Wednesday, January 10, 2007

From a frown to Crown: A POD success story.

Thinking POD is a costly waste of time? Well, you got the costly part right. But the waste of time? Not always. More and more I am getting emails from folks who went the POD route, only to later have his or her book snatched up by a New York house. A few days ago, I received this email from Frank Fuller and he graciously allowed me share:

Since you blog about PODs, we thought you'd be interested in a POD success. We wrote our political satire The Department of Homeland Decency: Decency Rules and Regulations Manual in 2005 and were unable to sell it. So last February we published it ourselves here in Minnesota, using Bookmobile, a division of Prism Publishing in Minneapolis. We designed the book but had a designer from Prism do the cover.

In summer, an agent who had turned it down a year earlier, saw it, liked it, contacted us and said she thought she could sell it. Two weeks ago we signed a contract with Crown. Their paperback imprint Three Rivers Press will be publishing it.

My wife and I both have backgrounds in writing and satire, which may have made this project easier. I was a newspaper editor for years and my wife works in advertising and theater. We have both written weekly newspaper columns and written humor for radio.

POD publishing can work, as you point out regularly. People who think they have some talent and ideas, if they can't sell their book to a publisher, should give it a try and see what happens.

Crown/Three Rivers, for those of you not in the know, is part of the Random House empire--so they managed to go from the bottom to the top in one quick move. If you are curious about Frank and Sue Fuller's book, you can check it out here on Amazon and snag what will eventually be a rare copy.


Also, check out the post from Josie Brown via MJ Rose's blog. (You should be reading this every Wednesday.) She offers up some statistics that shed light on why it is so hard being a midlist author--or any author, for that matter. Think getting published by a commercial publisher will get you in the "brick-and-mortar" stores? Guess again. In the majority of cases, according to Josie, you are lucky to get in to 19% of the stores. And with Amazon's online sales approaching 10% (just Amazon, mind you) the playing field is shifting. Or at least getting muddier.