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My new thriller 'The CIRCLE of SODOM'

Discussion in 'Writers' Room' started by patmullan, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. patmullan

    patmullan New Member

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    My BOOKFORUM review page


    The reviews are coming in - and they're great! Here's just one:
    (go to my listing on Amazon.com and see what your average reader is saying!):


    "You know you're reading a good thriller when you start to cast it for the movie before you've even finished." Eithne Hannigan, BOOK REVIEWS, CONNEMARA LIFE magazine, Autumn 2002


    You know you're reading a good thriller when you start to cast it for the movie before you've even finished. The plot is as complex as a Grisham novel, with twists and turns that kept me reading all night. It deals with corruption in high places and sinister secret societies and collusion between those who want more power.

    The characters are exceptionally well drawn and the dialogue fairly whips along. With the action moving from the elegant rooms of the White House to shootings in New York bars, car chases and mysterious cult rituals, the story catapaults the reader around the United States with confidence. As the plot thickens - as they say! - paranoia battles with genuine anxiety about the U.S. government under threat from those who have a blackmailing agenda.

    All the ingredients for a good thriller are here. Owen MacDara is an ex-medical intern who served in Korea, now a millionaire business consultant. His previous history in the army leads him to take up a personal vendetta for the deaths - or are they murders? - of several of his former army buddies. His soulmate is the beautiful daughter of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff upon whom MacDara had operated, in strictest confidentiality, in Korea. The subplots interweave as the protagonists' lives become affected by seemingly unrelated killings. Only MacDara begins to sense a more wide-ranging conspiracy.

    The details about the internal workings of the U.S. President's office and the machinations of those 'who would be king' are neatly plotted, with enough kidnappings, torture and sex to satisfy any connoisseur of the thriller genre.

    It's pacey and exciting and filmic in its descriptions, and is an impressive first novel.

    Definitely a gripping read for those long winter evenings ...........


    Eithne Hannigan, BOOK REVIEWS, CONNEMARA LIFE magazine, Autumn 2002 "You know you're reading a good thriller when you start to cast it for the movie before you've even finished." [
     
  2. Darren

    Darren Active Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Children of Hurin
    It certainly looks like it's a good read Pat. I found it on Amazon.co.uk, but at £15 for the paperback and £23 for the hardback it's much more expensive than your average book. Is this something to do with the "Print on Demand" publishing you're using?
     
  3. patmullan

    patmullan New Member

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    Hello Darren,

    Yes, you're absolutely right. If POD pricing could be made competitive and a return policy established with distributors and retail - just like traditional publishers - but still retaining the 'never out of print' and 'print on demand' capability, then we would truly have a product that could go 'head on' with the big traditional publishers. As a matter of fact, if that was solved, then they would also become POD publishers...

    I've pasted below a couple of interesting comments on the subject..

    Cheers,
    Pat.

    ...but my book is still a good deal - it's in many of my local stores (and selling) at a euro price of about €13 to €15 ( I am the distributor - using my author volume discount I can put them in stores on consignment and the stores can still get their 30% to 40% markup) ..........comparable prices for a quality trade paperback like mine range from €11 to about €13 so it is competitive .........

    Cheers,
    Pat.


    Some Observations About Print On Demand Title Pricing
    By Jim Cox of Midwest Book Review

