The book industry is on the whole of the gentler, kinder sort. Publishers and literary agents tend to be pleasant and agreeable people in my limited experience, even as they do their best when under considerable pressure or in the face of unreasonable demands by egotistical people like me – authors.
They remain invariably polite in adversity.
It doesn’t always work out that way. I recently had experience of a very small, independent publisher who had probably taken on more work than they could handle, and they stumbled badly when it came to editing one of my books.
I’m terrible at editing, mind you, and I don’t enjoy it at all, but then I don’t pretend to be any good at it and I certainly wouldn’t offer my services as an editor.
They also said they’d sent me the contract for a book, but they hadn’t. They forgot.
I threw my teddy out of the pram.
Of course, an agent can and should steer a writer around these issues.
Obviously, physical launch ‘events’ such as parties and lunches are mostly a thing of the past, but there are digital equivalents that cost nothing but the time it takes to format them. Some authors do even receive deliveries of champagne or flowers and I have done so in the past.
I’m going to share with you an exchange emails over three days between myself and another indie publisher, Lume Books, who’ve just brought out the third and final novel in my Cold War spy trilogy. It was also unagented, by the way.
It might be enlightening. I did say ‘might’.
I note that Spy Trap is scheduled to be published By Lume Books tomorrow, Thursday. I wonder if you could advise when I can expect the five bound copies and one ebook as per the contract?
April 21 (publication day)
Further to my note yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice on publication day that the POD version of Spy Trap is offered on Amazon.co.uk for 15.63 pounds. Must be a record! Surely that can’t be right…
April 21 (publication day)
Dear James Faktor,
I sent you an email yesterday asking when I might have my copies of Spy Trap, to which there has been no response.
I sent you an email today pointing out that the POD version of Spy Trap seemed unusually expensive.
To both these – messages both reasonable in content and civil enough in formulation – I have had no response.
Today, April 21, was the ‘launch’ of Spy Trap. I have received no messages from you or your colleagues at Lume Books referring to this. Lume Books, as far as I can tell, posted nothing on social media to mark this event.
Some weeks ago, I suggested Lume Books and I follow each other on Twitter and if I recall correctly, you said you would pass this on. Nothing happened, and I stopped following Lume Books as a result.
Would you please explain what’s going on, or in this case, what’s not going on?
There is still no response from Lume Books, so I repeat the above the message and receive this response:
Apologies for the delay in responding – we’ve had a very busy last couple of days.
Let me check on the POD pricing with my colleague, and I will chase up the twitter situation along with the marketing plan now that the book has been published.
And a little later the same day, this:
The price on Ingram is 10.99, but it’s showing up as more on Amazon. Even though it’s POD, sometimes Amazon still orders a certain amount as stock to keep in their warehouse rather than wait for individual orders to be printed. Sometimes when this stock sells out and they are waiting for more, they let third party or secondhand sellers fulfil the orders temporarily. These sellers and can choose what they set the price at.
Please send me your address so that I can plan the delivery.
I can’t restrain myself any longer. I’m going to throw my teddy in the corner – again.
Good morning, James
My address is: XX Marywood Square, Glasgow, G41 XXXX
I’m going to say this just the once and then I’m going to shut up.
I’ve had quite a few launch days, going back into the analogue era, as far back as 1983, or 39 years ago.
They include Methuen, the South China Morning Post/Far Eastern Economic review, Transworld/Bantam, Pan Macmillan (3), Review, and Burning Chair (2). Oh, almost forgot: I gave myself a launch day when I self-published, too.
I have to say yesterday was the worst of the lot by a very long mile. Maybe it’s just that Lume prefers dead authors to live ones, and unfortunately for you, I’m still alive and kicking.
Now I will shut up. Really.