December 2, 2007

The reality of what it means to have my rights back for The P'Town Murders continues to sink in. Do I try to find a publisher who will republish asap to cash in on the book's continuing demand or simply go to a printer, cutting out the middleman here? Or do I let the book go out of print without trying to do anything about it?

In the first case, it may be a golden opportunity to get in with a publisher I want. If I go print-on-demand, however, I've got to take a crash course in business admin. (Taxes, customs, postage fees, ugh!) The other problem is that some POD print houses really want to be ersatz publishers. They want to determine your price and whether or not the book is returnable by distributors, which will make it unattractive to many buyers. In return, they simply give you a percentage of sales, which is pretty much what a publisher does. In reality, this is a monopoly mentality so that their partners (e.g. Amazon) can have the guaranteed best price (this is subtly written into their contracts with you.) There are others (like Lightning Source and ArtBindery) that give more flexibility, if you're looking into this yourself. The thing you've got to make sure of is whether or not you can get the books into a good distributor.

One thing I am sure of: now that I have the rights back, I don't want to let them go again. To lose control of the first book in a series potentially endangers the entire series, as I've seen. In this case, I was lucky. Next time, I might not be. That's why the print-on-demand option seems so tempting. Otherwise, I need to find a publisher who will reprint now and let me keep the rights in my name. Does such a creature exist?

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