Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Information about publishers of GLBT fiction.

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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:54

carrietierney wrote:
Kimiko wrote:I'm only a reader, so no deep questions about publishing and such from me I'm afraid. I was just wondering if you have any news yet on the last two Mindancer/Emoria books?


The third Emoria book, Past Echoes, is with the editor. Sometimes real life can be more dramatic than fiction and the editor has had a rather dramatic time of it lately and hasn't been able to finish the edit as quickly as anticipated.

I do want to add that this editor only does our Emoria stories. Our other books are edited by me.

We are putting out a volume of shorter Emoria stories in the meantime--in fact the print proof for it was just generated today and we hope to have copies for sale at the XenaCon.

The thing about the Emoria books--the author has a love/hate relationship with them. They were written on the fly years ago, posted in dribs and drabs to the Internet. Future Dreams and Past Echoes has been published twice before with drastic edits for each edition. Present Paths has been published once before, again with drastic edits. The current editions have undergone more drastic edits . . . The fourth book Fall Time has never been published. When Mindancer re-read it, she laughed and said she forgot to give it a plot.

Mindancer feels that the stories are imperfect (I'm being polite--her term was much stronger, she's very hard on herself as a writer) and not worth the effort to salvage them to her complete satisfaction. She'd rather concentrate on newer stories. She feels they aren't her best writing, and they aren't. She does have a loyal readership and she agreed to let us publish definitive editions of the works because, for all their faults, they do hold a certain charm.

She continues to mine the Emoria world she created for current stories. She just sold a story based in that world to Sorcerous Signal.
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:54

HH wrote:
carrietierney wrote:We get 85,000-100,000 hits during the month an issue comes out and 25,000 to 35,000 hits on off months.

:yikes: Holy crap, that's a huge amount of traffic! For a labour of love, that's astonishingly successful. Kudos to you! :winner:

HH's advice to book authors: spend some time writing a really good short story and try like hell to get it published in Khimairal Ink. Then take out an ad for your book in the issue your short story is in. Imagine enticing 100,000 readers with that short story and hitting them with the message, "Oh, look, and this author's book is available for purchase, too. How conv-e-e-e-e-e-eenient!"

I've put the Toe to Toe anthology on our markets page. I could've sworn it was there; probably what happened is I got the deadline wrong, thought it had passed, and deleted the listing. But it's there again, with a tiny mention of the editor's desire for some spec fic stories. :yahoo:
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:54

HH wrote:
carrietierney wrote:Your question touches upon why you should never give a publisher rights that they're not going to use. For instance, if they're only going to publish a paperback book, don't let them take audio rights or even hard cover rights.

:smooch:
Thank you, Carrie. It's unbelievably nice to hear a publisher saying that!

So any author with Bedazzled can double-dip, right? A short story in Khimairal Ink can also be sold elsewhere to a print venue, and a print novel with one of the BI imprints can also be sold elsewhere as an e-book?
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:55

HH wrote:
carrietierney wrote:Our model is actually traditional small publisher. We have that one advantage over the traditional small publisher in that we're taking full advantage of the technological advances in printing. We use a POD printer. ....We also have the option to make print runs, for fulfillment for things like our listings in Genre Mall, for instance.

Yes, the term POD has morphed into both a business model as well as a printing technology, and "print on demand" sometimes merges with "publish on demand", adding a stigma where there should be none. What an author really needs to know is: are bookstores going to carry these books? Which means, in turn: are the books returnable, are the books available as existing copies, are the books going to be brought to their notice by the publisher's distributers and marketers, and will the bookstores be given the standard discount?

I think the question authors are really asking, "How many readers will I have?" Based on the hit numbers you've given us for K Ink, short story writers in your magazine will have a LOT of readers. Can you give us any ballpark figures for BI's published novels? If a new writer were to have a manuscript accepted for your Nuance imprint, how many copies could she expect to sell over the 3 year period of the contract, based on an average of past sales by BI's other authors?

Carrie, you've been incredibly kind and patient and forthcoming, and it's greatly appreciated.
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:55

carrietierney wrote:
:yikes: Holy crap, that's a huge amount of traffic! For a labour of love, that's astonishingly successful. Kudos to you! :winner:


We've been shocked and delighted at how well Khimairal Ink has been received. We developed Khimairal Ink to give readers a zine of high quality lesbian literature and the traffic seems to indicate we're doing something right.

HH's advice to book authors: spend some time writing a really good short story and try like hell to get it published in Khimairal Ink. Then take out an ad for your book in the issue your short story is in. Imagine enticing 100,000 readers with that short story and hitting them with the message, "Oh, look, and this author's book is available for purchase, too. How conv-e-e-e-e-e-eenient!"


Even if you don't have a short story, you can buy an ad for your books.

I've put the Toe to Toe anthology on our markets page. I could've sworn it was there; probably what happened is I got the deadline wrong, thought it had passed, and deleted the listing. But it's there again, with a tiny mention of the editor's desire for some spec fic stories. :yahoo:


We extended the deadline to February 1st.
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:55

carrietierney wrote:
HH wrote:
carrietierney wrote:Your question touches upon why you should never give a publisher rights that they're not going to use. For instance, if they're only going to publish a paperback book, don't let them take audio rights or even hard cover rights.

:smooch:
Thank you, Carrie. It's unbelievably nice to hear a publisher saying that!


