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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Realio & trulio O-U-T

The news has gone out on facebook and Twitter and elsewhere, so perhaps not many will be surprised: rumor had it this morning that The Foliate Head had been returned (again) from the printers--this time we hope it is perfect. And then Clive wrote me that at least one pre-order in the UK had been received. So we are hoping to receive our copies soon.

Limited edition.

Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Book design by Andrew Wakelin. Some suggestions from Peter Wakelin as well! And poems by me.

Feels so strange to have a tenth book. And Thaliad next.


  1. I hear some people have their pre-orders already! Want mine...

  2. Phew, thought this might be as in you bowing out of blogging as you threatened a bit ago. I am excited and happy about the Foliate Head, mine is pre-ordered so I shall look forward to its arrival.

    Marly, can you tell me, as I remember you talking about the ways of ordering books which most or least profit the writers and other deserving people: if I order a new copy through Amazon but from a Marketplace seller such as the Book Depository, does it still benefit the writer as it should? I had to do this with Robbi's book of yoga poems a while back, as it was the only place in Europe that seemed to have them in stock and ready to send; Amazon UK or France had to send away to the US, which seemed excessive and I wanted a second copy to give someone who was going away shortly... But I wondered if this disadvantaged the author as buying a second hand copy does. I don't mind going for used or remaindered books for something mainstream or classic where I feel my need (to save money) is greater than theirs (to make it) but wouldn't wish to short-change writers who need all the help they can get. I know ordering through small booksellers is best but it's not really an option I have open to me here.

    Sorry, probably should have e-mailed you this but it came to mind now!

  3. Lucy,

    Aren't you lovely? Thank you. I'm glad you will have another of my books!

    Good question.

    If you desire to benefit the writer and also to maximize profits for the publisher, the publisher is the place to order.

    But that usually makes no difference profit-wise to the writer--if you buy at retail price anywhere, the profit is the same. If you buy at great discount, the profit for the writer is usually quite a bit less.

    However, there is a whole different issue here that has to do with Bookscan.

    Many mid-list writers are more concerned with having decent sales numbers than anything else because: a. they don't make that much money anyway; and b. bad numbers can mean loss of the ability to publish with reputable publishers. That's true no matter how good you are, and there are plenty of solid writers who come to a dead end.

    So that means the most important thing in terms of sales for many is having a sale that will be recorded by Bookscan. Sad, huh? Bookscan records many indie bookstores, chains, big online sellers.

    In light of all that, the best places to buy probably vary a lot, according to your situation. It's nice to support the publisher; it's nice to support a bookstore and writer. But sometimes that's a big sacrifice, especially when ordering from another country. I don't really know anything about Book Depository...

    Just do as best you can, as no doubt you will. It is great to try and benefit the writer when you can. Mid-list writers benefit most from public mentions and Bookscan-counted purchases. In our fast-changing era, a publisher's marketing department is definitely going to eyeball Bookscan sales and google the writer to see how many hits are recorded--and then take a look at a few of those to see what kind of (help us!) "platform" the writer has for his or her (help us again!) "product"...

    Then there's the "indie" writer who runs up his numbers to claim bestsellerdom via giveaways, and then begins charging and keeps all profits afterward. But evidently not many writers make large profits, just as in the world of publishers.


    It's difficult.

  4. Thanks Marly, I'll read it. It does sound complicated, and kind of wearying. I'll try to order from publishers when I can, I think I have with all yours... oh except the e-book of White Camellias, which I got from Amazon but that still counts doesn't it? I'll probably want another copy of Foliate Head for my brother's 70th next year, will I be able to get it then or had I better order it ASAP, while stocks last?:~)

  5. I'd be afraid to say that you could wait... Usually when you publish overseas, fewer people from your own country order than would otherwise, so it might still be around, as poetry doesn't sell wonderfully well. On the other hand, we have a double attraction with poems/artwork, and I'm sure some Clive fans will buy the book. Nicky told me that they had a good number of pre-orders, but I don't know quite what that means.

    And now I'm off to lunch with two painter friends...

  6. P. S. Don't feel you have to read the article--put it up as a kind of apology for not sounding so positive about the indie route. Which is in some ways better, some ways worse, I suppose, than the path I am on.

  7. Bookstores... Hm.
    Nice places (the better ones) but possibly not the best way to buy books anymore.
    I guess times change, but to be able to order a book one day and have it delivered to one's home a couple of days later has encouraged me back into book buying big time.
    I guess I'm not the kind of person to go into a book shop to see what may be there that would interest me (not a window shopper type). Online I can peruse comfortably and it will take me from author to author, book to book, in the nicest of ways.
    WAY too seductive!

    Because I think online ordering of books has become so ubiquitous, I also assume that it offers the best (in time) for authors. There is often an online record of reader responses (not available in book stores) and they often make for the most telling of reviews.

    Online, I am more likely to buy more than one copy of something. I am more likely to think, "Oh! 'so-and-so' will love this too!" and order extra copies.

    ... of the Foliate Head, for sure!

    So, authors rule - but Amazon rocks!

  8. Hah!

    Well, I suppose that explains part of the dominion of the Amazonian.

    And I'm very glad you like multiplication, Paul. XD


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.