14 thoughts on “Last Chance to See Déjà Vu”

  1. Wow. What a kick in the old chops.

    Unfortunately I think pub­lish­ing as a whole is mov­ing more and more towards get­ting one or two big, chunky titles on the mar­ket and spend­ing a pack­et on them, rather than pub­lish­ing a broad­er selec­tion of titles. It makes it tough­er and tough­er to get your foot in the door.

    With the Guardian and SFX review, plus the pre­vi­ous back­ing of a pub­lish­er, I’m sure you could find some­body else to back Deja Vu. I mean, those are amaz­ing cre­den­tials.

  2. Thanks for your com­ment, star­geez­er. Self pub­lish­ing is def­in­itely a pos­sib­il­ity. It’s dif­fi­cult to get ser­i­ous reviews down that route, but of course I’ve already got the reviews, so it wouldn’t be a dis­aster to park the book with Lulu. Something to think about…

  3. Thanks, Roland. I think, alas, that reviews don’t sell books in the way they should; I think agents/publishers would be more inter­ested in 2000/3000 cop­ies sold than what people actu­ally think of the book…

  4. Yes, I was think­ing that self pub­lish­ing wouldn’t be so bad. It’s already been pub­lished by a real pub­lish­er, if you will. So you don’t need so much to estab­lish cred­ib­il­ity as to just keep it avail­able to people look­ing for it on Amazon. Or so my gut feel­ing says.

  5. As an ex Ottakar’s (briefly Waterstone’s) book­shop man­ager, (POD titles used to be access­ible on the shop­floor using the inter­net, but I don’t think it’s as straight­for­ward now), some of the sales-indu­cing tac­tics that you may well have tried already, but that were often suc­cess­ful.…

    con­tact Local Radio sta­tions and offer cop­ies as prizes for com­pet­i­tions
    same with loc­al news­pa­pers, espe­cially as there is a major film out with the same title — lovely cheesy tie-in!

    ask around book­shops for those that pro­duce monthly news­let­ters (we used to do a 24 pager that focused on and recom­men­ded whatever we chose, dis­trib­ute a few hun­dred from the counter each month, and sales of fetaured books Always rose for the news­let­ter peri­od, and some stayed high­er long term.)

    find SF book­groups, or reg­u­lar book­groups, send them a read­ing copy and ask them if they would like to con­sider Deja Vu for a read­ing choice one month — great for word of mouth sales after­wards

    for SF con­tact Steve Robinson, man­ager of W in Sunderland and SF supremo and ask if he would try a read­ing copy
    or try George Walkley at Orbit — blog on Georgewalkley.com, or on MySpace
    my name won’t get you any­where! at all! but it will explain how you came to them (Shelly Naughton from Oban)

    all small time aven­ues, (oo, have you spoken to your loc­al Forbidden Planet man­ager?), but with qual­ity reviews and acclaim, might help to keep it tick­ing over, spread word of mouth for the time being.

  6. Sorry to hear about this, Ian. Have you heard of wild­side press in the states? (www.wildsidepress.com) — they pub­lish sci­fi and used to have a delib­er­ate policy of invit­ing sub­mis­sions from pub­lished writers whose books had gone out of print.

    The ed-in-chief is John Gregory Betancourt. Here’s the address:

    wildside@wildsidepress.com
    WildSidePress
    9710 Traville Gateway Dr, #234
    Rockville
    MD

    You prob­ably know all about them already.

    Oh and thank you for the very gen­er­ous plug above! You’re a gent!

    Roger.

  7. I prin­ted some cop­ies of Adventure Eddy through Lulu, just so I could give them to friends or scibble in them myself (easi­er than star­ing at a screen.)

    They pro­duce very nice look­ing books, but Deja vu might get swal­lowed up by all of the oth­er self pub­lished books avail­able there, 90% of which are prob­ably unmit­ig­ated, uned­ited crap.

    You’d need to spend A LOT of energy mar­ket­ing the book. Misty’s got some good sug­ges­tions where and how to do it. If you need any radio con­tacts, let me know.

    I think most of us agree that Deja Vu’s of suf­fi­cient qual­ity to be pub­lished tra­di­tion­ally, though. I think you should only look into Lulu and self pub­lish­ing once every single aven­ue has been exhausted. It’ll be a schlep, but I’m con­fid­ent that Deja Vu will be avail­able in Waterstones some day soon.

  8. Misty, thanks for your com­ment. That’s a lot of use­ful info (yes, I’ve done one or two things on the list, but the SF book group idea sounds good). Thanks for your sup­port!

