The Goopy Ghost at Thanksgiving makes a holiday book jam of this squashed spirit displayed at 40% of viewport width.
November 2020 by Terry Verduin


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 will not find incomplete formats stuck in intangible digital files.

The Round File? A file may be ready for viewing, printing or electronic transmission. Beyond courtesy supplies for the writer, the process is incomplete. Surging demand slows the finalization of productions.

Ghastly or 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.

Calculated Risk?

All Tied Up? POD orders may not be filled in time for peak selling occasions. To keep sales in-house and prevent holiday back-order jams, retailers promote top-selling titles. These are printed in advance.

Sour Orange? POD books are last in production. They rarely are held in business warehouses for sale or distribution. Purchasers have no patience. Unavailable titles send them elsewhere. There's plenty of competition.

Kith and Kin? Virtual POD is akin to the supernatural world. Ghosts have no mass. Items of virtual reality lack physical dimension. POD books may never be printed. Neither advances nor book sales come with guarantees.

Holiday Bash

Combat Zone? Holidays present disadvantages for book launches. Printing houses are overwhelmed with anxious writers. Everyone wants to get ahead of important selling seasons. Books often remain works-in-process.

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.

Tough Luck? 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.

Production Rush

Pops of Color? The rush to release books can be scarier than a ghost. Printing and proofing errors commonly occur during seasons of holiday chaos. Few people slog through these hasty, error-riddled texts.

Stripe Back? New and struggling writers, without word-of-mouth reviews, garner paltry sales. Avant-garde readers may not take a chance on innovations. New talent gets buried beneath popular, established titles.

Contemplate Life? Self-published writers struggle for traction. Their materials rarely have a broad retail presence. Retailers, including Amazon, use non-compete contracts to limit merchandising locations.

Self-Publishing Houses Don't Sell Books

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

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.

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.

Self-Published Writers Must Sell 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.

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. There's nothing ghostly about ghastly.

Matchmaking? Creators need to get close to the merchants. Few self-published writers work for a creative industry. This makes connecting far more difficult. Books are suspect and sales languish, due to quality concerns.

Road Warriors

Not Their Own Wares? Self-publishing houses do not solicit unknown book titles for their exclusive brand, pay for the production of titles by unknown authors, or have existing lines tied to unknown and unproven new entrants.

End of the Line? The point is to get content to places where it will be read. There are too many choices in the fragmented landscape to reach eyeballs with isolated concepts. Specific targeting is necessary within each genre.

Trial Run? Author book-sales reports may not be accurate. It may be easier to list items produced and sold under one convenient title than to reflect actual cross-platform distributions of multiple books in a series.

Eggs in One Basket

Nowhere to Go? V. R. Duin books were published through Amazon-owned subsidiaries, now closed. Big money was paid to BookSurge and the subsequently-merged CreateSpace entity to get these titles on Amazon.

Three's Company? Amazon is the only sales channel available to most independent authors. Some authors gain visibility and renown through Amazon's KDP Select program. It also can lure eyeballs away.

Fuzzy Logic? Amazon drives prospective purchasers to other selling pages with “Did you mean” links. This author's V. R. Duin detail pages were redirected in this manner. Amazon also plays tricks with the search bar.

Sell Like Mainstream Books

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 unique gems.

Clean Slate? Traditional publishing houses anticipate demand. They print, stock and distribute in bulk to retailers. Product inventory carefully is 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.

Disappearing Act

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.

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.

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

Sticking Points

Boat Party? Shelf space is claustrophobic. Retailers make money selling products, not storing them. They buy to meet demand. Value accrues for plentiful products tied to persuasive action. Sales are critical to businesses.

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.

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.

Book Sales Holiday

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.

Ready for the Yottabyte? Online is a major retail marketplace. Better opportunities may exist for products and services beyond bricks and mortar. Fast dealing allows digital sellers 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. No-return policies, bulk-order incompatibilities and slow printing deter sales.

New Perspective

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

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 need a boost.

Punch Bowl? Book giveaways build client relations, expand followings, get attention, create interest and launch new product lines. Freebies are great introductions. They must be welcome bonuses, not forever expectations.

Change the Tune

New Friends? Stress relaxes when plans are placed in experienced mainstream hands. Retail goals are more likely to be accomplished when worries about day-to-day business operations fade into a three-year plan.

Three's Charm? This author has submitted her portfolio of Web and Literary properties to Lego® World Builder. The toy and entertainment company has a three-year acquisition budget for new story-line content.

Hurry the Wait? Singing or chanting the earworm below could scare up change in the monotonous haunts filled with everyday wares. Once they're “awoke”, merchants may begin to stock year-round holiday fare.

The Goopy Ghost of Halloween,

And every day in between!

Playing with Goop is so much fun!

Would you send him away?

Would you let him stay?

What would your mother say?

The Goopy Ghost of Halloween,

And every day in between,