Friday, September 10, 2010

The publishing biz

Publishing is, frankly, a pain in the ass. I mean, it's great to bring out all the wonderful works that would otherwise never see the light of day (because they're too off-beat, weird, Alaskan, or poetic), and I just LOVE doing book designs, but most of the publishing business consists of my two least favorite things to do (and this includes changing the catbox, folks): data entry and marketing.

Y'see, publishing isn't just about bringing the creative mind to print: it's about getting the public to actually read those delightful books, which means getting the public to buy them, which means getting the books in their hands, which means getting the books in the bookstores, which, inevitably, means getting it into wholesalers' hands, which means a whole lot of trouble.

And that's just marketing: advertising, sell sheets, catalogs, booths at conferences and markets and bazaars, enticing descriptions sent to booksellers, and so forth.

Then there's all that data tracking: how much of which sold for what to whom and when at what discount. How much postage, how much my cost/profit/loss was, how much royalty to pay, plus the office management stuff and associated bottle washing, counting, and related bottle overhead costs. And the like.

When a new book comes out, it is immensely satisfying to know that a gem like Marjorie Kowalski Cole's collection of poetry has finally gotten Out There, or that Jamie Smith's cartoons will be Preserved for Posterity in collected form, or that Neil Davis' careful research into the American health care system can be shared with people who need to know how to navigate the misanthropic mine field that we call insurance. I LOVE bringing books like these into the world.

But god, I HATE selling them.


jamie said...

But wait, that’s why publishers command such absolute and total respect, along with making all the Big Bucks off the unrequited toil of the artisan class.
Oho is that ever funny. Yeah.
Stick to cartoons funny-boy (“so Sarah Palin walks into an outhouse…”)

No but seriously, after cleaning my own (mental) litterbox, seems Our Fearless Editor is in need of some bolstering and waving about of pom-poms: cheers to unearthing gems and nuggets alike, and keeping the flag unfurled for the disaffected rabble! You more than all of your literary posse combined are entitled to rant, maybe just a little.

Your unflinching efforts deserve the highest commendation and honor within my power to bestow, and after close consultation with my meticulous and exhaustive data tracking account management system (all adds up to I Owe You), I shall heretofore purchase you a beverage at the saloon at the earliest possible opportunity.
Assumably after I get a paycheck from you of course.
Plus, the libation will be completely tax-deductible, and followed by the immediate marketing of even more dumb jokes.
What a job… we must be in it for something…

Cheers to the Ester Republic and For Which It Stands: “Fomenting Uppitiness”

Deirdre Helfferich said...

Pom-poms! I LOVE pom-poms. Well, the real ones made of tissue paper, that is, not those plastic football ones. And beverages at the local saloon-type beverage emporium are ALWAYS appreciated, believe me! O, thank you, Noble Author & Artistey-Type.

Glad somebody's reading this blog...maybe I'll post more often.