Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Attrition in the Short Story Market and Publicity

Last week on K. C. Shaw's blog, The Knotted Thicket, she made this blog post. Jim Baen's Universe is closing. I assume because it's not making enough money to stay in business. This happens routinely. The probability that my company Scribblers and Ink Spillers, LLC will turn a profit is slim and nill. The success rate for a new publishing company is abysmal. There is a saying "If you want to make a little money in publishing, start with a lot of money." It's a losing proposition.

I knew that when I started Scribblers and Ink Spillers. But, I have seen so many great short stories over the past few years and I wanted to give them a paying market for their work, especially since it is drying up. I've figured out how much I can afford to spend each month out of my pocket in order to do that.

I have ideas for genre-specific journals and novellas that I want to launch. But, in order to do that I need money coming in. Someone suggested advertising to bring in revenue. But, what person in their right mind would purchase advertising in a journal that has no track record or a small volume of sales? What I need is more sales.

Which brings me to the second blog post relevant to this subject: Nathan Bransford - Literary agent posted this about the reality of an author needing to help with the publicity for their own work. Well, it's just as important, maybe even more so, for a just starting out writer trying to get writing credits to do a bit of publicity for the magazine or journal their work appeared in, as it is for a big time author to get out and do book signings. Because, the small publishers such as myself have very tight budgets. And many authors/writers do blog, they tweet, they facebook, they get their friends to buy the publication. (*tongue in cheek* I think maybe I'll add a paragraph to the contract that the author must get X number of friends to buy the publication ... Just kidding)

The thing is whether it is fledgling micro-publisher like myself or a big publishing house, not doing what an author can to promote the book, magazine, journal, publication, doesn't make sense. Big publishing house gives an author a six-figure advance, author does nothing to help promote the book, Big Publisher loses money = less money for advances. The more books, magazines, journals, publications a publisher sells the more money they take in and have to PAY AUTHORS.

And if one is thinking, "Well I got paid. What do I care if they don't more money for future payments?" If that is the last thing you ever have published by that publisher, then that selfish attitude won't hurt you. But, if you want to go back and feed at that trough again, then perhaps doing something to help keep it filled would be a good idea.

The last thing is: Isn't the point of becoming published for people to read what the author/writer wrote? So, how can you as an author/writer help make that happen?

Many thanks to the contributors to Emerald Tales who have blogged, facebooked, tweeted, and/or got their friends to buy the journal. Yes, I know who most of you are. ;)

1 comment:

  1. One small thing I like to do as an author is keep my website current, with links to stories I have available online and links to magazines that people can order if they like my online stuff. Too many writers seem to think that having a website is expensive. It's really not. The small investment in time/money/energy has a great big payoff--not just for the author, but for all the markets who liked the author enough to publish his or her work in the first place.