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Thread: Ridan Publishing

  1. #1
    Purveyor of sacrilege davidhburton's Avatar
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    Ridan Publishing

    Anyone got the skinny on these guys? P&E doesn't say much except "A publisher". I know they publish Michael J. Sullivan and more recently have taken on Nathan Lowell.

    Just seeing what the collective mind has on them.

    http://www.ridanpublishing.com/

    Thanks!!
    David
    David H. Burton - http://davidhburton.com


  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW MickRooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidhburton View Post
    Anyone got the skinny on these guys? P&E doesn't say much except "A publisher". I know they publish Michael J. Sullivan and more recently have taken on Nathan Lowell.

    Just seeing what the collective mind has on them.

    http://www.ridanpublishing.com/

    Thanks!!
    David
    The following two quotes from their 'about us' page (bold my emphasis):

    Ridan is a traditional publisher not a vanity press or pay-for-services organization. We are classified as a "small press" and focus on a core group of books and authors. We carefully select our authors to ensure that all Ridan titles provide a good read that you will want to pass on to others. We are currently focusing on works of fiction. In addition to providing typical publishing activities: editing, interior layout, cover design, back of book copy, printing, electronic book production, and distribution we also provide marketing services.
    The real question is; are these 'services' charged to the author? (bold my emphasis)

    All books produce by Ridan are available on-line at major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Alibris.com. They are also available through virtually any bookstore via Ingram and Baker & Taylor Distribution services. In general, books from "small publishers" are not routinely stocked (as shelf space is limited and in many times paid for by the large publishing houses), however, readers can always go the the Information desk with the ISBN and order the book. In some cases, the book store may require pre-payment.
    While I appreciate the difficulties a 'small publisher' has attaining shelf space, this form of 'availability' sounds distinctly like the claimed 'distribution' many POD (print on demand) publishers and author solutions services offer to self-publishing authors. It doesn't look to me like this small press has any real dedicated sales distribution to brick n mortar stores.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Ridan does not charge their authors for anything including their marketing services. Furthermore they do not "claim" anything as far as distribution. The quote MickRooney posted is quite accurate and self-apparent. Ridan is a small press and its business model takes advantage of the POD technology that reduces liability which is at the heart of most independent publisher failures. This reduced risk factor is what makes it possible for them to offer their writers what I am certain is the best contracts in existence. Contracts that actually favor the writer rather than the publisher.

    The trade-off is that your books will not be on brick and mortar shelves. You can order them from a bookstore, and you can have them order the books for a signing (which does get them on the shelves usually) but they won't be sitting in every store visible to new readers.This is a huge trade-off because one of the best methods of selling a book is still by way of it sitting out on a display stand at the entrance of bookstores. Ridan can't do that. Only the biggest publishers can. Instead, the bulk of their marketing is through the Internet, which, while not as good as consistent bookstore presence or a prime-time television spot, is still pretty good if you have the right contacts, and Ridan is developing those.

    In short, if you want to sell lots of copies of your novels, and if you can land a Random House or even a Tor, do so. If you can't, or if you're paranoid about your rights, or want more control over the process, there is no better deal in the world for an author than Ridan. You do not pay them a cent. They let you keep all your rights. You keep the lion's share of the profits, and you can cancel the contract at anytime. Of course, the downside to that is that they reserve the same right, and they can drop you at a moment's notice if you become too high maintenance. In that sense, it is a true partnership.

    This might sound great to some people, and it is, if like me you've had experience with other publishers, but Ridan is very picky. I can't say that they refuse submissions, because they have actually asked my opinion on a few, but their business model is more based on approaching authors with good track-records. Writers who might have self-published or been dropped by another indy who went bankrupt. To date, I don't think anyone in the Ridan's stable has been picked from a slush pile--but I know they do have one. So all of their authors were vetted through public opinion before they quietly tapped them on the shoulder.

  4. #4
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, Michael, andd welcome to AW.

    As a point of clarification, do you work for Ridan?

    Michael J Sullivan:
    This reduced risk factor is what makes it possible for them to offer their writers what I am certain is the best contracts in existence.
    How is it "the best contracts in existence"? Does Ridan offer to pay authors an advance? Does it limit the rights that it takes and the territories it takes rights for? How are royalties calculated - on cover price or net?

