This post, from Winston Emerson, originally appeared on The Object on 7/22/12.
Recently, The Object interviewed author J. Eric Laing, who told us he had placed his novel Cicada with Night Publishing, owned by Tim Roux, but several months ago withdrew it from Night and self-published instead.
A disagreement between the author and publisher unveiled itself during the interview and subsequent commenting, which has led to Tim offering us an article entitled “The Publishing Market” that details his perspective on the subject, along with how his company operates in today’s publishing world.
The Publishing Market
by Tim Roux, Taylor Street Publishing
I have been a professional international marketer, brand manager and business strategist for 30 years but, like many a closet (or at least bookcase) bookworm, I always felt I had a book inside me.
Then, in 2004, after throwing away a few chapters of an effort that embarrassed even me twenty years earlier, I went for it and wrote ‘Blood & Marriage’ in 3 months, mostly 35,000 feet in the air.
It was, and is, a totally self-indulgent book that nobody should ever be asked to read, but it led to nine other books, some of which have been kindly reviewed, and I have had something like 20,000 sales / downloads of my books since, so I can declare with false modesty to anyone who will listen – and many who won’t – ‘Yeah, I have sold a few books’.
However, where I have really begun to sell books has been as a publisher. When I started out in January 2010, I simply knew that I wanted to get some books I loved into print. I knew how to publish books on the cheap into paperback – I had self-published my own – but I certainly didn’t know how to promote or sell them. Nevertheless, I was friendly with several authors and managed to persuade a few of them to let me publish them (as I still do).
I started with a target of publishing 5-6 books a month. Nine months later, our first book really took off – 3 sales in 6 months, then 11,000 the next day. The company got into its true sales rhythm about a year ago. It has certainly had its ups and downs since, and the original company was driven into the sidings during a particularly vicious divorce process, but the phoenix companies are up and fighting all over again, with a specific view of publishing which I would like to share here, whether it is useful to you or not, or even true or not.
I think the first thing, as authors, we have to decide is what we want from writing. Do we want to hold our own book in our hand; do we want people to read it; do we want to make money out of it?
If all you want is your own book, then you can self-publish your book in a day, and nothing can stop you. If you want people to read your book, you have Kindle Select and Smashwords to offer free downloads in their tens of thousands, if your book is attractive enough. If you want to make money, well, as Mark Twain said, “Any idiot can write a book, but it takes a genius to sell it.”
The book market is a market, and all markets have segments, eventually. As far as we are concerned, there are four topline segments for fiction – literary, genre, life and weird.