Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge proponent of self-publishing. Personally, I love retaining the control over my works and saving to cover my own costs in exchange for not giving a percentage of my money to a publisher for however long.
With all of that said, today is a very sad day in the book world. A respected publisher has said that they are closing their doors. Why? Because they’re not making money.
There are going to be people out there wondering how this is possible. Well, I’m pretty sure I know at least part of it, and it has me feeling like shit because I’ve been part of the problem.
Readers love books. I love my books. I also know what it’s like to be a mom on a budget, so I’ve kept my prices as low as possible without no longer being able to put food on the table for my family. I haven’t taken the market or fair value of my work into account. And in doing that, I’ve (hopefully) allowed readers to buy a quality product for a very low price. The problem is, there are publishers out there who have a hell of a lot more overhead than I do, and in order to still pay the authors what they’re worth, they have to charge higher prices. The result? A lot of people don’t want to buy a $7 book when they can get a different one for $3.
It used to be the books you saw on the category best-sellers lists were a good mix of self-pubbed books and those from publishing houses. There was variety in the pricing of those books. I just checked the Gay Fiction category, and 19 of the top 20 are self-published books. 16 out of 20 are priced $2.99 and below.
What happens when more publishers start closing their doors? And before you respond that they should just lower their prices, think of the number of people who have to get their money before the authors gets paid. Everyone deserves to make their money for the work they put in, and if authors can’t make a living because publishers have to cut their prices in half or more, that could mean a lot of authors not being able to even try to meet the desires of the readers.
As a reader, I’m saddened that Samhain is closing their doors. Rather than asking how it could happen, I’m trying to figure out how we can all work to keep it from happening repeatedly.