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’…

Author: 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *