Recently Paul blogged about the curse of being a 'local' publisher and the associated problems. There are, of course, many more...
We've had an ongoing battle with high street chain WHSmith since last year. Today we heard from them that they will not be stocking Jonny Kennedy, Rocketbelt or Burglar's Dog books. It's a shame as in our hometown of Newcastle, WHSmith is one of the only bookstores not to stock us. Obviously, we realise that the decision largely comes down to not being a major publishing organisation and not being able to afford tens of thousands of pounds to ‘buy’ shelf space. No doubt we'll carry on with the battle. At Tonto we refuse to give up on such matters. The last buyer at the store couldn't stock us because she didn't know how the computer system worked! Really.
For those of you interested, you can actually go into any WHSmith store and order our titles from them. If you are from the Newcastle area, you can always pop into WHS in the MetroCentre where they buy direct from us. Yep – there’s the other problem: Decisions also come down to personal taste. Some buyers are able to buy direct from us (to support us locals) and some won’t or can’t. You really don’t know until you ask.
Which brings me to another point. We are approached quite often by people asking us how much we charge to publish new authors. We’ve advised those authors whenever possible, and it is nice to see that instead of paying a vanity publisher, people are now self-publishing. The entire process of publishing is difficult enough, so for an author to take all this on board is a huge risk. However, it is pleasing to see people taking the initiative. For those of you who are interested in the pitfalls of DIY publishing, there is a very informative blog by June Austin. It tells of the highs and lows she’s encountered in her struggle to see her book stocked. Read it here.
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