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The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #21
It’s been another funny week; I lost a lot of momentum thanks to COVID and just wanting to sleep, but by the end of the week I made a tentative return to the world …
Monday, 30 August
I’ve been thinking about launch parties. My intention is to launch my press and my first two books at the same time. I was in touch with a bookstore earlier in the year that flat out refused to host a launch party (even though one of my authors had already had a launch hosted there) and it left me a little bewildered—they might have been concerned about cost to them versus benefit to them, but they also didn’t give me a chance to offer to pay for the venue; maybe that just isn’t done anyway. Other factors may be: COVID, new (lowly) press, blah blah.
Anyway, Siôn is now in touch with a couple of venues, and we are looking at October for a triple launch, where the authors will attend and sign hardbacks, which I will sell at a discount on the day. And if you want to come, you could even buy a hardback now* from my website and have it signed on the night. Or, if you can’t come but want a signed edition, you could buy one and send me a note and I could post it to you signed after the event.
*(I deeply regret that the discounted hardback offer is only available for UK people; this is entirely down to postage, which is so expensive that, even with the discount, anyone outside the UK will be able to get it cheaper by ordering it in their own country. But if you did want a signed discounted copy and also wanted to pay for P&P, we could arrange something.)
Tuesday, 31 August
Today I parceled up some author’s copies for Simon and Siôn. It’s a funny/sad thing that loads of other people have seen and held their books while they still have not: I started sending out review copies the moment I received the books, but I never thought to send any to either of them, thinking surely I would see them soon and could pass them over at the time. I will finally be allowed to leave my house tomorrow!
Tonight I attended a Zoom book group discussion of Heart of Darkness. I have to admit that I did not enjoy Heart of Darkness when I was supposed to read it the first time, and I didn’t enjoy it this time either—but the quality of discussion led by Sam Jordison at Galley Beggar Press at least helped me appreciate the work in a way I never have before. Heart of Darkness is one of those books that I think are worth reading whether you like them or not. Literary vegetables.
Wednesday, 1 September
Freedom! Unshackled from COVID, today saw me braving adrenaline-packed activities like going to the post office and taking my dog for a walk.
I also headed out to a book launch: Dreamtime by Venetia Welby is now out from Salt Publishing. Venetia’s work is smart and thoughtful; I’d really recommend treating yourself to a copy.
Thursday, 2 September
I’m still sleuthing out the mystery of the cancelled Amazon pre-orders. Ingram Spark (my printer/distributor) is looking into it for me now. I had a back-and-forth between them and Gardners last week, where Gardners said they would only list my books if Ingram told them to, and where Ingram said they had already told them to. But Ingram say they have now “re-broadcasted” my books to their network (all very nebulous to me, but sounds promising), and I’ve filled in a form for Gardners that tells them that all of my books have ISBNs (which they already know?) so that Waterstones can sell my books (which they listed automatically because my ISBNs existed, so they also already know). Publishing is stupid and I don’t recommend it.
Friday, 3 September
Today I finally tackled the scariest thing that’s been on my list for a while: audiobooks. The first thing to note is that I absolutely do not have enough money to commission a good audiobook directly out of my own pocket. But wait, Amazon can help! They have a program where you pay NOTHING AT ALL but simply share the royalties with the person who produces your audiobook. Some narrators will do it on that basis; some will not, but will agree that you will pay a portion of the fee (often still budget-busting, but at least you can kind of justify it to yourself).
Wow, great, no problem, right? Well, there is a problem, really. That deal is only available if you agree that your audiobook is exclusive to Amazon. That means higher royalties for everyone, yay! But it also means no libraries can carry it, no schools, no bookstores. Like so much in this industry, it’s a really dirty little problem.
And yet … I can’t see a way to create an audiobook affordably any other way. My lack of capital pushes me into all kinds of situations I don’t like, from the very beginning when I had to accept that print on demand was the only affordable initial approach. So the choice right now is Amazon-exclusive audiobooks or no audiobooks at all.
The good news is that the very first audition I received for Some Rise By Sin absolutely knocked my socks off. The quality of the narration was only enhanced by the several auditions I got afterward, which were extraordinarily Not Right.
So I started the day knowing literally zero about audiobook production, and I ended the day having secured an incredible narrator in a deal I can almost afford. I’ll call it a win, even though I don’t feel great about the Amazon angle.