At BookLocker, we reject more than 95% of incoming submissions. This typically results in questions like this one, which arrived in my in-box last week. While some rejected authors can get very abusive (even though I’ve just refused to take their money), this individual was very kind.
Impulsively, I feel comfy in asking you a question.
What does it matter if the market is “saturated” as you put it, when “oceans” of POD books fail to sell?
If “cold turkey”, a POD publisher suffers no financial loss in readying a book for sale, does it really matter whether it is thought of as a late comer?
One feels loathe in thinking that they, i.e. the POD publishers at large, presume to be gifted with an un-erring ESP as to what will sell and what won’t.
If this makes sense to you, any chance of re-considering?
While other POD companies don’t mind taking money from an author, even if they think a book won’t sell, we do. At BookLocker, we don’t do business that way. We’re not going to give an author false encouragement by accepting their book (and taking their money) if we don’t think that book is going to sell well. Sure, we’re wrong sometimes-but that doesn’t mean we’re going to start accepting all books in the hopes that some will eventually sell. While “oceans of POD books fail to sell”, most do so because they’re not well written, because the market is already saturated with that particular genre, and/or because the author isn’t marketing the title effectively.
Since 9-11, the market has literally been flooded with religious books. That’s why we haven’t sought any new religious titles in the past couple years and why we’re not seeking them in the foreseeable future. (One author in particular called me a Satanist last week for refusing to consider her religious book. She sent me seven hateful emails in a row. Why do people have to be nasty like that?)
Anyway, we are accepting other genres for consideration. We’re particularly interested in how-to business books and academic texts. I, personally, love memoirs but they have to be well-written and apply to a specific audience. (Last week, I accepted a book of memoirs by a woman who adopted a wild mustang and I know there are numerous horse enthusiasts across the country who would love to read her book. I plan to buy one for my mother once it’s on the market. And, yes, authors earn royalties on books I buy for myself or my friends/family. I don’t get free books!) We’ve published several memoirs from veterans about their war experiences. Those typically sell well, too. Fiction doesn’t sell well unless an author has a following, or gets good press, or if they tie that fiction to a specific geographic area or real historical event. children’s fiction by unknowns rarely sells and we usually reject that.
Many authors ask how we can afford to publish books at a fraction of the amount the other major POD publisher are charging. That’s because we don’t profit on setup fees. We profit on book sales. Since most POD publishers make more money on setup fees than on book sales, they’re not concerned with publishing junk (which is why they publish almost everyone).
I know it’s hard for people to understand that we’re turning down business from authors who are ready and willing to pay right now. But, we are a small company and prefer to stay that way. We don’t want to turn into an author-mill like our competitors who publish everything and don’t care about the quality of their inventory or how much money their authors will eventually lose after they’ve paid so much to publish their books. I just think that is very wrong.