    Yesterday and today I was busy editing a whole raft of reviews of POD published titles for the June issue of our newest online book review magazine: Small Press Bookwatch -- and in the process of my editing and layout efforts, something started to impress itself upon me over and over again.
    The cover pricing of trade paperback books, fiction and non-fiction, from POD publishers like iUniverse, 1st Books, AmErica House, Trafford and others is drastically non-competitive with similiar trade paperback titles coming from the likes of HarperPenguin, Vintage, Plume, Houghton Mifflin, and other "traditional" publishers.
    And I'm speaking of POD titles that passed my initial selection process, were good enough to achieve a review assignment, and whose reviews came in recommending the title (often _highly_ recommending the title) to its intended readership.
    Three examples just off this morning's stack of reviews:
    Tom Wedderburn's Life (AmErica House, fiction, 206 pages) $19.95, Outsourcing The American Dream (iUniverse, non-fiction, 183 pp.) $16.95, and Only The Determined (1st Books, fiction, 115 pages) $12.42.
    If each of these titles had been published by a Random House or Penguin-Putnam as one of their trade paperback imprints the prices would have been something very like:
    Tom Wedderburn's Life $12.95, Outsourcing The American Dream $14.95, and Only The Determined $8.95.
    And this pricing differential seems to be pretty much across the board with a two to seven dollar gap spanning the difference between POD titles and traditionally published titles.
    The irony is that these seemingly overpriced POD books (remember that each and every one also earned a positive review) is quite probably going to founder and fail in the competitive book selling marketplace -- or end up being severely discounted so as to eventually become saleable.
    If these POD pricings are the result of careful financial number crunching based on the costs of production, distribution, marketing, and profit margins -- then I don't know what the answer is to make them commercially viable in competing with the thousands of other books of similar nature, page count, literary quality, and format being offered to the reader public by the major houses.
    But this is most definitely a problem that must be solved if the POD published author is to be able to have their efforts (and financial investment) pay off for them in more than just some kind of hobbyist satisfaction of having their work published.
    Jim Cox
    Midwest Book Review
    http://www.midwestbookreview.com


    PRICING UNIT COST in the traditional publishing model
    By Jim Baen of BAEN BOOKS

    This answer was given to a request to reprint even a few copies of =End Run= which is out of print
    The problem is, we can sell maybe a thousand a year while we need to print 15,000 to justify printing at all because a large part of the printing cost is "set-up." Thus if set-up is the same for printing a thousand at, say $4500, while actual printing costs are fifty cents per unit, the actual cost per unit in the first case is a five thousand dollars for a thousand units, or a prohibitive $5 per unit, whereas in the second case the cost is twelve thousand dollars for 15,000 units, or eighty cents per unit.
    If I sell books for six bucks that cost me five bucks just to manufacture I'll go broke pretty fast. I get maybe two bucks per book to pay for everything except distribution -- the bookstore's profit, authors royalty, manufacturing, cover art, rent and electricity.... everything including baby's new shoes.
    Hope this helps. :)
    --Jim Baen
    BAEN BOOKS
     
  4. obarz

    obarz kickbox

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    I agree that there is disparity in unit costing between POD and traditionally published works. PODs are more expensive to produce and, using standard calculations, come out to have pricier list prices.

    Hoever, what some POD publishers fail to take into account is the major difference in the cost structures between the two methods of doing business. Regular publishers must factor in the investment (and risk) costs of creating inventory--a considerable cost as Baen's setup example shows. POD publishers do not make an investment in inventory nor do they run the risk of throwing out unsold books. But many POD publishers do not reflect this very-much-lower overhead cost of operating in their list price calculations. They continue to use the same cost/selling price formulas that obtain for inventory publishing. I believe that this will slowly change with time in grade as POD publishers come to recognize the economics of their business.

    These formulas are presented in an adjacent string that I started in this forum called "Comparison of Traditional Publishing to Print-on-Demand." It is found in "Writing and Publishing" under "Writer's Block" (Hmmm--maybe it should be called Writer's UNblock as POD allows greater numbers of titles to be published--a major point in the presentation pointed to in that thread.)
     
  5. Prolixic

    Prolixic kickbox

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    Do you think you could give a link to this quote? Its probably from the bar, right?
     
  6. patmullan

    patmullan New Member

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    ...I believe that the source for Jim Baen was the message board/discussion forum on the Baen Books website .....:) :) :)
     
  7. Prolixic

    Prolixic kickbox

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    Yeah, I think I saw that one on a website, you know on the Internet. :):):)

    (Insert smart aleck chuckle here.)

    I meant, where on the Bar? Mr. Baen's got a jillion posts on that thing. I mean, it would be easy to take a quote out of context if you weren't aware of the discussion it came from.
     