    Michael J Sullivan:
    They let you keep all your rights.
    I doubt this. Authors keep the copyright in their work anyway, but for Ridan to operate as a publisher they need to be granted publishing rights and the grant of this will use up first publishing rights.

    Michael J Sullivan:
    the downside to that is that they reserve the same right, and they can drop you at a moment's notice if you become too high maintenance.
    Define "high maintenance"?

    Michael J Sullivan:
    it is a true partnership
    Given that, from what you seem to be saying it looks like the authors are doing all the really hard work of getting their books out there to people, organising signings and even perhaps having to buy copies of their books to make sure that they are shelved in bookstores. Is this correct?

    MM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J Sullivan View Post
    Ridan is a small press and its business model takes advantage of the POD technology that reduces liability which is at the heart of most independent publisher failures. This reduced risk factor is what makes it possible for them to offer their writers what I am certain is the best contracts in existence. Contracts that actually favor the writer rather than the publisher.
    Michael, could you please expand on your belief that a POD press can offer authors the "best contracts in existence because they favor the writer rather than the publisher."?

    Ridan can't do that [get books on the store shelves]. Only the biggest publishers can.
    You couldn't more wrong. There are many small press books sitting on stores shelves - ours included.

    In short, if you want to sell lots of copies of your novels, and if you can land a Random House or even a Tor, do so. If you can't, or if you're paranoid about your rights, or want more control over the process, there is no better deal in the world for an author than Ridan.
    Sorry, but you're forgetting a very important layer of the publishing world - the independent trade press who has full national distribution and the ability to get books to market, not just merely make them available in the online stores.

    Ridan may be very good for what they do, but there is a big difference between someone who uses the digital printing technology and one who uses the Print On Demand business model.

    Many PODs go out of business because they run on shoe-string budgets. This means they can assume very little risk and rely heavily on their authors to promote and sell their books because they have no distribution. Because they have a shoe-string budget, editing and interior design are often inferior as well.

    How is this favorable to authors?

    Mind you, I'm talking generalities - the guys who accept every genre. There are some good niche PODs who are in touch with their readership and can get books sold.
    Last edited by priceless1; 04-26-2010 at 08:35 PM.

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Momento:

    I’m published through Ridan. So if you are concerned my opinion might be clouded by my interest in their success, I think that is a valid argument.

    The definition of best contract, was based on my own opinion of what I as an author value. Granted your opinions may vary. I’ve been signed to three contracts to date (one from AMI my first publisher, one from Ridan, and one from Czech Publishers for foreign translation rights) I’ve also reviewed several others, that I would not sign based on one issue or another. When I “enumerate” the things that are important to me…mainly in the area of control and the ability to reclaim my rights, Ridan meets everything I want in a contract.

    As to advance, no they don’t offer an advance, and to some that would be important. Again, for me I’m willing to give up an advance for larger royalty. I sold out my first printing with AMI (my first publisher) who also did not offer an advance, and I make more “per book” with Ridan than I did with AMI.

    As to rights, that is why I like the Ridan contract – unlike my AMI contract, and others that I’ve seen, Ridan only takes what they are “good at”. Most publishers attempt to lock up as many rights as they can (for instance: right of first refusal on future works, foreign language, electronic rights, audio rights, derived works, etc. etc.) Ridan leaves me with all rights except the ones they are actually doing something substantive for – in my case this means print and e-book rights. They take no cut of my foreign language translations or audio books as they don’t focus on those areas.

    As to royalty calculation, Ridan’s royalties are based on “net receipts” notice this is not “net profit” – which would normally mean “no profit” with most organizations. Net receipts is spelled out in the Ridan contract and is communicated to the author before signing so they’ll know what they make on each sale in each venue. In a nutshell, the amount of money that comes “in the door” is divided between Ridan and the author based on the royalty % of the contract. Essentially what it comes down to is list price – distribution fee – print fee. There are no additional monies taken out for Ridan’s “overhead” (office space, employees, phone, etc) nor the services they do such as layout, cover design, and editing. And they charge no “mark-up” on the POD fees. So as an example…my First book The Crown Conspiracy lists for $13.95 on Amazon and current sales price is $10.76. The number of pages is 324 making the printing cost = $4.74. Amazon distribution takes 40%. So the “net receipt” that the royalty is calculated on is $13.95 - $5.58 - $4.74 = $3.63. Over venues such as Kindle are calculated differently etc but the bottom line is the royalty split comes from what Ridan takes in.

