Publishing with Confidence

October 2000
by Linda Ligon

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I don’t know if you’d diagnose it as optimism or arrogance, but I’m pretty sure most smaller publishers are prone to my malady to some degree. Here I am writing catalog copy for next spring’s books (projects that have been in the works for more than a year already), with full confidence that thousands of people who don’t have an inkling of their existence are just out there waiting for them. If I print them, they will come! And I don’t even have the manuscript for one of them yet! I’m prepared to invest tens of thousands of dollars to carry forward books that I expect people to buy because, dammit, they’re good! Oh, I did the bit of market research and title testing, and I’ve kept my ear to the ground to suss out any possible competition. I even have the promise of a probable book club sale for a couple of them (though no contracts as yet). But the fact is, these books will all go to press in due time with no more than a quarter or a third of their number preordered. The remainder (no pun intended) will bear witness to my good publishing instincts as the reviews come in and they fly out the door-or not. What a crapshoot! It doesn’t have to be like that. Technology is rapidly taking the risk out of the business. If the books I publish weren’t highly illustrated, with a lot of color, I could make use of Print-on-Demand, or just throw them out there on the Internet as e-books. Just think!-no inventory control, no tough reprint-or-not-reprint decisions, no cash…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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