These are gorgeous books. Each one is about 100 8.5 x 11 pages of articles, tutorials and information for creators in the fantasy/sci fi genre. Topics range from taxes, finances, legal issues, how-tos and techniques for a dozen medias, discussion of methods and means, the editing process, the creative process, staying sane in an insane world, being ecologically responsible, balancing family, jobs and art... between these three volumes there are more than 100 articles. Priced between $20 and $30, they are cheaper than similar books on the market, as well-printed (or more), as well-written (or more) and far more practical. (Click on the links above to order, or visit the EMG-Zine sponsorship page to order with subscriptions.)
People who have them, love them. People say they want to own them. People advertise enthusiastically on my behalf for them. People... do not buy them.
I have about $5000 and probably 200 hours invested in the stock that I have left, and about $150 of advertising. Purchases of the first two were just enthusiastic enough for me to put the third out, and I know that having a backlist and maintaining a line of books is an important business plan - I sort of expected to take a hit on the first, improve with the second and maybe break even with the third. That's how publishing often works, and I'm a long-term sort of person.
This third one? Has been a complete flop.
I mean, I could not have flopped harder on this one if I tried. I raved about it in my journal as I worked on it, and people bounced about it. I did an innovative offer where people could save money on their orders if they helped me spread the word - and they very enthusiastically jumped up to share information about it... then did not order to take advantage of their discount.
1 retail, with discount
1 redemption for credits earned through EMG-Zine.
Four copies, none at full retail.
Some of my weirder ideas and projects? Sure, I can see why some of it didn't shoot me to instant fame and fortune.
But these books? Are seriously awesome. My very, very picky husband, who has no particular enthusiasm for fantasy, has read this series and asked me in astonishment, "Why don't they teach classes out of these books?" He thinks they're one of the best things I've ever accomplished.
I have to admit, I am baffled by this one, as well as understandably crushed. I poured a lot of my time and passion into these books. My return? Thousands of dollars in tied-up capital, frustration and bafflement. It has caused a personal cascade failure of self-doubt and discouragement.
On the plus side? This is a very easy decision that does not require any further thought or action: the line of anthologies is hereby canceled. There will be no volume 4!
*dusts off hands*
That one was easy, at least, if not painless.