Don’t get me wrong – – The publisher of Sam’s Place: Stories, Mike Aloisi of AM Ink Publishing, has treated me great. His people have designed great covers, set up professional layouts, paid promptly, and before Sam’s Place: Stories launched, he called me to talk over strategy for marketing, to answer any questions I might have, and to generally get to know one another. And he provided an audio version of the book! All this with the realization that literary fiction (he claims me as such) doesn’t sell as well as some of the other niche markets he’s involved in.
So why look for greener pastures?
It’s really a question of anticipating expected interest in certain books I might write. Take, for instance, the next book published in my name, We Are Strong, But We Are Fragile. This book came about because I was so tired of seeing our two political parties call one another names and, in the end, accomplish little in the citizens’ name. So what would happen if this situation were carried to an extreme? The result was We Are Strong, But We Are Fragile. But what to do with this odd piece of fiction. It’s dystopian, to be sure. But how could I pigeonhole it in order to pitch it to an indie or traditional publisher? I scratched my head on that and came up with nothing.
Meanwhile I had set up my own publishing company, Gridley Fires Books, as an LLC concern for just this eventuality, and I decided to publish We Are Strong, But We Are Fragile through Gridley Fires. What did this entail, cost-wise? Cover design, of course, set up fees to publish through Lightning Source, and initial publicity though Kirkus Reviews. Incidentally, Kirkus gave me a very good review of this book, even featured it. All right, why have Gridley Fires bear the cost of publication, since an indie publisher, for instance would likely bear all those costs? Because I didn’t have to share sales with a publisher. Thus I could discount the book to bookstores and make a significant profit. If the book had been published by someone else and that publisher had taken their cut, discounting it to bookstores would usually leave me with a break even proposition or, if I was lucky, less than a dollar per copy sold. Simply a question of mathematics dressed in dollars. As it turns out I’ve done better monetarily with We Are Strong, But We Are Fragile even though I’ve sold less units than Sam’s Place: Stories has so far sold.
So this is hybrid publishing: so-called self-publishing (in my case through a legal entity, Gridley Fires Books), which in my case affords me an advantage tax-wise, and through indie publishers. BTW, my outside publishing isn’t limited to AM Ink Publishing; I have my first hardback book out with a small military-related publisher, Omonomany. I hope to have something to relate on that subject soon.
But on to my next publishing adventure with AM Ink (I’ll probably post on this next week).
Visit my website here, where you’ll find more information and a book trailer for WE ARE STRONG, BUT WE ARE FRAGILE. There’s also a Facebook fan page if you can find it. On both you’ll find more on ideas and events that matter to me — and possibly to you.