Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Writers: who cares who published your books? Probably nobody

I was at a local social event a few years ago to meet some friends I knew only through Facebook. I had taken a few copies of my newest book to give to them. We were seated in a huge room with hundreds of people and we talked to the strangers who were sitting near us. 

When I took the books out and signed them for the FB friends, the strangers immediately asked if they could see the books. They flipped through the books and smiled (a good sign). 

One said, "I never met an author before." Another asked where she could buy the book. A third asked how long it takes to write a book. Someone asked if I find it hard to write a book. Another asked how I decide what to write about and what other books I'd written. 

One question that nobody asked is "what company published the book?". 

From what I've observed, a publisher's name on a book is very different from a brand name on a bottle of wine or a pair of shoes. It's more like the name of a TV channel—almost completely irrelevant.

Readers are interested in a book's content and maybe the author's reputation—not the name of the company that delivered the content. 

  • Zoe Winters writes quirky and sometimes dark paranormal romance and fantasy. She says, “The average reader doesn’t care how a book gets to market. If the book is good, it doesn't matter if your Chihuahua published it.” 
  • Author Simon Royle wrote, “People don't buy books from publishers. They buy them from authors.” 
  • Edward Uhlan founded Exposition Press—an early and important pay-to-publish company—in 1936. He said, “Most people can’t tell the difference between a vanity book and a trade book anyway. A book is a book.” 
Concentrate on producing top-quality books.

If you are forming your own tiny publishing company,
choose a good name for it. Don't for a minute fret that readers will reject you because the logo on your books doesn't belong to Penguin or Simon & Schuster. Few potential readers will notice or care.

WARNING: If you are using the services of a "self-publishing company," be aware that some of them—such has Outskirts Press, Publish America, and the various brands from Author Solutions—have such terrible reputations that knowledgeable readers and reviewers may reject your book without reading it.

Shoe pic from Mario Blahnik, dog pic from Google Images

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