Friday, November 27, 2020

Authors: who cares who published your book? Probably nobody

On Wednesday it was announced that publishing behemoth Penguin Random House would buy publishing behemoth Simon & Schuster. There have been some complaints about decreased competition for authors' attention and booksellers' money—but not from me. I just don't care if the book publishing business is dominated by a Big Five, Big Four or Big Three. Maybe not even a Big Two.

I remember the snickers and giggles from a few years ago when Random merged with Penguin. Would the new company be called Penguin House or Random Penguin?

I was at a community social event a few years ago to meet some people I knew only through Facebook. I had taken some copies of my newest book to give to them. We were seated in a huge room with hundreds of people and we talked to 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 pages 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. 

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 car, a bottle of wine or a pair of shoes. It's more like the number of a TV channel—completely irrelevant to most people.

Readers are interested in a book's content and maybe the author's reputation—not the name of the company that delivered the content.
  • However, since I am an author and publisher as well as a reader, I know to be very wary of books from certain publishers. If a book comes from Outskirts Press or any of the Author Solutions brands, I know to expect poorly edited—or unedited—crap.

  • 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.

Choose a good name for your tiny publishing company that does not limit you to one genre, or sound like another company in the book business. My company is Silver Sands Books. Here's some advice for choosing a name for your publishing company.

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.

dog pic from Google Images
Penguin pic from Penguins Blog 

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