Déjà Vu – a snip at £248.71

One of the most common questions I get about my first novel, Déjà Vu, is, What was it like working with Denzel Washington? Ah, he was lovely. (In case my humour is lost on you, Déjà Vu the movie and Déjà Vu the book are two separate and unrelated entities.) The second most common question is, How much money do you make from it? Answer: not a penny. Though the book got some very positive reviews, it never had a presence in any of the high street shops, and the odds were pretty much stacked against it, despite my radio and TV (YorkTV – ah, what a morning) appearances…or perhaps because of.

Constant readers might recall, from a post earlier this year, that the original publisher of Déjà Vu, The UKA Press, were going to discontinue publishing the book because of cash flow problems. Well, that did indeed come to pass. Déjà Vu went out-of-print in March of this year. So is Déjà Vu dead in the water? Not quite.

But, Ian, where can I get a copy of Déjà Vu?

It looks like Amazon US has one copy left – held by International Books of Maryland, USA, who are asking $92 for it – despite the language being listed as Spanish. Over at Amazon UK, someone (from the US, bizarrely) is selling a used copy – repeat, used – for £248.71. Unless you’re a collector who thinks that the first edition will increase in value from this already-astronomical figure, you’d be much better off downloading the audio podcast, which is unabridged and free.

Look, will there be a new edition of Déjà Vu or not?

That’s a good question. John Jarrold, my agent, seems confident, but the wheels of publishing turn slow. Back in January, one publisher expressed an interest in bringing out a second edition…but that was January, and nothing has happened since. Meanwhile, I’m completing Flashback, so anybody who wants to find out what happened to Saskia at the end of the first book will soon have their curiosity satiated. Well, I say ‘soon’…

Published by

Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

13 thoughts on “Déjà Vu – a snip at £248.71”

  1. *cough* *choke* hmmm…. first edition, huh…..

    How about POD? I kinda fantasize about being able to walk into a bookshop, choose my book, pick from a selection of covers, then go for a coffee and come back to a freshly-bound book…

    Do you have Deja Vu available in a microsoft ebook reader – friendly format? I tried the podcast, but in all honesty, despite your lovely, cultured English voice, you read way,way too slowly for me. I need to read fast or I get bored.

    (I’d be skimming the bit with the old geezer in the factory to get to the bit where the body falls out of the fridge….)

    yah, all that carefully-wrought prose, I know….

  2. Ian, I thought the UKA Press was just an imprint of Bluechrome, at the time Deja Vu was published? Then UKA Press later went independent from Bluechrome, at which time their original list was dropped? I understand neither they nor Bluechrome may have picked
    your book to reprint, though some other books were selected, I notice(of course, you might have turned such an invitation down); but since both presses are still publishing, where does the cash flow reasoning come in? Did someone really write and tell you they were dropping you because of cash flow problems, then go ahead publishing other books, remaining in and building up their business? That’s very odd.
    Your book is far better being dropped and shopped to larger publishers in any case, if that’s in line with your own aims, so I would have thought that was the thinking behind not keeping it in print with a small press or reprinting it, with you not getting profits, wide attention that results in sales, and shop placement, and a new format and cover if you wanted one, but giving you the copyright. There might even have been some thought that you would like to do some editing before it was republished more satisfyingly?

  3. Thanks for your comment, Pomo Housewife – the original Déjà Vu was indeed POD (for smaller publishers it’s a great technology). The trouble with POD is that Waterstone’s and others turn their noses up at it because, once the unit has been produced, the shop can’t make the publisher take the book back if it doesn’t sell (at least, that’s the situation at the moment).

  4. Hi anonymous

    Yes, you’re quite right. The backer of the UKA Press dropped out for various reasons, forcing the UKAP to discontinue production of Déjà Vu, among other books. The backer did offer to pick up DV again but suggested I try to get DV picked up by another publisher – which hasn’t really happened, but was sound advice all the same. Just to be clear, the UKA Press is still going strong under its own steam and packs some interesting titles. The idea of having DV taken on by a major publisher is appealing not because of the financial aspects, but just to keep the thing out there – I wrote it to be read, after all…

  5. Was DEJA VU printed only in POD? Couldn’t you get a print run, at all? Many small presses do both short runs and POD.

  6. Was DEJA VU only put out in POD? Many small presses do POD for Amazon, but can do short print runs as well, for authors.

