Monday, August 18, 2008

How much more successful could Lorna have been?

Going back to the Lorna Page debacle and the storm that seems to be brewing regarding her novel, A Dangerous Weakness, I am beginning to think more and more than she is a victim of the press. Ordinarily I would try to avoid the use of the V word, but in this case, there isn't really another I can use. Of course the whole affair is also helping to highlight print on demand and the problems that we face. While the rumours persist, it is not however, the kind of publicity that we need. It certainly isn't doing her any favours.

I see from Waterstones website that despite all the publicity, not one single branch has copies in stock, of either the hard or paperback. The paperback has though been slightly reduced, so I guess people must be buying online. Of course the reason it is not in stock is because as a print on demand book, it is non returnable.

Of course it would be a different story had she published with Richard at Authors OnLine Ltd. When Martin Baum, one of his authors (To Be or Not To Be Innit) published his book earlier this year, one of the first things he did was send a copy to Peter North, independent author advisor for Waterstones. They kept in touch, and when the book made the national headlines, following Martin's contact with his local media, and was subsequently featured on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff', Peter emailed him to le him know that he would take the book as core stock. Martin (and Peter) contacted Richard to give him the news.
Richard was straight on the phone to Lightning Source to hammer out a deal, by agreeing with them to make the book returnable (core stock is supplied direct by the printer/publisher, cutting out the wholesalers etc, whom he could otherwise have turned to). For all their muscle and grand postering about how they are the biggest and most succesful POD provider, I cannot see Authorhouse doing this. Thank goodness then I saw through the hype, as had I gone with them, I doubt if my book would got into those stores either. This is then yet another example of an author failing to do their research and blindly going for the same publisher as recommended by a family member/friend.

Mind you, I cannot blame her, and Cate seems to have done an admirable job in her role as publicist. The fact that the press did what they did is (probably) not her fault. At the age of 93 it is still a remarkable achievement. If the book is already this successful though without being returnable, just think how much more successful it could have been if it was.