Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Thing About Publishing

Want to know what trying to get published is like? Sit down in the back yard, stare at the ground and wait for the grass to grow.

I've been getting some interest in another of my ms (a double mystery called Matinicus--the prequel to the one I'm writing now), which is a good thing, and while checking out the publishers involved I've learned some interesting stuff. It's all about distribution. Signing with a publisher means nothing if the house doesn't have a decent distributor. These are companies that visit the brick and mortar stores (B&N, indies, etc.) and convince them to stock your book. Publishers hire them for a percentage of the take. Some publishers have told me they have a distributor when what they actually have is a wholesaler. Whole different animal. These are big companies like Ingram and Baker & Taylor, who physically warehouse books, mailing out orders as they come in. They do nothing to help spread the word or pump the book up.

Complicating matters even further is the fact that some wholesalers also have distribution arms (Ingram for instance), so unless you actually push the publisher on it, you'll never known which part of the company it's using.

Just because things aren't already hard enough...