    As to the definition of “high maintenance” I can’t comment because to my knowledge they’ve not “kicked anyone to the curb” for being overly demanding – Nor has anyone left because Ridan wasn’t doing good by them. I guess my point is as long as everyone is acting as professionals and understand the expectations it works out well.
    As to authors “doing all the really hard work” to get their books noticed – I can’t respond to what all they do but I know they send out review copies, arrange interviews, participate in social networks, enter in contests, have email campaigns, have book giveaways, cross sell between authors, arrange book club meetings, and produce marketing materials like press releases, bookmarks, and press kits.

    I’ve never been asked to “buy” any of my books for a promotion such as “shelved in bookstores”. One of the things they do is create a “buy from the author page– A “mini ad” with sample chapters, review snippets, and a “buy now” button.” Both myself and they refer customers to it in order to buy signed copies “direct” at a discounted price. When selling through this venue – we have our best “net receipt” as there is no distribution fee. To fulfill these orders they ship me books (I don’t pay anything for them) for signing and as orders come in they give me shipping labels and padded envelopes for mailing them out. So following the old “money flows to the author not the publisher” I’ve never been asked to send money to them for anything.


    Priceless1:

    I didn’t mean to suggest that POD can offer good contracts. Merely that Ridan’s contract was unusually suited toward the author. Most PODs that I am familiar with use the same contracts terms as traditional publishers.

    I am unaware of any small press books who have front door displays (maybe they do, I’m just any aware of them.) On the shelf is one thing (my books are on bookstore shelves too, for instance after I do a signing there are left overs) but front door displays usually cost far more than a small press can afford. If you can manage that kind of bookstore presence that’s wonderful, your business must be doing very well, or you must have some very nice associations.

    I was not speaking in generalities, merely answering the original question of the poster who began the thread and supplying my opinioned information about Ridan as a Ridan author. Given that he named me personally, I thought I would respond.

    Ridan has made a conscious business decision not to work the brick and mortar channel. The reason that was explained to me has to do with buy-in verses sell through. A writer friend of mine (published through another small press) worked hard to get on the Barnes and Noble official titles list. This nearly killed his publisher because some huge number (I don’t remember the exact amount but I think it was 700 -1000) went out as each B&N bought a few copies here and there. All looked great until they all came back when they didn’t sell through. This causes a huge problem for the publisher and lost revenue. In the Ridan model, the books being sold through the stores were “by request” so there are no returns…at least so far.

    I think the real issue is … does the publisher move books or do they not (regardless of the channels they have decided to sell through). Having books in a bookstore might “boost my ego” but I’d rather have the money in my pocket. It took me 14 months to sell 2,100 books through AMI (my first publisher) and they had many returns to the warehouse each month from their brick and mortar locations. Ridan has sold more than that in just March and April. Another Ridan author, Todd Fonesca sold 1,000 books in December. Now, it’s quite possible that if I was on the bookstore shelves, I’d get more sales…but AMI did it this way and they weren’t moving all that fast. I’m new to publishing and I can’t say whether my sales are at a “good” or “bad” rate but for a new author from a small press I’m happy with what I’m seeing.

  7. #7
    been around a while Daddyo's Avatar
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    Ridan Publishing is run by Robin Sullivan. Wife of Michael J. Sullivan.
    Last edited by Daddyo; 06-20-2010 at 03:10 AM.

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    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Honestly, I think everyone would feel better if Ridan actually listed who exactly is behind Ridan Publishing and what their experience is. Small publishers work out all the time (and I have to disagree they don't get shelf space - I believe we have one 'small publisher' here who manages it just fine) and if the folks at Ridan have the right experience, then that's great. But I and I think many others here are leery of publishers who have the 'we're a traditional publisher not a vanity-publisher' line on their websites and are not specific of who's running the show. It would be nice to see a little more openness on that

    edit: that explains why Michael features so prominently on the front page. Sorry Michael, but favouritism is a little obvious.
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    Banned Margarita Skies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddyo View Post
    Ridan Publishing is run by Robin Sullivan. Wife of Michael J. Sullivan.

