Float Street Press on the road

Ed at COAS

Ed Teja at COAS Books

COAS BOOKS Display

Float Street Books on display at the checkout counter (and those of a few other folks too).

Jim at COAS

Jim Beckett mans the signing table at COAS.

The book signing at COAS Books in Las Cruces, New Mexico (on Saturday, Oct 26th) was great fun. We met a lot of people (the Farmer’s Market was going on just outside the door) and the people there are book lovers, which makes everything good.

Our focus was on promoting THE INVENTION OF CLAY MCKENZIE (especially given that the fictional author is from the nearby town of Deming, NM) but it was nice to make folks aware of us as semi-local authors. (It takes a little over two hours to drive to Las Cruces from Silver City).

We sold a few books, chatted with readers, and Mike Beckett (no relation to Jim), who owns the store, bought a few more to have in stock.

The Demise of “Hurry Up and Wait”?

Publishing has historically been a hurry up and wait business. The author has a deadline, the editor has one… everyone rushes through tight production schedules to meet publication/promotion targets that are keyed to business cycles and seasonal buying habits. So we scramble to get things done on time. And the timing is dictated by flow charts and manpower allocations and printing schedules.

That is changing I think and the concept of “on time” is losing its context for publishing. When a book is available (at least as an ebook) moments after it is uploaded and then stays available forever, more or less (the recent chaos with UK online sellers yanking books and closing sites proves the temporal quality might have newer aspects), the payback period becomes uncertain. ROI (return on investment) has become a rather muted metric. One book might pay dividends quickly and another slowly and why does it matter? What might be more important to publishers now is that the overall cash flow numbers are good. Certainly an author wants quick (and large) royalties for her book, but even if that doesn’t happen, it isn’t certain death for the author’s career.

Still, it’s hard to resist the insane desire to schedule things and get them out the door on time. I’m just not sure how much sense that attitude makes these days. Maybe the independent publishing revolution will also serve to mellow publishing out a bit. At Float Street Press we are trying to kick back a little and ensure that instead of meeting a rather artificial timetable, we give each book the attention and care it deserves. In some cases, we are revisiting layouts and covers and fixing things that rushing didn’t allow us to get right.