  9. That’s a good idea, Roger, thanks. I’ve sent them an email. So far, I’ve been a bit reluct­ant to approach US pub­lish­ers and agents because I don’t know where to start, and just send­ing quer­ies to UK agents seems to take enough time. We’ll see what they say…thanks again.

  10. Rolski, I too thought of using Lulu to pro­duce a few read­ers’ cop­ies. I might do it in future. True, any book pub­lished by Lulu will have it’s work cut out, so I’ll stick to tra­di­tion­al pub­lish­ers for the time being (and only go with that option if I get des­per­ate). Thanks for the offer of radio con­tacts — I might well need them!

  11. This is in no way a com­ment on your book, which I haven’t read, but may go some way towards explain­ing the reti­cence around POD.

    As a former book­seller, I can tell you that many POD pub­lish­ers (though prob­ably not yours) provide books that are so unspeak­ably ugly and badly made, but also massively expens­ive and slow to pro­duce, that order­ing them for cus­tom­ers invari­ably res­ults in the cus­tom­er throw­ing a fit when the book arrives and refus­ing to buy it. And becuse the books are POD, they can­not be returned, and there­fore the shop loses a bundle on the order. As a res­ult, many shops have a policy of not order­ing any POD titles. However, as cus­tom­ers will insist that they do want to book, and this insist­ance bears no rela­tion to their will­ing­ness to actu­ally buy it when it arrives, it is often easi­er to just not men­tion the POD edi­tion and, yes, pre­tend that it doesn’t exist.

    A decent self-pub­lish­er may prove a bet­ter option.

  12. Thanks for your com­ment, Marie. I guess my feel­ing — as an author — is that I’m the little guy and the book­seller (Waterstone’s in this instance, since inde­pend­ent book­sellers seem to go case-by-case) could do more. I guess it’s a like a super­mar­ket. Sure, Sainsbury’s have a good range of food, but you won’t find any loc­al pro­duce because only behemoths can accept the terms that Sainsbury’s imposes. This is good for the con­sumer in some ways, of course, but it threatens the devel­op­ment of those try­ing to start out.

    It might be true that the major­ity of POD books are unspeak­ably ugly, but the big chains only need to have the flex­ib­il­ity to include those they want to — i.e. a book like mine with (if you’ll for­give the immod­esty) a pos­it­ive review from The Guardian. But the book­shop man­agers have no con­trol over their stock because they’re scared about cop­ies tak­ing up shelf space… I explained how non­sensic­al this was to my loc­al man­ager on account of the army of book-read­ing friends who wanted to buy cop­ies, but his hands were tied by head office, so no cop­ies at all were stocked loc­ally. The res­ult? Upwards of 100 cop­ies went through the tills at Amazon. Nobody was happy about that. The Waterstone’s lost the rev­en­ue, my friends had to wait for their cop­ies, and I had to explain ad nauseam the fin­an­cial reas­ons why Waterstone’s was unable to even acknow­ledge the exist­ence of a UK pub­lished book.

    A friend of mine did insist that the book ‘exis­ted’ to a Waterstone’s rep, and suc­ceeded, after a time, to actu­ally have them two or three ordered. She arranged to come back in a couple of weeks. The books arrived earli­er than expec­ted, and I — yes, me, the author — got a phone call from a pan­icked staff mem­ber com­plain­ing that a cus­tom­er had ordered my book and not picked it up! Bonkers or what? What does that have to do with me?

    I under­stand that book­shops have to work eco­nom­ic­ally, but the whole epis­ode sug­gests that these chains (not inde­pend­ents, who actu­ally seem to use reviews and their opin­ions when order­ing stock) sell ‘books’ in a very pecu­li­ar use of the word: a object that the cre­at­or pays them hand­somely to stock and pro­mote, can be returned to the cre­at­or if it not sold with­in a giv­en time, and is presen­ted to read­ers only if the pub­lish­er has a bank bal­ance suf­fi­cient to pro­duce hun­dreds of cop­ies sim­ul­tan­eously.

    Sorry, Marie. I’ve totally gone off on one. It’s prob­ably time for my after­noon. Obviously my com­ments were sparked off by yours — I’m not really tak­ing issue with the fin­an­cial motiv­a­tion behind large-scale book­selling. Sure, a profit has to be made. But I can’t help but think this kind of think­ing is why we’ll see the end of book­chains like Waterstone’s in their cur­rent form. This morn­ing I needed a book about Buenos Aires in the 1940s. Got it on Amazon in about four clicks. The prob­ab­il­ity it would be stocked by the loc­al Waterstone’s, which has just giv­en up the top half of its first floor to a cof­fee shop? Zip.

    Hot milk is call­ing me…

    Oh, I’ve just real­ised you’re ‘strug­gling author’. I like your blog!

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