Monday, February 05, 2007

Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain

I was thinking today about the issue of who is behind an epublisher. When dealing with new companies without a record of performance, I look at who is running the company. Apparently I am not the only one. New epublisher Resplendence felt obliged to post a reason for not having easily accessible contact details and names. Specifically to: "to protect our families and our privacy ... [from] unscrupulous and downright sick people out there."

I, personally, think this rather misses the point. The prospective writer doesn't need a home address and pictures of the editor's children. They don't need any personal information whatsoever because although the writer-publisher relationship may become personal it is fundamentally professional. I don't need to like my publisher, I do need to believe in their abilities. It is for that reaon that writers approaching a start-up press are looking for successful relevant professional experience. Despite their apparent bad experiences Resplendence staff continue to post information about their homes, families and pets--but little that suggests they have experience in selecting, editing and securing effective distribution for romance fiction.

I welcome Resplendence as the 40th e-publisher on our list and wish them every success. They have identified a promising niche in the area of novel length romance, including non-erotic genres. I applaud their recognition of the author's desire to make a personal connection and to see their work come out in paperback as well as ebook form. If, as seems to be implied, this means they will limit the number of authors they take on, I would see this as a very positive approach. This is a vital ingrediant needed to bridge the gap between e-publishing author farms and the traditional small press. But where are the specifics? Assertions that customers will flock to them for their quality fiction seem speculative at best, as a basis for success. The romance genre is already very well served by presses not known for putting out substandard products or being cold with their contributors.

In my humble opinion a better impression would be made by giving names and stating facts. Where direct industry experience is lacking a clear, specifc and detailed marketing plan can make up the deficit. It is great that a publisher promises to make me a part of their family but I, as it happens, already have a family. My main concern is, how well will they sell my books?

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