I know, I know, I’ve talked about the POD business model a thousand times, but there are few times when a Print on Demand publisher will actually admit exactly who he’s in business for. This is a comment made on the RPG.net forum by Dave Rozansky, publisher for Flying Pen Press.
If we purchase rights to a book that does not sell well, we are not out much money at all.
If I were one of his authors, does anyone think I’d care a gnat’s hairy bum whether he wasn’t out “much money”? Heck no. I’d be screaming about why he didn’t spend some money on marketing and promotion so that my book had a snowball’s chance in Hades of selling. He’s telling anyone who reads this that he spends as little as he can because he can’t afford the risk.
Now, I wouldn’t normally waste much more than an eyeroll on an ignorant statement like this, but Mr. Rozanksy has some seriously inane opinions that can be read here, which Seriously Smart Blog Mistress Jane Smith has decided to tackle. Since Jane is addressing those issues, I won’t rehash. Go read Jane – her analysis is deliciously brilliant.
Instead, I want to concentrate on Mr. Rozansky’s brief sashay with clarity because he is the first to finally come clean about the truth of the POD business model.
I can hear the howls now: “But, Pricey, you’re taking his comment out of context!”
Excuse me, but what context would that be? As I have explained many times before (read my POD series – you’ll find it in the Classic Posts section to the right of my blog), the Print on Demand business model exists because it allows the owners to operate on a shoestring operating budget.
Here’s a tattoo for your forehead: If someone has little money, they can’t afford risk. And this is what Mr. Rozansky readily admits.
My question is this: If one can’t afford risk, then what’s the point? How far can one go if risks lurk around every literary corner?
He makes another statement on the AW thread:
As to HS’s claim that we are avoiding cash outlays, I can’t deny it. This is good business practice, and makes Flying Pen Press more nimble in the marketplace against our very large competitors.
First off, he’s dead wrong because it flies in the face of logic. Books don’t become successful if you eat all your peas at dinner. Face it – being successful takes money. Marketing and promotion take serious money, and publishers commit to that cash outlay in order to create demand, to let readers know their books exist.
I don’t understand how NOT spending money makes one more nimble than their “large competitors.” I’ve always believed that being a small publisher makes one more nimble because there aren’t the multi-layers of administration to wade through before a decision can be rendered. But to suggest that not spending money = nimble? Not on this planet.
He goes on with the same tired rhetoric that all POD and vanity publishers invoke at some point – authors can call them anytime, day or night – even at home (shudder), authors get a say in their cover design, they treat their authors more intimately than those nasty conglomerates.
Personally, I’d rather know that my book would actually have distribution, marketing, and promotion rather than making sure I felt good about myself. Will the fact that I can call my publisher at home get me readers? Will it get my books on the shelves? I think not. Mr. Rozansky is trying to advocate a disconnect with smoke and mirrors. And this makes me cranky because I know of too many authors who fell for this gibberish.
I know I’m picking on Mr. Rozansky, but he’s made his case for me. Print on Demand publishing model = assuming as little risk as possible and spending as little money as possible.
So here’s a little message from me to you, Mr. Rozansky. When you become a commercial publisher and actually understand how the commercial publishing industry works, then you can attack our fatal horribleness to your heart’s content. Otherwise, you’re just another loud voice parroting the same weary lines and deluding a lot of good people. And sadly, there will be many who follow you because you spew the perfect illogical justification for taking implausible short cuts. I’m all for short cuts, but in publishing there aren’t any.
Hey, don’t take my word for it. Read it from the horse’s mouth.
The truth of it is this: You simply have to write a book that a lot of people want to buy AND be with a publisher who can create and meet that demand.