The Goopy Ghost at Thanksgiving displayed at 40% of viewport width
November 2018 by V. R. Duin

HOW WRITERS AVOID
SELF-PUBLISHING HOUSE
HOLIDAY BOOK JAMS

Once the Browns had left the field,
towing home their tasty yield,
a sad and lonely goopy ghost
went in search of a friendly host.
(The Goopy Ghost at Thanksgiving)

Learn how writers avoid self-publishing house holiday book jams of ghost-like POD books to sell like mainstream books during holiday book sales.

Ghost-Like POD Books

Freewheeling? Print-on-demand is not compatible with sound business inventory management practices. Independent readers in search of unique POD books are unlikely to find them. They are intangible digital files.


All tied up? POD orders may not be filled in time for peak selling occasions. To keep sales in-house and prevent holiday jams of back orders, retailers encourage the purchase of best sellers printed and stocked in advance.


Kith and Kin? Virtual POD is akin to the supernatural world. Ghosts have no mass. Items of virtual reality may not become physical. POD books may never be printed. Advances and book sales are not guaranteed.


Sour Orange? POD books are put last in production. They rarely are held in business inventory for sale and distribution. Purchasers have no patience for products that are not immediately available.


Ghastly, not ghostly? Some books become “ghosts” of themselves. Independent publishing houses cannot keep up with the holiday demand for individual titles printed one volume at a time for individual purchasers.


The Round File? A file may be ready for viewing, printing or electronic transmission. Beyond courtesy supplies for the writer, the process is incomplete. It takes longer to complete releases with surging demand.


Pops of Color? The rush to release books can be scarier than a ghost. Printing and proofing errors are more likely to happen during seasons of holiday chaos. Few people slog through hasty, error-riddled text.


Combat Zone? Holidays are bad times for book launches. Printing houses are overwhelmed with anxious writers. Everyone wants to release books in time for important selling seasons. Books often remain works-in-process.


Stripe Back? Avant-garde readers may not wait for delivery. Innovative adaptations in the arts get buried beneath popular, established titles. New and struggling writers garner paltry sales without word-of-mouth reviews.

Self-Publishing Houses Don't Sell Books

What? Few self-publishing companies make money peddling books. They make money from packages: type formatting, composition and layout. Their job is to prepare print-ready work with which the creator can deal.


Contemplate Life? Self-published writers struggle for traction. Their materials rarely have a physical retail presence. Retailers, including Amazon, use non-compete contracts to limit where productions are merchandised.


Ho, Ho, Ho! Self-publishing houses do not make money printing individual books for the open market. They do not anticipate much of this activity. Less than one percent of these titles achieve significant market engagement.


Blech! Selling is not in self-publishing companies' job descriptions. Writers must promote their own sales from their own inventories. Readers may not take chances on unsold print stashes in remote garages or attics.


Night on the Town? Nothing is solid about Ghostly Feelings or unprinted books. Buyers expecting instant gratitude are likely to cancel special orders, printed one book at a time. Filling individual requests can take weeks.


At ease? Change offers hope for survival of pioneering information. Recent trends driven by e-commerce technologies, subscription services and format innovations keep E-books in supply. Printed books may be a dying form.

Sell Like Mainstream Books

Crossing over? Surprising best sellers reach the forefront. Sales surge for mistaken purchases of books with titles and appearances of hot sellers. This intentional mimicry further disrupts the market for less popular titles.


What a Trip! Retail inventory management is based on what moves. Titles must have stellar sales' histories. Otherwise, they will not be shelved or warehoused. Rebellious readers are unlikely to find these unique gems.


Golden Gut? Mainstream's incumbent authors leave little room for ground-breaking amateurs on collective shopping lists. The emphasis is on popular titles. Few writers hang around long enough to achieve brand name status.


Under the Sun? Never-before-seen titles by unfamiliar start-up originators require hard-hitting sales tactics. Readers shy away from dark pitches perceived as aggressive or desperate.


Clean slate? Traditional publishing houses anticipate demand. They print, stock and distribute in bulk to retailers. Product inventory is carefully managed to avoid frustrations with missing books or shelving errors.


Life's a picnic? Price-fixing may improve the competitiveness of reigning titles. A handful of publishers, distributors and book sellers work in concert to protect successful books and authors. This exerts a restraint on trade.


Hill Crop? People buy what is celebrated by others. Readers are not experimental, adventurous or forward-thinking with literature. Monopolies in mainstream keep unknown writers off book lists and out of physical stores.


Black Magic? Traditional readership is a communal mentality. Sellers control the market with price-cutting, sequels and generations of market exposure. A history of buying confidence reduces promotional efforts.


Holiday Book Sales

Ready for the Yottabyte? Online is a major marketplace. With digital retail, products and services find better opportunities outside bricks and mortar. Fast inventory flow allows online retailers to strike profitable bargains.


Fishing style? Chains may fill special orders for customers with independent books. Titles rarely are added to major online catalog listings. Sales often are deterred by no-return policies, bulk-order incompatibilities and slow printing.


Boat party? Shelf space is claustrophobic. Value accrues to products that are plentiful and known. Sales are critical to businesses. Retailers make money selling products, not storing them. They buy to meet demand.


It is expensive to hold an inventory of products for resale. Not many businesses are willing to accept the challenge of warehousing, marketing, advertising, promoting, wholesaling, retailing or shipping books.


Island Prime? Cost rises for better shelf positions. Stores charge promotion, advertising and stocking fees. The rapidly-shrinking number of stores puts a shorter supply of ideas on the market. Visibility matters to ghosts and writers.


Hasty Retreat? Friendly merchants may provide temporary free space. Their loyalty is with large publishers. If customers buy sufficient print quantities, independent titles may find permanent homes with traditional publishers.


Getting Personal? The last thing retailers want is impenetrable jams. Slotting fees charged for bricks-and-mortar shelf space range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The cost is comfortable for top sellers.


Lean Streak? It may be a good thing for some ghosts to disappear and not reappear, whether by command or on demand. Hickamsdictum.com notes the Rise of the Machines: eBooks & POD might help tech-savvy upstarts.