Friday, December 09, 2005

Gingerbread men (we ran out of ginger but they're just as good with paprika!)

Hot out of the oven, the P5!

(2) SUFFER IN SILENCE: 22,933 6
(5) GOLEM: 72,712 6


One of the downsides to POD publishing is that perhaps it gives too much freedom--freedom to move from one POD publisher to another. And why would one do that?

Who knows.

But as is the case of the big boner book, we now have a copy through Authorhouse (which seems to have dropped in rank from 650 to the mid 60,000's) and now one from Outskirts Press (hovering in the 9,000 range.) They were published two months apart and both sell as a $25 paperback. Viagra might be cheaper.

Speaking of $25 paperbacks, the PublishAmerica promo pamphlet has managed to sell a few copies, as the big book of drivel is currently ranked under 1,000,000 (which I am sure PA is touting as "selling better than millions of other published titles!)

Speaking of being ripped off, it looks like Martha Ivery (aka Kelly O'Donnell, aka Press-TIGE Publishing) is getting what she deserves.

She managed to milk $700k out of wannabe authors over the last several years (makes PA look like a 7-year-old's lemonade stand) while giving nothing in return.

Lesson here? Pay attention to Ann Crispin.

Well, off to buy some overpriced gifts for people I don't even like that much.

See you Monday--when you'll get the best holiday gift tip yet!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The New York Times will never read a POD book! Wait, strike that.

As hard as it may be to fathom, the stars have aligned and the New York Times gives a heads-up to a POD title (via iUniverse) in their Sunday paper in the Books section.

Check it out--and be careful of the lightning.

Congrats to Champ Clark and his book, SHUFFLING TO IGNOMINY.

The next issue at hand is for all those folks who fantasize about such publicity (whether POD or traditional) in the New York Times. Does it help a book to sell? Or is it really all about distribution? Who knows. Clark's book is currently ranked 476,903 on Amazon. The similar title/book by Mel Watkins (published by Pantheon) is currently ranked 6,569.

Note: Though the covers are quite similar (and both good quality) Clark's book was published first, by four weeks.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

POD, not just for vanities anymore

Publishers Lunch tipped me off to a great article on the movement of university presses to POD technology (almost exclusively) for printing off monographs and short print run titles. This piece not only highlights the value of POD but also gives a good background into how university presses operate:

Professors have always depended on university presses to publish the scholarly books that help faculty members earn promotion and tenure. But demand for those monographs is usually limited, to say the least.

A typical scholarly book sells only a few hundred copies within the first year or two.

Yet university presses, because of the high cost of printing a book, have traditionally printed initial runs of at least 2,000 copies. As a result, hundreds of books have sat in warehouses collecting dust.

But the best part is the discussion of POD:

A traditional print run of 1,050 books can cost about $3,000, Mr. Walsh says. But when presses decide that fewer books are needed, they can print about 350 copies using digital technology for about $1,600, he says. [Note: you get a real idea for how expensive it is to use POD] With demand for scholarly monographs decreasing, that extra savings reduces not only upfront costs but storage costs for books at the warehouse.

And for those skeptics who still think you can identify a POD title based on quality of product (the book itself, that is; we know the covers have a long way to go), read this:

Even after publishers became sold on the digital technology, though, some book buyers remained skeptical. Eric Rohmann, director of sales for Princeton University Press, says one bookstore refused to buy any books that were digitally printed until Mr. Rohmann showed the client one side by side with a traditionally printed book. "I handed him two books, and he couldn't tell," Mr. Rohmann says. "To you, the consumer, the process is transparent."

Finally, the greatest moment of all:

"These days, the technology has improved and the costs have decreased, leading some academic publishers to move completely to digital printing."

Who'd have thought it?

So it does seem that publishers with an interest in small print runs are finally being won over by POD. Is it going to replace offset printing? Not today. But maybe, one day--if the costs can be lowered even further. Pretty soon the only folks left not utilizing the technology (in a progressive way) will be Random and its peers.

Monday, December 05, 2005

THE DIDYMUS CONTINGENCY by Jeremy Robinson (Lulu)

If you could travel back in time to one significant event, where would you go?

Yeah, that's what I thought. C'mon, be creative. Don't think oh, man, I'd go back to high school and catch that pass in the end zone during the semi-finals or I'd go back and marry Jimmy instead of Edgar.

Think progressively. Where would you go? How about telling the Secret Service to put JFK in a car with a top on it. Or telling Nixon to burn the tapes. Or giving Lee a heads-up to stay the heck out of Gettysburg. The Tsunami. Normandy. 9/11. Think.

Well, no matter what, Jeremy Robinson probably outwitted you: He chose, as the plot for his time-travel novel, THE DIDYMUS CONTINGENCY, to go to the death of Jesus Christ in an attempt to witness a failed resurrection.

Not only is this a great plot twist, it's wonderfully executed. Time travel is a difficult task to bring to light. The fourth dimension has always been an item of great interest to storytellers but it has to be dealt with delicately or things quickly get out of control. Mr. Robinson has done a fine job of mixing in the science and keeping the story simple enough that you get to the end point without getting headache. (Case in point: How did these young scientists create such a device for time travel? Their older selves, after a lifetime of work, sent it back to the doctors at an earlier age. Snazzy, eh?)

The book has a Christian focus (as you can imagine) though certainly will not be on any CBA lists. This is a traditional thriller (think Chrichton) with a focus on the penultimate Christian event (do not think LEFT BEHIND.) Thinner on character development (like most thrillers) and heavier on plot mechanics (like most thrillers), DIDYMUS will have you reading until you hit the final page.

You can either pick up this stellar thriller at Amazon for $18 or Lulu for $15 and change. Either way it is a super page-turner and a thought-provoker.