Mark Terry

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ouch

June 19, 2008
I just got an e-mail from a librarian in the U.K. indicating that one of their patrons was trying to locate a copy of ANGELS FALLING, which was to be the third Derek Stillwater novel.

In fact, I reminded myself, there was even a teaser chapter of ANGELS at the end of THE SERPENT'S KISS with a publication date.

I've dealt with being dropped by Midnight Ink reasonably well, I thought, but this hurts a bit.

To the unknown patron from the U.K., I'm very sorry.

Cheers,
Mark Terry

17 Comments:

Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Hi Mark:

Wow. That has to sting.

Other than being dropped, how would you rate your experience with Midnight Ink?

4:47 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Silver lining is this reader went to a lot of trouble to find you. You're wanted, dude. ;-)

If the industry doesn't fight over China Fire, then they're idiots.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Jude
--Keeping in mind that Barbara Moore, the acquisitions editor has left the company, so it probably isn't the place it was... I thought editorial was good, I thought cover art was excellent, I think their foreign rights department is terrific although they treat their authors and representatives as if the foreign rights sales are a deep, dark secret. I think they made an initial strong effort to promote my first book to some extent. In other words, they paid co-op for a short period at Borders to get The Devil's Pitchfork onto the front tables. There was a noticeable jump because of it. Unfortunately, the book was barely reviewed. They also paid to put me in AuthorBuzz. THey were apparently disappointed in their return on investment and did the one thing that would guarantee screwing up The Serpent's Kiss, the second book--nothing. No co-op, no AuthorBuzz, although I paid for it myself, and NO reviews except for ones I got myself. I was told they only sent out 3 or 4 copies to be reviews. As a result, sales dropped. I think it would have jumped again for Angels Falling, but we'll never know because they decided to drop me at a loss to them--they paid off the contracts and the foreign sales--rather than publish the manuscripts. I think they've had good luck with cozies and not so much luck with thrillers and harder mysteries, so that's where they're putting their energies. Distribution is questionable. In my experience, their distribution sucked, but other authors with them seemed to think they were okay.

Spy,
--I've got to finish it. I need to finish the YA novel I'm working on first--almost got the draft done. I've set a goal of finishing a draft of China Fire this year.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Mark.

I remember seeing Barbara Moore on a panel at Sleuthfest one year. Didn't know she'd left. I did notice they seem to publish a lot of cozies, which isn't up my alley at all...

Anyway, best of luck on finding a new home for your series. Sounds like you have some fans.

5:57 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Thanks Jude. At least one fan in the UK, apparently.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Mark:
They just released my second Billie Quinn book in England. That was a Bombshell . . . supposed to be a trilogy. I ended Book #2 very unhappily (sort of Empire Strikes Back unhappy), with the HINT of what could POSSIBLY come in book #3--which gave my heroine and all the secondaries their happy endings after nearly losing EVERYTHING in book 3. It was supposed to be the big finish. Needless to say, Bombshell folded, no one wants the THIRD book of a trilogy as a stand-alone. I got angry emails from readers in the U.S. wondering what happened, when the next book was coming out, why I did that to poor Billie Quinn. And now I get a NEW round of angry emails. This one woman in London wrote me a full two-page letter!

It's nice people are impassioned. It sucks when things like that happen.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Erica,
I'm pleased that someone gave a damn enough to ask about the next book. Very sorry I don't have good news for them. And since MI's not interested in relinquishing rights to book #1 and #2 now and not until 2 years after they declare them out of print (and they're still apparently selling, although slowly), everyone else in the industry has pretty much treated Derek Stillwater like a leper.

I'm on to other things. Maybe someday. And I have at least a notion of changing Angels Falling into a standalone, because unlike the other books, it could be handled with a minimum of changes.

6:39 AM  
Blogger MissWrite said...

Being an orphan sucks, that's for sure. I feel sorry for all the readers of your series, and of erica's. Those types of things make writing a series a scary endeavor. Just what happened you both of you, is likely to happen at any house, leaving not only the author in the lurch, but the readers as well.

