On October 24th, the blog, The 26th Story: Publishing on the Edge, did an interview with agent (and former publisher) Larry Kirshbaum. The first question they asked him was: If there was one thing you could change about our business, what would it be?
In his response, Kirshbaum said a couple of things that caught my attention:
I'd like to see less titles published by the large publishers….The larger publishers, having greater resources (and also larger infrastructures) seem to believe that the larger their lists, the more chances they'll have for scoring big successes….I would like to see publishers doing more marginal titles electronically -- with creative Internet promotion -- as their test market, then go to print if there's a sufficient response.Okay. Interesting thought. But, he’d already said big publishers weren’t doing a good job promoting their huge list of books.
Unfortunately, even when you have multiple imprints, size no longer works in their favor. (Large publishers tend to have smaller editorial and marketing entities but their sales functions are often centralized.) With our retailers being much more cautious (and not just during the present crisis), too often we see titles that get little display and virtually no promotion dollars. And of course the avalanche of titles is producing huge piles of returns from unsold copies.A commenter had this to say:
It's hard to see what would entice an author to go with a publisher under this model instead of just going it alone. If the publisher doesn't have the confidence and belief in a book to actually publish it, wouldn't the author be better served building their own online audience until someone does (or until they can successfully self-publish)?What do you think of Kirshbaum’s idea?