I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE

Those of you who don’t necessarily keep up with the goings-on in the publishing world may not have heard that Dorchester Publishing (the publisher of my last four thrillers) has hit the financial skids and has decided to stop publishing mass market paperbacks. Instead, they're concentrating their efforts on eBooks and producing trade paperbacks on a print-on-demand basis (essentially printing a book as and when someone orders one).

This news isn't a total surprise. Dorchester’s shelf presence in the big bookstores has dwindled over the last couple of years. I foresaw something like this happening, just not so soon.

So what does this mean for me? It means my association with Dorchester is at an end and I’m in search of a new publishing home. Hopefully, something will break my way soon. It won't be for the lack of trying, that’s for sure. It also means that my books will be disappearing from bookstores in the next few weeks (and that includes Terminated, which just came out). Stores will have to decide to keep or return what they have. Whatever is on bookshelves now is it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. In the meantime, I face a tough battle negotiating the rights back to my novels—and receiving as yet unpaid royalties. There's also a chance that I won’t get paid everything I’m owed, which is a bitter pill to swallow.

I could bitch and whine (and Lord knows I feel like it), but it’s not going to change anything. The situation is what it is. It’s a blow but I’ll move on. I don’t have a choice. These musings might sound a little philosophical, but I like to think I’m a little more battle-hardened than most. I’ve been in this position before. My break into publishing was through the small press. Their financial stability rests on a very unstable fault line between success and failure. Of the six small presses I’ve worked with over the years, only two are still in existence. I always considered my novel, We All Fall Down, my doomsday book, because three small presses took the book under contract then promptly went bust. With the problems at Dorchester, maybe We All Fall Down still possesses apocalyptic powers. Because of these experiences and I’ve developed the attitude that nothing is assured in publishing. No publishing contract is for life. The publisher could cut me at any time and my latest book could be my last. This isn't a defeatist or loser attitude. It’s a realistic one. Storytelling is a craft, but publishing is a business. It’s a ruthless game at times.

So what does this mean to my readers? Not too much, I think. It’s probably going to be some time before they see another book of mine published. So people are going to have to hang in there. I could ask people to boycott buying any of my Dorchester titles, but I won't. In the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. If someone wants to read my books, I’d rather they did and not concern themselves with the behind the scenes problems. The issues I have with Dorchester are mine and don’t really affect anyone else but me. I urge people to continue reading my work and posting reviews as this is the best way to help me. If some people want to boycott Dorchester over their new business direction, that’s for them to decide. The only reason I’m discussing any of this now is because of the emails I’ve been receiving from people over the last month since Dorchester dropped the news. People have been asking my opinion and inquiring about what happens to my books.

All I can say is the situation is unfortunate and while it does get me down from time to time, it won't get in my way from writing my next book.

See you on the bookshelves,
Simon
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Published on September 16, 2010 09:46 Tags: dorchester, publisher, simon-wood
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