Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

With apologies to Sarah McLachlan for stealing the title of one of her best albums, I want to say a few words about this new book slated for release 11/17/09. Going Rouge is the first release from the new O/R Books, a company formed earlier this year by two very experienced New York publishing icons, John Oakes and Colin Robinson. This new book of essays is edited by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed. The writers include Jim Hightower, Naomi Klein, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Max Blumenthal, Matt Taibbi, Jane Hamsher, and many other recognizable names, all justly famous for sitting next to the windows on the left side of the airplane.

There is a reason why I chose the McLachlan title for this post. This is a book that deserves to be read by millions, but will it be? You currently cannot order it from either Amazon or B&, so where can you get it? Today, absolutely nowhere, because the ordering system is down at the O/R website, and you cannot get the book from any source other than directly from the publisher! Why should you care? Go look at the ranking number of this book, and it is at least available through Amazon, if not directly from their warehouses with free shipping. Going Rouge: An American Nightmare is nowhere to be seen at Amazon; nor is it at B&N. The publishers have done a good job of bringing publicity attention to the book; however, most of it is negative, not positive! Check out this poll at NPR, of all places.

The price of Going Rouge is $16 from the publisher's website. Can you imagine how many sales are being missed right now because this book is not paired with Going Rogue at Amazon with free shipping? Sure, the Palinbots would go crazy in the reviews of either book, even before the books are available for anyone to read. They would also toss their cookies in the Amazon discussion pages at the bottom of both books' Amazon listings. What we have right now is the 'bots going crazy at NPR while no sales of the book are even happening! In the meantime, sales of Going (Pack of Lies) Rogue are putting that book in the #2 spot at Amazon.

Quit fumbling the ball, people! Going Rouge is written by a gang of very experienced writers. Going Rogue is written by a ghostwriter and an idiot. Why must we continue to let the opposing team win? By the time An American Nightmare is even available to order, An American Pack of Lies will already have sold thousands, if not millions. What's the matter with this picture? If you think you are going to waltz into your local B&N and see the two Goings side by side on a table just inside the front door, I am afraid you are sadly mistaken. Harper Collins will have paid thousands for whatever prime store placement they have secured for Going Rogue. Unless O/R Books is a lot richer than I expect, then the best they can ever hope for are a few copies of Going Rouge placed on an alphabetized shelf somewhere in the store. If they are lucky, they may find a few B&N managers who will put copies in the close vicinity of the Harper Collins book, but can you imagine the hissy-fit an HC representative would throw if he saw even a single copy of the O/R book actually sitting on his bought-and-paid-for Harper Collins shelf? All this is not even taking into account the returnable policy so beloved by the Barnes & Noble store chain. Without a return policy, as is the case with the great majority of POD books, the most O/R can hope for are a few books ordered by a few B&N stores, not the stacks and stacks of the HC book that will blanket the B&N's all across America!

The new publishers of Going Rouge obviously know a lot more about traditional publishing than I do. They obviously have everyday contact with many writers I would love to meet, if only once to shake their hands. My expertise comes from the school of hard knocks. I got involved in the POD industry a decade ago. If you have not yet watched the video put together by John Oakes and Colin Robinson, take a look at it. These two nice guys act as if they just discovered POD! If you have not been following my other blog at PODBRAM, go check out this article. Here is another one you may wish to read. If you want to get seriously deep into the subject of marketing a POD book, go to PODBRAM and start reading the articles listed down the left column under The POD Experience. Allow me to cut to the chase: 90% (or more) of all POD books are sold through Amazon. B&N online and all the rest add up to less than 10%! I know that sounds shocking, but it's true.

A similar situation applies to Kindle. The great majority of e-books sold are currently sold through Amazon for the Kindle format. Yes, Smashwords is another good source of e-book reading material, along with a number of others, and yes, I know the B&N Nook has just been released. We'll see where that goes. The O/R website states that Going Rouge will be available in e-book form, too. Where? The publishers will probably discover that $9.99 for the electronic version might hurt sales a bit, too. Put it on Kindle and halve the price: then you'll have a mover.

I have already been in contact with Mr. Oakes concerning these issues, and can only hope that he has taken my advice to heart. He may know all about the publishing and marketing processes involved in the traditional marketplace. I know what it takes to successfully market an unknown POD or Kindle book at Amazon. Do not look at my own pitiful sales numbers and judge my knowledge accordingly. I have been trying to sell books in various genres by an unknown author, all of which are particularly difficult to market successfully. I can't help it if I'm hard headed: I write what I know, not what I know will sell. An American Nightmare is a totally different story, one that millions of Americans should read, and written by authors already familiar to millions of Americans.

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