  7. Not to worry, anonymous. Yes, POD was used for Déjà Vu. I lobbied against it because of the anti-POD (somewhat justifiable) prejudice on the high street and the Press, but there you go.

  8. You mean it was exclusively that, and you had no print runs done, and you never introduced it to any bookshops? Usually a very small press can’t finance sale-or-return but will agree to do print runs for an author, if they cover the basic cost, wanting to present their books to shops or sell copies themselves. (Though you might have been offered POD books at an author discount, perhaps? Of curse, sorry course, then you would have the POD printer’s name at the back of the book, which can look as if you only get your book printed one-at-time, and bookshops tend to want books that are designed for bookshops, not online sales. (Having said that, bookshops are extremely difficult to get accepted by in any case, and even if you had been able to do that, get stocked by a bookshops, well, bookshop sales are pretty tired these days, so if your publisher didn’t lose money, you might have…)
    *right – now I’ll try to post this message up on your blog without messing it up…*

  9. You wrote:

    > You mean it was exclusively that, and you had no print runs done, and you never introduced it to any bookshops? Usually a very small press can’t finance sale-or-return but will agree to do print runs for an author, if they cover the basic cost, wanting to present their books to shops or sell copies themselves.

    This is true, but I wasn’t about to pay to have my book published (up front, anyway; I certainly paid for all the review copies I sent).

    The basic problem with bookshops is, I think, a combination of ‘follow my leader’ – where stock is effectively determined by head office (according to the managers I spoke to) – and fairly strict rules on accepting only print-run books that the publisher is prepared to transport around, as well as provide a hefty discount. Obviously, this latter behaviour prices many small publishers out of the market.

    Hmm. This is bringing back the joy of traipsing around the south west of England, getting withering looks from bookshop managers…

  10. Yes, I see what you mean. You wouldn’t be paying to get your book published (I assume your publisher (“Bluechrome”, it says above) paid for all costs, and their imprint UKA Press gave you all the editing, formatting and any cover work required, but you would be paying to cover any sale-or-return deals. Problem with most very small publishers is that no matter how well intentioned and keen they are to get a promising author who needs a leg up into print, they don’t have the big sellers that subsidise small sellers (ie. losses) that the major publishers have. Those major publishers expect most of their books to make losses, often substantial losses, but it’s covered by their few mega-sellers, or strong selling back lists that bring in good figures year after year. Small publishers often work for nothing, no salary, no margin, no nothing, just to get established and because they belive in what they do (and can afford, somehow, to dedicate themselves to what is a hobby in financial terms) but but even that can’t bring in funds to pay for print runs (which typically cost about a thousand pounds, minimum) on spec, and they can’t get taken on by distributors who have sales teams visiting book shops, since distributors only take on larger established publishers or presses backed by arts grants. That’s the state of things, and I think small presses are really best suited to niche books, where they might do an excellent job, giving personal and continued attention to a special book, or to introduce new writers who might otherwise be overlooked and not get that first exposure. If they invested in sale-or-return print runs in the hope of sales, and tried to go round visiting bookshops themselves, I think they’d be doing their books a disservice, since they’d be broke and starving and make an awful impression.
    It’s just getting tougher all the time, and most promotion is a waste of time, as well. You’re doing all the right things, establishing your name and a good reputation – that’s the best sort of promotion and in the past that would have been enough. These days, you might have to begin working even harder on promotion once published, even by the largest publisher. But… you do have an excellent presentation.nd I listened to an interview by you on the radio. It was terrific. That’s a very special quality of interest and appeal you have, and it’s very rare.
    Getting published by a large publisher does not mean getting sold widely and read, but in your case, if you got the personal public exposure and a unique angle in your book, it easily could, imo.

  11. anonymous, that was all rather depressing for a fledgeling author. I ‘m writing adventure romance, and I don’t want to go the Harlequin (Mills and Boon) route as they put you on the shelf for a month but tie up your print rights forever.

    I’m going to try Cerridwen – they are the mainstream arm of Ellora’s Cave, who have a solid track record in Erotica e-publishing, and have moved into hard copy with major sellers including Amazon stocking their books.

    http://www.cerridwenpress.com/index.asp

    I think is worth holding on to print rights for Deja Vu – maybe Flashback (which sounds brilliant) will grab someone’s attention and they’ll want its prequel.

    I get the impression that it can be difficult to sell a first novel. Once you’ve demonstrated some staying-power, they see potential for career earnings.

    Helen

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