Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Book Biz

Though I have been a writer for most of my life, and have published a number of poems and essays, Balance is my first experience with book publication. It has surprised me how many things I needed to learn and am learning as I go along, such as practical information about layouts, fonts, book distribution and promotion, getting a book reviewed, and keeping records of who has bought it and how much those people have paid.
One thing I have found, to my frustration, is that independently published small-press books do not fit into the neat little categories of retail stores or even libraries. They may like the book, and most of the places where I have taken my book, they have admired the concept and the execution, but because it does not quite fit into the system they have set up, in which the store can send back books that do not sell or get a much lower price per unit than I am able to give them, they are reluctant to carry the book.
How many wonderful books are not receiving the exposure they might otherwise get because of this problem? What if there were brick and mortar stores that carried mostly or exclusively small press books of that kind, or ones that had a room or section devoted to them? But I suppose that brick and mortar bookstores are a dying breed anyhow, never mind ones that focus on obscure works like mine!

1 comment:

marly youmans said...

There are some, but one has to look a long time--and yes, you need alternative venues often.

But everything in the realm of publishing and marketing for books is changing quite fast...

Although I think there will always be a desire for paper poetry books.