  8. Mike Feury

    Mike Feury kickbox

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    In short, they are. We only do PODs for promotional purposes, plus whatever quantity the author may be able to sell themselves to personal contacts. POD is not marketable to the general public.

    I think ebooks are the only viable option for small publishers and authors--but of course that's still a small market. But it will continue to grow, and quickly once a widely-marketable reading device becomes available.
     
  9. patmullan

    patmullan New Member

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    POD Sales

    Mike,

    It's true that I listed many of the disadvantages of POD - but there are many advantages (..if it's a 'good' book and not just one of the 'vanity' type and/or poorly written and edited ones that permeate the entire POD world) . ..the advantages:

    - the author usually retains ALL rights

    - the book is always available : never goes out of print or gets
    'remaindered'

    - as we learn to access that vast new consumer market (and as
    the distribution technology - not necessarily ebook - becomes
    more cost effective and user friendly) and as consumer book
    buying behavio(u)r share decreases in the 'bricks and mortar'
    outlets and increases elsewhere - and as the major publishers
    realize that they must embrace this future ----- then 'good POD'
    books are the product that should be able to capitalize on this.

    Even now my thriller, The CIRCLE of SODOM has attracted good professional reviews and sales are increasing. When my novel went on sale on Amazon a few months ago it had a sales ranking of about 2,900,000. Well, in the past 2 months my number has been steadily climbing and people have commenced to buy. It has been as low (ggod) as 3,413 about a week ago and as of today my ranking stands at 38,476. Why? I don't know. Looks like they've discovered me! I guess Amazon has noticed too because as they have offered me as a 'Great Buy' with Jeffery Deaver's latest 'The Vanished Man'.

    You can visit my listing at Amazon here:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/075969222X/qid=1040975754/sr=12-1/104-3496076-8347919?v=glance&s=books

    Cheers,
    Pat Mullan
     
  10. patmullan

    patmullan New Member

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    Hello again ...

    Mike,

    Just looked you up at Atlantic Bridge and discovered that you are a fellow countryman .........I'm from Derry .....

    Look up my AuthorsDen site - at the moment I'm using my domain name for it: www.patmullan.com


    Best of luck to you and Linda with your enterprise.

    Slan,
    Pat Mullan
     
  11. Mike Feury

    Mike Feury kickbox

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    Hi Pat,

    Yep, I was dragged up around Limerick. Lived in Belfast for a short while, but never made it to Derry. And just to prove I visited your site, let me say:

    In terms of quality time--if you like--at the end of the day it's eclectic, if you will. :D

    It's wonderful to see you're now 'living your dream' [should that be on your list?] though, fair play to you boy :)

    I think there are 2 killers for POD--setup costs and distribution. My background in a previous life is manufacturing, so I won't say setup can't be solved. Printing is a very old industry, so it's likely been one of the slowest to adopt new techniques--so there may be scope to streamline it.

    However, it's also a very competitive industry with low margins, so it's likely that many companies won't have the resources to invest in the extensive changes required. If setup will be solved, it'll probably be 10+ years before we'll see it.

    Distribution is another matter. Most bookshops won't deal with POD because they can't return unsold copies, plus of course they don't want to move from having 10 suppliers to 10,000--you can see the admin nightmare I'm sure.

    The other point is that distribution doesn't matter in the least if the author isn't able or willing to market. Book on Amazon? So what--how will anyone find it among the other hundreds of thousands?

    It's safe to assume your success Pat comes from the obvious efforts you've put into marketing yourself and your titles--your website is one good example. Our best selling titles are always those of our authors who are 'known' through their own efforts.

    Ebooks solve the physical problems like setup and shipping, and thereby become much easier to distribute also. But they don't solve the marketing problem--I think that's always going to depend on the author, although of course a good publisher in support will certainly help.

    The problem of being one title among millions will never go away :)
     
  12. patmullan

    patmullan New Member

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    Thank you !

    ..thanks for the kind words, Mike - and for your insight and perspective on the strange world of publishing ........

    Good luck!

    Slan,
    Pat.
     

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