Some bummer news today. Permuted Press, which published THE INFECTION and THE KILLING FLOOR, intended to re-release both books as a single printed book (a “bindup”) for bookstore distribution in June 2015. Unfortunately, due to a change in their distribution deal, these Permuted bestsellers will not be included in the deal.
You may recall Permuted angered many of its authors last year when it signed too many authors and decided it could not afford the expense of doing a print version of the books. Many authors left the company as a result, and there was a very bitter and public storm over it. I sympathized with the authors, who got a raw deal, but defended the company as having made a mistake of overcommitment.
Now that I’m affected, I’ll stay true to principle and say the company had no choice in the matter of cutting my titles. They lost their distribution deal, and their new partner chose only a select few titles. That’s life.
However, Permuted has once again put itself in a position of overpromising and underdelivering. Small presses today have to find a way to add value. On one side, big publishing still dominates the market. On the other side, self published authors are offering good product at a lower price. To succeed, small presses have to deliver the quality and outreach of bigger publishers so as to compete with the many big publishing and self publishing books that are available.
With no print editions for new titles, little marketing (virtually none for my books), waning reputation and now a severely limited Platinum offering for bookstores, the company may have a difficult time justifying to an author why he or she should sign with them. Safe to say, I won’t be. In the end, Permuted’s new ownership didn’t do anything bad as far as I’m concerned. The problem is they did nothing.
The lesson for new authors looking at working with a small press is that while a publishing credit is personally satisfying, you have to ask what you’re actually getting for signing away rights to your work and most of the income. If you produce the work, and your promotion efforts end up generating most of the income, and the book will be digital-only, what is the publisher doing other than providing a proofread and cover? What are they providing you can’t do (and won’t end up doing either way) yourself?
It’s for these reasons I’ve started self publishing. I can control everything about the book from its cover to its editing to its price. That’s not to say I wouldn’t work with a small press again, but I will be expecting something more than just a cover and a brand to justify signing a deal.
For those of you who are fans of the series, my intent is to start working on a third book by the end of the year, which I’ll be self publishing.