Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chapter 8: In which I elaborate the world of small press

I am a small press publisher, published under Six Gallery Press. It's a local imprint out of Pittsburgh that has been around about 10 years. Six Gallery does not have the resources of a larger company, and there will always be snags.

For instance: I sold out of books on the Elvenslaughter Tour. As an author, this is a flattering problem to have. That means people dug the readings enough to buy the book. Hell, in Columbus I didn't even read from the book, and still sold a few. Anyway, having no books creates a problem when touring: how do I pay for gas, food and tolls? So I sold some on receipt. Took the payment, made out a receipt and gave the name/address to my publisher so they could mail copies.

As of now, they still haven't gotten the books. I have been a personal contact with most of them, checking up on the progress. The fact they haven't gotten their copies is frustrating to me, too. Maybe even moreso for me. I have a deal with my publisher that I receive a certain amount of free copies of the book. After tour ended, I received some of the first edition, but not enough to mail to anybody. Again, small press. At that time, the publisher could only afford to send me 6-8 copies. These I took to Balticon and sold pretty quick, but still left these people who bought books on tour high and dry.

Come July, they still hadn't gotten them. So I wrote the publisher. It turns out our distributor made a gaff and simply forgot about these people's books. According to the publisher, they are just now being sent to the people who bought them in May. Obviously, this sucks, but a lot of it is out of my hands. I just try my best to make sure all my business transactions are done with honor. So I'm not focusing on any kind of sales until everybody gets the books they ordered. No consignment, no nothing.

My book is on its second edition. During tour, I saw some typos/inconsistencies that needed fixed. Now, plenty of major book releases have typos. I don't care. They should take pride in their work and get it perfect before publication. This is something I failed to do, copy editing it all by myself while under a deadline. I don't like selling people something with mistakes in it. I'm going to make the same offer I made on the Facebook page: Anyone who bought a first edition on tour and wants a copy of the second, I will send it to you free of charge. Just give me the contact info. I appreciate everyone who supports me and this book, and I want to show that appreciation.

That is, after I get copies of the book. There are people who bought it on receipt or wholesale during the Southern Bard Tour, and will not get copies soon because the 2nd edition is held up. I am still waiting on the cover to get resized. After this is done, I will personally contact those who bought books to make sure they get their 2nd editions. Like I said, even I won't be getting any copies until this newest edition goes through.

This is why people have agents. This is why people hire folks to handle sales and distribution. I try to be forward-thinking, so worrying about sales that happened four months ago is not my bag. This is small press, mistakes happen, things take time. Things also require my personal touch, since Six Gallery has such a small staff. To everybody who has bought a book on receipt: you have not been forgotten. I'm doing everything in my power to get your copy to you. And thank you for the support. You are the ones who make this worthwhile, with your energy and your feedback and your love of fiction. Thank you thank you thank you.

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