend's case, he did do most of it himself.)  

Is this really what Indie publishing companies are like?  Or is this one just a bad cookie out of the batch?

[I posted this, then took it down.  I have edited it more times than I care to admit.  Even deleted the whole thing twice.  I have not done it justice.  It just really miffs me.]


Andrew Leon said...

Even large publishers don't do much more for authors, these days, other than put their name on the book and keeping most of the money. If I'm going to have to do the work anyway, I'm not going to pay someone else to let me do that.

Diego Martin said...

Glad you did post it, even if you deleted, edited, deleted again and now kept it up!! Glad you are expressing your voice, even if it is to share that you are miffed how did this played out for your friend.

Meghan H said...

I know the owner of Rooster Republic Press. He gets really into the books that he's publishing - you'd think they were his own. So not all publishers are the same, but it's sad that there are a lot that are.

Meghan H said...

Last I heard, he's talking to another publisher and is working on getting his books back up on Amazon. I wish him all the best because I really did enjoy his book and can't wait for book #2. He also has a blog that he works really hard on. (I'll be doing an interview on him soon - he's a really interesting guy.) I'll keep you updated :)