Paradigms: Not An Author’s Best Friend

November 29th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Sarah has an interesting post (and subsequent discussion) at the Idiosyncratic Mind on the effects of globalization when it comes to breaking into new international markets. She starts with a message from Lindsey Davis, who has lost her U.S.-based published. Davis indicates it’s due to sales via UK that resulted in her publisher’s reluctance to continue distributing her; Sarah builds on this idea while backbloggers look at other reasons behind a publisher dropping an author.

As always, we fall firmly in the wishy-washy crowd. Fans who buy the UK version of Davis’s book via Amazon rather than waiting for the US version to be (belatedly) released surely impact potential sales. A publisher depends on word of mouth and initial sales when new titles are released. While the world of mouth may be there, the sales won’t. It’s possible that Davis’s US numbers simply couldn’t support these lost sales — while cross-Atlantic sales wouldn’t be enough to make up for the lost contract.

A simultaneous (or close to it) release of a book in major territories is highly desirable. People are fickle. Readers move on to the next book — after all, we all have far too many to read. If the US released is delayed by a year or more, and a book is ordered and read upon release in its home territory, the reader will likely not be as enthused about engaging in the necessary discussion and recommending a smaller title needs to attain success. Simultaneous releases allow fan bases on both sides of the Atlantic to generate the type of buzz that allows an author to cross over into new markets.

But publishing tools along merrily on an old business model. The stepped-release pattern is a classic, and one surely doesn’t mess with that. Of course, it also came into being long before the Internet and modern distribution channels. What made sense twenty-five or seventy-five years ago may need to be revisited. In the meantime, there’s a British author out there looking to break into the U.S. market…

File Under: Square Pegs