    Oh... no comment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J Sullivan View Post
    Priceless1:

    I am unaware of any small press books who have front door displays (maybe they do, I’m just any aware of them.) On the shelf is one thing (my books are on bookstore shelves too, for instance after I do a signing there are left overs)
    You said nothing in your original post about placements and face outs. you said:
    Ridan can't do that [get books on the store shelves]. Only the biggest publishers can.
    to which I heartily disagreed. Having a store place a couple copies on a their shelf after an event is not the same thing as store distribution - where books are sent out nationally. For example, I live in California, but happened to be in Alabama, where I found a few of our titles on their shelves. None of my authors live in Alabama. THAT'S distribution.

    Ridan has made a conscious business decision not to work the brick and mortar channel. ... In the Ridan model, the books being sold through the stores were “by request” so there are no returns…at least so far.
    It's not a "Ridan" model, it's a Print on Demand business model - shoestring budgets, no print runs, no distribution, promotion, or marketing.

    I think the real issue is … does the publisher move books or do they not (regardless of the channels they have decided to sell through). Having books in a bookstore might “boost my ego” but I’d rather have the money in my pocket.
    We don't put books on shelves to boost the egos of our authors. We do it to sell books. I mean, isn't that the point?

    At any rate, what it all comes down to is having a good enough book to create demand. A POD book could be very good, but the business model puts the author at a distinct advantage unless they have a ready platform and promo plan that gets them in front of a lot of people.

    And, oh for Pete's sakes! Are you really the husband of the owner? Now that's just cheesy to act all innocent. Bah. Why do they do this sort of crap?

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    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
    And, oh for Pete's sakes! Are you really the husband of the owner? Now that's just cheesy to act all innocent. Bah. Why do they do this sort of crap?
    I did some google-fu and it appears Michael's previous publisher was unable to publish his second book and that's when Ridan was born. Robin Sullivan's experience in the publishing industry comes from her "hands-on" experience of handling the business side of her husband's books.

    I’ve been through all aspects of publishing while working to get my husband in print (Michael Sulliavn author of: The Crown Conspiracy, Avempartha,and Nyphron Rising). Recently, I formed my own small press (Ridan Publishing: http://www.ridanpublishing.com). Many of the authors I pick up for Ridan are previously self-published authors.

    ~brianm~
    Last edited by brianm; 04-27-2010 at 06:15 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagaliFuentes View Post
    Oh... no comment.

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    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    So in other words this is another probably-well-intentioned-but-no-experience publisher?
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    Hmm...I might be wrong but this looks like a company who publishes close friends or relatives. Referrals maybe? I know that mama bear is publishing papa bear, prolifically. This is not sufficient criteria to haul them across the barbed wire, because I've seen it before. They do have beautiful damn covers and seem to like fantasy a lot.

    Tri
    Last edited by triceretops; 04-27-2010 at 06:55 AM.

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    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    But they look like they're soliciting mss from other writers also, and if that's the case people should be aware of what they can and can't do before choosing to go ahead with them, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by triceretops View Post
    Hmm...I might be wrong but this looks like a company who publishes close friends or relatives. Referrals maybe? I know that mama bear is publishing papa bear, prolifically. This is not sufficient criteria to haul them across the barbed wire, because I've seen it before. They do have beautiful damn covers and seem to like fantasy a lot.
    Tri
    They are open to submissions from anyone, and the "about us" info fails to include any names and withholds the information that the owner is also the main author's wife. The main author also forgot to mention that fact when he posted here. So I do think the exposure here of their willingness to mislead prospective authors is warranted.

  18. #18
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I'm not going to cover ground which has already been inspected by everyone else, but this bit caught my eye. My bold.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J Sullivan View Post
    This might sound great to some people, and it is, if like me you've had experience with other publishers, but Ridan is very picky.
    Michael, I can find seven books attributed to you on Amazon. They are all published by your wife's publishing company, Ridan. So where, exactly, did you get that experience of other publishers which allows you to say how much greater Ridan is? Surely your experience wasn't just gained by being rejected by other publishers? Gah.

