So it’s like this...
Richard from Struggling Authors mentioned a publishing house that wanted to make contact with, err, struggling authors, (stop groaning). I checked their website out and although they didn’t mention horror in their list of desired material, they didn’t actually write that they don’t want horror either.
So I sent my synopsis and first three chapters off with a nice covering letter and a sack of aspirations that would smother a blue whale.
After a couple of days I went back to the website, (as I often do when I’m planning my all-conquering invasion of the literary world) and noticed that they’re a Print on Demand publisher.
“Oh” I said to myself whilst banging my head against the computer table. “Not good.”
I know I’ve explained Print on Demand before but for the untried it goes like this. A traditional publishing house takes on a book, prints lots of them and distributes them to bookshops. It has a large initial financial outlay but also has the advantage of being able to get the books on the shelves where the people can see them and buy them on the spot. This obviously helps with marketing and advertising. This is the tried and tested route of most publishing houses and if a writer is lucky enough to be picked up by this sort of operation, then good on him/her/it.
Print on Demand is, as the name implies a system whereby the author sends his work in which is then stored on a massive data base. If and when a customer wishes to purchase said book it is printed on the spot and whisked off in the post. The advantages of this are that there is no initial financial outlay, no wastage in materials and storage area and no worries about the size of the word count, (the bigger the word count, the thicker the book, the fewer books fit on shelves). The disadvantages of this are many though. Most POD authors do it off their own back and don’t always have access to good channels of distribution or marketing contacts. So one might have a good book but who is going to have access to buy it outside of the family and friends? Also, if a mistake is made in the original draft with spelling or grammar, or God forbid with formatting, then this only comes to the fore AFTER the book is printed.
If I were to write a small book as a gift for someone, it would be an ideal present, but to build an empire with it has its limitations.
So, as you can imagine, I was subtly disappointed at this and also at my haste to send it off without my usual rigorous tests and checks. Then I noticed this line:
“We are a traditional publishing venture who will undertake all the necessary editorial, design, production and marketing to see a title through to publication and beyond.”
Is this a POD publisher who takes it a step further? Traditional to me means, “Take book on, print book, sell in bookshop”, so how can a POD publisher be traditional? What exactly is their set up?
I don’t know, they still haven’t said yes or no to the full manuscript yet so I am jumping the gun a bit here.
Whatever, if they do want to run with a horror story, (and remember, they didn’t actually write that they don’t want horror stories) and they want more of me, then there’ll be some pretty searching questions going in, I can tell you.
Take it easy.