Friday, November 5, 2010

Author involvement in selling books

Nobody can deny that authors should help to promote and sell their books. This seems to be standard procedure in the big countries. I find though that the author/publisher situation in the Caribbean, especially for trade books, is sort of unknown territory.

Text books don't need author involvement in the same way, and most of our publishers - the bigger ones - specialize in text book publishing - it is, after all, their bread and butter

But for the trade books - take the business of authors getting copies of their books. If you have a good ongoing relationship with your publisher, chances are you can get copies on consignment. But here's the problem , you have to sell off what you take in a limited time, or return the books or pay for them.

Now, I am supposing that most Caribbean authors are like me with limited disposable income to wrap up in purchasing significant copies of their books, unless there is certainty of sales. It's usually a few books sold here and there, even at literary functions. But, one never knows when an opportunity might arise for a sale, and it is useful to have books at hand.

Personally, I have a good relationship with my publishers, but I know other writers who complain about the reluctance of publishers to give books on consignment. (In fairness some publishers have problems getting payment even for books on consignment to bookstores)  But, since the publisher is in charge of royalties and can withhold the payment for the books the author has taken, why the reluctance?

What do you think? (My comments section should be working now)
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