My discussion of print-on-demand publishing in yesterday’s blog elicited some wonderful comments. It turns out quite a few of us on Blog Book Tours have gone the POD route, and most seem to be pleased that they did. I especially liked Marvin D Wilson’s comment (http://inspiritandtruths.blogspot.com). He said his first book, which was POD, has generated more income for him than two subsequent novels that were published by traditional small presses.
Print-on-Demand publishing still carries a definite stigma. I’ve had traditionally published writers say in shock that I’m actually a good writer – so why on earth did I go with POD? It’s true that many POD books are horrible. Some publishers will print virtually anything. A local bookstore owner has started up a POD press, and she characterizes the new business as a “printer” rather than a “publisher,” because they don’t vet or edit the work they print. She candidly acknowledges that much of it is crap. However, she expects her bookstore to be out of business within 10 years, so she’s looking to the printing business for her future livelihood. My own publisher, Virtual Bookworm (www.virtualbookworm.com) claims to accept only projects that meet their standards, but I’m not sure of the percentage of submissions they actually publish.
I know some authors who’ve self-published quirky novels that would probably never have been picked up by a traditional publisher. Sometimes they’re offbeat by professional standards; nonetheless they’re often more intriguing than more traditional mysteries published by small presses. And I know other authors who’ve gone with small presses of dubious reputation, who let them down by not delivering books as promised or – as is currently happening with several friends – declining to pay royalties or return phone calls.
With the big conferences and organizations, there’s still a big divide. For example, I attended Malice Domestic after my first book, Mood Swing, came out. I was invited to be on a panel and was featured at the first-time authors’ breakfast. But by the time Eldercide came out, they’d changed their policy and decreed I could no longer be considered an “author” or be on a panel. I could, however, attend as a “fan.” I declined, and they graciously refunded my registration fee. Perhaps I’ll be back when they decide to enter the new milennium.
I could continue this rant, but perhaps this is enough for one day. If you’ve read this far, congratulations, and I look forward to your comments.