Thursday, May 10, 2007
My primary goal right at the beginning when EREC was formed to help writers make good publisher choices in the area of erotic romance e-presses. I often skirt a difficult line in terms of sharing honest information fairly, and gossiping about my colleagues inappropriately. I can only hope that for the most part I have judged the difference correctly. Certainly I have received not so much as a single negative comment about EREC from any publisher so far--whether this is due to my dubious tact or my undeniable insignificant I cannot tell. There is still an implicit rule of silence out there about sales and income and so reliable information remains difficult to find.
I am gradually sneaking the sales figure data up on the website. It is clear that sales are creeping up across the board so it is likely that all figures posted are under-estimates of how a new release would do coming out today or in the near future. Please do keep sending me new data and updates: for each book send as much as you have out of the following 1) Publisher 2) sales to the first payment (approximately one month) 3) sales in the first year, 4) sales to date, 5) sales to end of contract (to: veinglory AT gmail.com).
The early figures give this top five in terms of initial first month sales only 1) Ellora's Cave, 2) Loose Id, 3) Samhain, 4) Liquid Silver Books, 5) Torquere Press*. Please bear in mind that these data are not representative and give a rough estimate only. Other sales-based information suggests similar front runners. For example, the RWA recognise: Ellora's Cave, Triskelion, Loose Id and Samhain while Brenda Hiatt's 'Show Me the Money' shows 1) Ellora's Cave, 2) Renaissance Ebooks, 3) Changeling, 4) New Concepts Press and 5) Triskelion as the higher earning e-publishers.
We are all working with highly incomplete and partially out-of-date data but I would suggest that writers seeking higher sales should place some emphasis on these publishers and be aware of how sales data is collected and handled on each of these sites. Be aware also that some publishers that are not powerhouses now are clearly moving up through the pack, and publishers vary in their ability to sell niche material and their willingness to put up with certain authorial quirks and foibles.
Interestingly if you go by online 'buzz' newer publishers with a fresh stable of authors are often more frequently and vehemently recommended to novice writers. I can only hope that, after spending months or years writing a book, new authors will invest a few days in researching publishers and developing some idea of what to expect upon the book's eventual release.
I have dithered for some time over whether to develop a firmer system for recommending epublishers but in the end I can see no acceptable empirical way to do so. Instead I will continue to collect together what information I can find or solicit. Any recommendations I blog remain entirely my own personal opinion based on that information and my own flawed judgement. If you want to know just how flawed I should post my own meagre monthly earnings... in fact, that's a great idea, I think I will. I also embody a conflict of interest in being published by presses including Loose Id, Samhain, Torquere, Lady Aibell and Cobblestone Press--and having submitted unsuccessfully to one other (Changeling Press, as it happens, whom I continue to hold in high regard, and not just based on the Groucho Marx principle**)
The better selling epublishers do seem to be those mentioned above (do you agree?), but I lack data on other likely front runners including Amber Quill and Changeling Press. I also have favorites from amongst the smaller and newer presses with good market plans and skilled management (including Mojocastle and Drollerie). And any author will have to take into account many factors other than gross sales. In the end one thing I agree with RWA on (and this would not be a long list) is that authors have to do their own research, make their own decisions, and wear the consequences.
* Torquere gets an unintentional empirical advantage in providing figures quarterly so their data is actually for anything up to the first three months.
** "I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member."