    I can't say that they refuse submissions, because they have actually asked my opinion on a few, but their business model is more based on approaching authors with good track-records. Writers who might have self-published or been dropped by another indy who went bankrupt.
    So Ridan thinks that a good track-record for an author is to have been published by a failed independent publisher, or to have self-published. Where does talent come in? And what about sales? Surely a big part of having a good track-record involves good sales: but self-publishing is notorious for its low sales, and if a publisher has gone bankrupt then that implies sales were poor too.

    To date, I don't think anyone in the Ridan's stable has been picked from a slush pile--but I know they do have one. So all of their authors were vetted through public opinion before they quietly tapped them on the shoulder.
    Which implies to me that Ridan only publishers writers it knows--namely, friends and relations. I could be wrong here, though, so do let me know if I am.

    Finally, Michael asked this question in his other post:

    I am unaware of any small press books who have front door displays (maybe they do, I’m just any aware of them.)
    Plenty do. In fact the prizewinning UK independent Snowbooks works very hard to place ALL the books it publishes on those high-profile tables right at the front of the store; my friend Sally Zigmond, who recently published her first novel through Myrmidon, another UK independent press, has books in the windows of all my local bookshops: she lives nowhere near me, and so they got there through her publisher's efforts, not hers. The good independent publishers DO get their books in front of their readers. You might not be aware of this: but it does happen, and in good quantity.

    Only not by publishers which operate a POD business model. Which is what Ridan does. Which is one of the reasons why I advise writers to avoid publishers which operate in this way.

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    Hello,
    I'm Robin. I'm not hiding, or trying to be deceitful. I didn't know this post was up here until my husband mentioned it. I totally understand that people in this business are notoriously suspicious. I myself lecture (for free) to authors to help them avoid pitfalls of publishing (http://www.meetup.com/DC-Write-To-Publish/). And there is good reason to suspect vanity presses in sheep's clothing - such as PublishAmerica etc.

    First and foremost, no Ridan author has EVER given one single cent to Ridan and they never will. Period. I'm sure there are many definitions of vanity presses but surely most will agree that it involves the money flowing from author to publisher and not the other way around.

    Second, I do not publish "friends and family" (except for Michael). I do not know (outside the confines of their work) any of the authors that Ridan represents. Some of the relatives of Ridan author's have queried me but their writing was not strong enough to represent so I've had to turn them away. I actively read the slush pile for over a year and to be honest I've found next to nothing there of any value as a business person this was not a good way to find authors which, lets face it are the foundation of my business. So I decided to "go another way" and changed my approach to looking for self-published authors that have something worthwhile - and yes "worthwhile" is subjective - but it involves a combination of sales, compelling story, a genre that I can market to, and an author that is building a fan base. Using this criteria there are very few that I feel are worth my time, money, and energy.

    As for "inexperienced" I'll let those who work with me, listen to my lectures, or read my blog (www.write2publish.blogspot.com) determine whether what I say and do has any value or not. I have not worked for a publisher in the past nor was I an editor at a big house. If those are qualifications that disqualify me then by all means, don't do business with me. I never ran a software company before I became President of Vermont Creative Software and I never created an advertising agency before I started Spectrum Design and those were both very successful ventures that I'm proud of them and put no less energy into Ridan. I consider myself very knowledgable on publishing but it is all self taught - I've never represented anything else.

    As to "on the shelf" or not. I know most authors look at this as the "golden ring" and they may be right that this is the key to being successful - if that is the mark of a "traditional publisher" then yes Ridan is not traditional. As a business person there is too much risk in that model. Yes I can significantly reduce the printing price of the book by doing an offset print run of several thousand copies. Then I can pay the monthly warehousing fees to have them in the channel. I can hope that my titles promoted through the distributor gain some mindshare of the purchaser, then once it gets in the store I can hope they will "walk out the front door" but if they don't I know they are coming back to the warehouse (as bookstores will use product returns to offset cashflow when the bill comes due). Even after doing all this I have to give up 55% off the top, and I can get better margins in other venues. There are small pressess that use this model, and if being in the bookstore is important to you as an author by all means publish through them. But don't berate Ridan because I think there may be a different way to go.

    I believe that as technology advances, industries need to shift. The introduction of POD and popularity of the Kindle has significantly reduced the barriers of entries for publishing - this is a good thing. It means that as a business person my risk is significantly reduced and I can afford to take a chance on someone who is "new" but has what in my estimation is a deserving product.

