This is an unusually frank and very disturbing post from a small publisher.
Two Ravens Press: The real story: publishing, four and a half years on
Okay, so promotions really aren’t the answer either. I know – reviews. Get the books reviewed, and they’ll sell. Right? – Wrong. Almost all of our books have had serious and positive reviews in major national newspapers and literary magazines. And in other publications. And on blogs. And even on Radio 4. And only three of our novels have ever sold more than 1000 copies, no matter how glowing the reviews and how extensive the publicity.
But you’ve missed the obvious solution! – we’re told. Make e-books, and then you’ll have no print costs! Right. But you have fixed costs to make the e-book file in the first place, and the ongoing costs of secure storage facilities, and distributors and wholesalers still take the same percentages for e-books as for print books, and there are still royalties to be paid, and the overheads for running the business don’t much change … just missing out on print costs doesn’t help nearly as much as you’d imagine. And besides – whatever the publishing ‘experts’ would like to tell us, e-book sales are still pretty slim in this country – especially for literary fiction. We’ve had e-books for a couple of years now, sold through our website and also fully distributed through a major wholesaler, and our bestselling e-book has sold about ten copies.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
It took guts to publish that one. Scariest book I’ve ever read.
Update: Well, well, well. Now we can understand why Two Ravens’ eBooks have sold so few! Moriah Jovan left a Comment which I’m moving up into this post too:
Okay, I went there to get SENSELESS. I’ll get it, make no mistake. But the buying rigmarole you have to go through is bullshit.
Not only do they put DRM on the file, but they individually number and watermark the EPUBs and PDFs. Thus…
They have to email you the file… and it MIGHT take 24 hours for you to get something whose raison d’etre is instant gratification.
No wonder they aren’t making any money. They aren’t visible and the customer has to work too hard to give them money.
If it didn’t come without a rec from you, I wouldn’t have bothered, and then I would have written a scathing WTFery post on how NOT to treat ebook customers.
Well, now if you do a post, you can go into the details. Meanwhile, this now exists as an explanation for part of their troubles.