I’m in several segments of this publishing industry, now: self-publishing, indie-publishing, and, releases imminent, big-press-publishing. The segments work differently in many ways, one of which is speed. Let’s set aside the middle ground for this brief discussion and focus on the two extremes.
On the one hand, I can bring a self-published book to market fast. And on the other hand, because I don’t have shareholders and quarterly profit targets, I can let that book pay off slowly. Until 75 years after my death, in fact, my heirs can collect the proceeds of sales of that book.
At the other end, it takes a long time — months or years — for a big press to bring a book to market. This is because they have multiple layers of editing, and established, involved processes around marketing, and full calendars into which they need to fit each launch. On the other hand, after all that effort, a big press watches very closely to see how well a book does right after it launches. Especially book one of a series. And especially book one of a series by a new writer.
Why is this? Well, they have lots of decisions to make about that book and its author. Should they buy his next series? Should they extend the series to more books? How much marketing muscle should they put behind book two? Should their foreign affiliates buy the book for translation and publishing in other markets? And they have to make those decisions fast, and they have to do it with shareholders looking over their shoulder.
So how many copies a book sells in the weeks immediately after its launch becomes really important.
Why am I telling you this? Because on June 14, 2016 — a month from tomorrow — Knopf releases THE KIDNAP PLOT. This is my big press debut. I wrote THE KIDNAP PLOT in 2012 and Knopf bought the rights to it in 2014. It’s the first book in a series that I’d like to tell in six books. I’d like Random House affiliates and other publishers outside the US to get excited about it. I want you to read it, because it’s fantastic. It’s the story of Charlie Pondicherry, a boy whose father is kidnapped. On his journey to rescue his dad, Charlie battles terrifying monsters, wins strange allies, and learns uncomfortable truths about his father… and himself.
And to reach the audience I want, I need to sell a lot of copies early.
You can preorder the book now, and I hope many people will. You can help me spread the word when the book comes out. And you can forgive me when, in the middle of June, I talk about nothing else for two weeks.