RARA-AVIS: Some thoughts on publishing

From: Terry Sanford ( mbtbone@yahoo.com)
Date: 23 Jan 2008

So many of my favorite writers are vanishing from the scene. Publishers seem to be targeting growth in sales over everything. The old days of consistent mid-list authors selling in the 12,000 to 15,000 copies range appears to be over.

Bill Pronzini told me several years ago how "lucky" he was to have two publishers, one for mysteries and the other for westerns. Then a year or two later, he announced that his "Nameless" series was going to end but, fortunately, another publisher stepped up with a two-book deal to "save' Nameless.

I think we're also past the phase in publishing where a promising writer can get a three-book contract for a new series.

I have to admire the hustle of writers today. Mr. Kantner, you keep writing the Ben Perkins novels and I'll keep buying them. I'm glad to see John Lutz back in hardcover books and although I'd love to see his Nudger series revived, I am skeptical of that happening.

I don't mean to sound sardonic to Mr. King but Putnam may be the publisher for him. Lord knows the Robert B. Parker novels they've put out over the last few years have the widest margins and thickest pages I've seen.

As a former book dealer, I have a lot of sources where I can buy new books cheap but I make a point to "support" my favorites authors' sales numbers by buying from Amazon and the like. I guess that's the most I can do other than touting those writers to anyone interested. So Bill Crider, Steve Brewer, Rob Kantner, Bill Pronzini. Terrill Lankford, Les Roberts and more can count on a sale of their newest book to me! Maybe that's the only answer for the fans, buy your favorite author's book new and do it today!

Terry Sanford

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