We have an author on staff. She won't let us do anything that isn't fair to the writer':roll:'. Here's a quote from Kelley Eskridge on our book contract: "It's very writer-friendly, always nice to see (grin)." We're proud of our writer-friendly approach.

So any author with Bedazzled can double-dip, right? A short story in Khimairal Ink can also be sold elsewhere to a print venue, and a print novel with one of the BI imprints can also be sold elsewhere as an e-book?


Yes. If we ever decide to do ebooks or audio books, etc. we would contract separately for those since they usually have a different royalty structure.
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:56

carrietierney wrote:
HH wrote:What an author really needs to know is: are bookstores going to carry these books? Which means, in turn: are the books returnable, are the books available as existing copies, are the books going to be brought to their notice by the publisher's distributers and marketers, and will the bookstores be given the standard discount?


This is the key. There are two factors that bookstores look at when stocking a book. The discount allowed and if the books are returnable. Ingram requires a discount of 55% for stocking in books, so our books are set for 55% and our books are returnable.

Can you give us any ballpark figures for BI's published novels? If a new writer were to have a manuscript accepted for your Nuance imprint, how many copies could she expect to sell over the 3 year period of the contract, based on an average of past sales by BI's other authors?


Let's start off with a reality check. According to the Authors Guild a successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies and a successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies. This is for all publishers big, medium, and small.

Most books, whether published by Harper Collins or Southern Illinois University Press or Sam's Dot Publishing, don't sell more than a few thousand copies. They may have a print run of 26,000 but size of print run often doesn't translate into sales.

I used to attend SFF Cons and they have panels of writers published with Tor, Baen, Del Rey, etc., talking about the writing business. They'd tried to give realistic, honest answers to questions and, I swear, every time someone would ask, "But what about Stephen King?" I'm sure nowadays they ask, "But what about J.K. Rowling?" And the answer was always the same: "They're the extreme exceptions." They're so extreme, they're almost superhuman mutants.

So small publishers do the best they can to select books they think they can market and sell and then pray a lot. It's always a gamble because we're betting on the unknown. There isn't any way to predict what readers are going to buy. If there was, we'd all be rich.

But in a special niche like lesbian fiction, there are some predictors that could indicate how a book will sell. If an author is extremely popular with a solid loyal following the book will sell well--that translates into several thousand copies. If the author is relatively unknown, the book won't be a big seller but hopefully will be a steady seller--hopefully several hundred. If the author is somewhere in between in popularity the sales will be what is average for a small publisher--between several hundred and several thousand copies.

The only thing we can promise is that we'll do everything we can to sell as many copies as possible.

Carrie, you've been incredibly kind and patient and forthcoming, and it's greatly appreciated.


This is fun. Beats working':cool:' Hope the boss isn't reading this.
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:56

HH wrote:
carrietierney wrote:Let's start off with a reality check. .

:lol: Yes, I know a lot of novice authors think they're going to get rich writing books. Many of them seem truly unaware that lesbian fiction novels don't sell in the same numbers that mainstream murder mysteries and epic fantasies do, and that they're never going to sell one millionth as much as JK Rowling. If these authors ever do get to the point of being published, reality hits them with a big bat. :blackeye:

The copy sales numbers I have seen vaguely waved around for lesbian fiction novels put out by small presses have ranged from low hundreds to high hundreds to low thousands to high thousands. And the numbers do seem to correspond to publisher, not author, so I do think that an author's choice of publisher is going to strongly impact her sales.

Emily Veinglory has been collecting data from erotica authors, keeping it anonymous, to try and track average sales of e-publishers (http://www.erecsite.com/PLIST.html). She's also found that an author's sales can be strongly predicted by publisher, much more so than genre or quality or track record. I'd hoped to do the same sort of thing with lesbian writers but I think it's going to be a long hard slog. I've never seen any publisher willing to give actual numbers, and lesbian authors don't seem to communicate between themselves outside of their own publisher's private groups. Sigh.
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:56

carrietierney wrote:
I've never seen any publisher willing to give actual numbers, and lesbian authors don't seem to communicate between themselves outside of their own publisher's private groups. Sigh.


I don't know about other publishers, but each book is unique, with a unique set of circumstances surrounding it. We really can't base how a book sells on books we've already published, except when publishing a second book by an author.

Numbers can also be dangerous or made to entice an author to sign with a publisher. Let's say a publisher has one or two very popular titles that have sold several thousand books. Let's say that publisher tells the author their titles sell in the thousands, without mentioning the twenty other titles that sell only a few hundred. Let's say the author signs with the expectation of selling several thousand and ends up selling only a few hundred.

Now it's time for me to ask a question, since a part of this is to gain an understanding of the writer looking for a publisher.

Why do you want to publish your novel?
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Re: Bedazzled Ink interview: January 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 08:57

carrietierney wrote:
dejay wrote: I do have a question though. Is there a type book you WON'T accept for publication assuming it's well written and meets your standards in all other areas???


Publishers have to live with a book. Go through them many many times when editing, proofreading, typesetting, proofreading, and proofreading and then proofreading again. We got to really like a book because it can become a real chore to work on if you don't like it.

In general we don't want to see stories that glorify sexism, racism, and all the other negative isms of society. The keyword is glorify. Triumph over the negative isms of society are more than acceptable story themes.

We're also not keen on lots of profanity for profanity's sake or sex scenes that aren't an integral part of the story.
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