Some people might think I’m doing this because I’m bitter, jaded, and cynical over my manuscript not getting accepted. Now while I would love to deny that, I’m sure it has some merit to it. But there are logical, more clear minded answers I would like to go with.
Out of all the forms of entertainment publishing competes with–video games, movies, TV, music–it’s been the most resistant to change. They didn’t want e-books and now that e-books are here, they don’t want to adapt to things. That’s why e-books are over $9.99, why authors get a small percentage, why some e-books are more expensive than their p-book version. If you don’t learn to change and adapt, you’ll die. I believe Darwin called it survival of the fittest. I fail to see how the publishing industry doesn’t expect to change while their competition does.
The bottom line is that as a business, the publishing industry is the worse. It just makes no sense. They do so many things wrong aside from being slow to adapt. 1 out of 5 books make money and about a dozen authors account for at least half of the money they make. They don’t give marketing money to unknowns yet give it to authors people already know about. It’s the age of the Internet and they have huge, expensive offices in New York City. However, I think the biggest crime is that they let books go out of print when they could put them up as an e-book and make basically free money. I’m also not sure why some books in a series are available as an e-book but not all of them.
Now publishers aren’t the only ones with problems. The bookstores, which have the most power, are at fault too. Having once worked in a bookstore, I’ve found the biggest problem are returns. I can’t name of any other business where they can return the product they’re selling when nothing’s wrong with it. Because of that, bookstores over order books. I don’t blame them for that since they can return it but I always felt bad when I stripped a book and threw it away. The publishers don’t know how many books they sell and neither do the authors. Publishers have to sell two books for every one so they overprint the amount they actually sell. Books end up remaindered after that where no one makes any money. Bookstores also over expanded with their gigantic stores and putting the little guy out of business.
I’m sure I’m forgetting other reasons but these are the major ones I can think of. All these non-sensical flaws make for an extremely fragile business model. I’m still not even sure how money is made because most of the books don’t cover the advances and bookstores over order and their numbers aren’t accurate. If someone could tell me I’d be grateful.
My goal in starting up Longshot Publishing and producing my own books is to have a solid business model where I can point and say where things work or don’t work. I don’t want to play the guessing game and not understand why something doesn’t work or why my books didn’t sell. I’ll also have full control and get a bigger piece of the pie. If I fail, it’s on me. If I succeed, it’s one me. I know it’s a longshot to succeed where I want to be but I believe it’s worth my time and money to go after my dream with a more solid foundation.
It’s all or nothing; there is no in between. I just have to make sure I do it right.