Thursday, 20 November 2008

Special Christmas Offer!

Dear Author,

As Christmas approaches, we want to say thank you to our authors for all the wonderful support you’ve given us over this last year. So here's our latest special offer for you all.

For a limited time only, all our authors will be given AN INCREDIBLE FORTY-FIVE PERCENT DISCOUNT on all orders.

There’ll be FREE SHIPPING for all orders of twenty copies or more.

And if you order fifty copies or more, you'll get AN EXTRA FIVE PERCENT DISCOUNT across your whole order!

This one-off holiday offer has to expire at close of business on Friday. Don’t get left without books for Christmas: place your orders now, so that we can ensure your books are delivered in good time for the holiday season.

Thank you!

Your Author Support Team

You don't see Random House sending letters like this to the writers they publish. That's because Random House is a commercial, mainstream publisher which sells its books to readers, and not to the people who wrote them.

Special author promotions like this are a sure sign that you're dealing with a vanity publisher, and not with a mainstream publisher.

If you get a letter like this from your publisher, take a moment to consider that few self-published or vanity-published books ever sell as many as 100 copies before you take advantage of their offer. Because if you don't, you're likely to end up with some very expensive boxes stacked up in your hallway for the next couple of years.


Brian Clegg said...

Jane -
Funnily enough, some mainstream publishers do do part of this. The last couple of years, for example, Pearson, which is a big, respectable publisher in business/education publishing has had special higher-than-usual author discounts at Christmas. What they don't do is limit the discount to your title, or specify how many copies you have to buy.

Jane Smith said...

Brian, as you say, mainstream publishers do do part of this--I know that big publishers will sometimes increase the discount they give to their authors, for example--but I've never heard of them really pushing those sales all year round, and they certainly don't depend on their sales to authors to make up the bulk of their sales.

Meanwhile, Pearson, eh? They're good. I like them.

Anonymous said...

My (big, mainstream, conglomorate) publisher gives me 40% authors' discount across their whole catalogue, as well as my own books, carriage free, as far as I remember, though I don't think they've ever announced a sale. Can't see a vanity/subsidy press doing that, can you?

Mind you, I can never remember which publishers belong to Hachette Livre apart from my own, so I always end up buying everything in Foyles anyway.

Anonymous said...

"Don’t get left without books for Christmas"? What does that even mean?

Your family and friends probably aren't going to wait until Christmas to get a copy of your book, so they've got their own copies. What do you do with all the extras? Just give them as presents to anyone and everyone you know, regardless of whether that person reads books in your genre or not?

Or do you escalate the self-promotion? Try to compete with all the other sales going on at Christmastime?

Jane Smith said...

Apologies for the comment-spam which appeared here just now: I've deleted it, and have switched on the comment moderation feature in an attempt to stop it happening again.