Ironically for someone who works in academic publishing, I have my own issues of how books are priced. I understand why, however, because I can see sales trends. When it comes to authoring my own books I’ve learned how to write for general readers. Not all publishers know how to price for that. Already I’ve had one friend blanch at the price of Nightmares with the Bible and the hope is that it does well enough in the library market to earn a paperback. I also know paperback sales seldom reach the level of hardcover sales from academic presses. Much of it is driven by demand. If people know about the book and ask their libraries to buy it, and this is key—check it out—that has a way of sometimes snowballing enough to convince a publisher that there’s an individual market.
Since I’m plotting the progress on Nightmares here on this blog, I’ll point out that the book has its own page on my website (located here). Actually, all my books have their own page, but since my website is in the low-rent district of the internet not many readers venture here. Yesterday I added the back-cover blurbs to the page. I did so with fear and trembling. Life has taught me not to take well to compliments. They make me uncomfortable, like strangers entering my house without masks on. Since I have no institution backing me, however, I need the praise of colleagues to convince others to buy this book. In my long-term thinking on the topic, I’m hoping Nightmares gets reviewed and people will get interested in Holy Horror, which didn’t get reviews but which is half the price.
In the biz we call this “platform building.” Those with healthier egos than mine hire their own publicists who boost their number of Twitter followers and get their names out there on the internet. My own platform building has been of the budget kind. I’m active on Goodreads to get followers. I’ll engage with any comments I get on social media. But I’m also a working stiff hoping desperately not to lose my job during this pandemic. The blurbs on Nightmares are very nice, and they note that I write for non-specialists. This blog is open to all comers, after all. Likes, shares, and comments all help. My thanks to my endorsers—you know who you are!—you made my day with your kind words.