12:00 PM  
Blogger MissWrite said...

I'm sorry, I thought right after hitting the post button. THIS situation (both you and Erica) is PERFECT for podding. (Oh lord, I know, dirty word, shame shame... lol, well for some anyway, and I'm sure it seems that way for you and Erica who have had trad pubbed series)... I'm not saying all your work. Just the 'finishing of the series' type thing. You have followings that would FIND them and WANT them, and proven success to readers minds.

Plus you'd be able to leave the previous titles where they are until they're out of print, and still go on with your series, or end up the series with a final book, and point readers who as to them.

No disgruntled readers who... think about it, in the future when you do snag another contract, may think, hum, yeah, great author, but I'm going to get left high and dry again. (To them it's all the author's fault, even when the situation is explained they don't completely understand the enormity of the situation, or may think it's a good 'excuse'... they just don't know what a sharky unstable place the publishing world is.)

Anyway, it's a thought.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I confess that "podding" is a new word for me. So, having looked it up, I'm assuming you're referring to self-publishing (via a podcast) the final books rather than, you know, the rim jobs.

12:33 PM  
Blogger MissWrite said...

lmao... OMG... well, um, um, um, yeah, I meant POD'ing. I think I may go hide my head under a blanket now thinking about the other possible connection. Bye now.

1:11 PM  
Blogger MissWrite said...

and oops, no not via podcast. Doesn't everyone know what a pod book is? (Print on Demand--self published. Visit LULU.com for some info -- no I'm not affiliated with it, and there are lots of others, but that's about the easist one to understand.)

1:12 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Yes, I know what print on demand--POD--is. In fact, my first book, Catfish Guru, was published by iUniverse.

2:09 PM  
Blogger MissWrite said...

Well, anyway, didn't mean to sound insulting with that last post, it just didn't sound like you understood when you said via podcast. Regardless, was just a suggestion to give the readers what they want with a series that might be all but dead.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Misswrite--
I wasn't insulted. Amused, yes.

As for publishing the remaining Derek Stillwater books re. iUniverse, in my opinion, it's not the time for that.

Here's why.

They might still get picked up in the future if some of my other thrillers get picked up. But if I do publish them via iUniverse or others, the odds of that happening go down, simply because it's one more layer or rights and one more reason for publishers to say "no," in an industry that's already programmed to say no.

In other words, if I decide to do that, it means I've otherwise completely given up on them getting published somewhere else.

And having had one experience with POD and iUniverse, I'm not eager to do it again. It's not that I'm morally opposed to it, like, say, Lee Goldberg is, but that POD books get sold by hand, by their so-called publisher, or by Amazon, otherwise they don't get sold. Bookstores won't handle them. In other words, their distribution sucks big-time. Their distribution sucks because, frankly, they're a different business model than traditional publishing, which tries to sell a lot of books by relatively few authors. IUniverse, et al, have a stated business model of publishing very few books by a whole lot of people.

On a good day, POD is a way for people who don't have plans to actually have a career in writing to get their manuscript published so they can say, "Hey, I wrote a book," and have it on the shelf and sell it to family and friends.

On a bad day, POD are a bunch of parasites feeding off the dreams of people who are a little naive.

I'm sure there's a middle ground, and POD is essentially a technology, but, like I've said, I did it once, was somewhat happy with the result, but I'm not eager to go that route again.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Mark, Misswrite:
I could see, like JA Konrath, perhaps one day offering it as a freebie (the third book) on my website. I also hear Misswrite in that there are some in publishing who are encouraging the idea of backlist titles being offered in a POD-based model--but within the confines of a publishing house (i.e., they offer it and still calculate your royalties and sales). It would be a way of keeping some titles that would otherwise disappear in print, with little cost to the publisher. For someone like me, who has seen my sales rise and has people searching for out-of-print titles, even if it's just a few hundred copies, those are new readers, so it's food for thought.
E

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