Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Your homework assignment is due.

Well, I hope everyone finished the assigned reading for the weekend. That would be the article in the New York Times Book Review that covered POD.

Not many surprises here. I think we all expected to see some sort of coverage on Amy Fisher. And, of course, the predictable comments about how PublishAmerica scams their authors.

However . . . there are some interesting shifts going on, which indeed show us that POD is moving more to the center of the publishing game instead of getting stuck in the fringe. Please keep in mind that I am not a huge advocate of POD. My book(s) are published out of a New York house and I would prefer it always be that way. But it is foolish to ignore a technology as valuable as POD. And, it seems, the agents and editors of NY are starting to agree.

Of special note are the comments by agents here:

(1) Jenny Bent mentions her "success selling self-published books." And why not? Any book that has already proven itself in an admittedly tougher arena should always get a second look from New York. A book that sells 2000 copies via POD is decidedly a "better seller" than a book printed by Simon & Schuster that sells 2000 copies.

(2) Harvey Klinger, a highly respected agent and decent human being, actually advised one of his (best-selling) authors to publish POD (and, in fact, to go to iUniverse specifically) "after New York said it did not fit into any niche." The point: what are authors who are trying to break out of the "fixed categorization" supposed to do? Even the agents are realizing the only hope is POD. NY will eventually only produce thrillers, romance, cookbooks, high-profile memoirs and a half-dozen extremely high-priced literary pieces. Everything else will either go POD or in the garbage.

And an even more poignant item: that niche books "selling in the 10,000 range" are not as eye-opening to New York -- though 10,000 copies is a lot more than most titles ever sell. Where do these niche writers end up having to go? Duh.

If you have not read the article, please do. It is, indeed, the same article we see every 18 months regarding POD -- even mentioning some of the tired old success stories (though Natasha Munson finally gets her due.) But you will also notice the slight change in opinion, that people are realizing what I have realized (and what the point of this blog is) that there are many good titles swimming in the sea of garbage--primarily because these good books had no place else to go.

I've said it before and I'll say it again . . .

Welcome to the new midlist.