    One of the posters above said:
    "But they look like they're soliciting mss from other writers also, and if that's the case people should be aware of what they can and can't do before choosing to go ahead with them, right?"
    Yes of course, anyone I'm offering a contract to should and does know EXACTLY what I will and will not do. We have long conversations about this before we sign as my model is different and I explain the positive and negative sides of it. If its not for them. No problem. I'm NOT soliciting the writing community at large.

    When I was preparing for a lecture for my Write2Publish group (before Ridan existed), I went around to a number of publishers (small press and large) and looked at their contracts. I of course already had the AMI contract (my husband's first publisher) and I saw a commonality that is very slanted to the publisher (not much of a surprise there). So when I created the Ridan contract I made one that was very "author friendly". The biggest aspect of that is the ability for the author to leave with just 60-days notice for any reason. My philosophy is...if I'm not doing "well by them" or if they can get a "better deal somewhere else" then by all means - go. One of my author's Leslie Ann Moore was in a terrible position in that she had 2 books of a 3 book series published when her small press folded. She has an agent and is trying to shop this series to a "big press" - if she lands a deal - I'd be happy for her but in the meantime I'll do all that I can to promote her books while they are with Ridan.

    I have a love for writers (beyond that of Michael) they are in an industry that is very difficult to make a living wage at. They pour their very hearts and souls into work that rarely comes back to them in an appreciable monetary way. I've made Ridan as a way to take a writer to "the next level" but this is a tough business and everyone who enters it should have reasonable expectations. I don't promise they will become best sellers, or be on Oprah, my model is not one whose end goal leads to that and if that is what they are hoping for them by all means go with someone else.

    I'm not out and about recruiting for Ridan, and not asking anyone here to publish with me. The reality is we are very selective and I explain my business model in excruciating detail when I find an author. If they agree with what I'm trying to do, then we go forward. If my model is "not for them" that's fine too. It is what it is and I'm more than willing to answer any questions that anyone has.
    Last edited by rsullivan9597; 04-27-2010 at 04:41 PM.

  20. #20
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Robin, welcome to AbsoluteWrite. Thank you for writing so eloquently, and for not being angry or defensive: that says a lot about you, and it's good.

    I'm really short of time right now so I'd just like to address this one point you made:

    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    As to "on the shelf" or not. I know most authors look at this as the "golden ring" and they may be right that this is the key to being successful - if that is the mark of a "traditional publisher" then yes Ridan is not traditional. As a business person there is too much risk in that model.
    So you feel that the whole printing, discounting and stock-holding aspect of selling through book shops is too risky a business model for you: but the trouble is that despite what you read online, over 65% of commercial books are still sold from real, physical shops, and a great amount (I'm sorry, I can't find the research right now so can't be more specific) of the remaining 35% is bought online after being discovered while browsing in a real, physical book shop. So if you don't aim to get your books into bookshops you're cutting yourself off from more than two thirds of your potential customers.

    Which seems like a far bigger risk to me than printing books and getting a good distribution deal in place for them.

    Apologies for my hurried tone. But this is a very important point which I wanted to address before the conversation moves on.

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    Robin, you talk about the risk factors that all trade publishers share, namely print runs and selling to bookstores, and compare that model to yours - where you state:
    I can get better margins in other venues.
    Since marketing and promotion is the lifeblood of selling books, could you please share what you're doing to get those better margins in other venues that equates to sales - as this sounds rather vague.

    Hackie, from what I've learned, UK store window placement, tables, and end caps are far more reasonable than here in the US, where it can run into tens of thousands on up.
    Last edited by priceless1; 04-27-2010 at 04:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    So you feel that the whole printing, discounting and stock-holding aspect of selling through book shops is too risky a business model for you: but the trouble is that despite what you read online, over 65% of commercial books are still sold from real, physical shops, and a great amount (I'm sorry, I can't find the research right now so can't be more specific) of the remaining 35% is bought online after being discovered while browsing in a real, physical book shop. So if you don't aim to get your books into bookshops you're cutting yourself off from more than two thirds of your potential customers.
    You get no arguement from me here - yes most books are sold through the bookstores and there is no doubt an author with nationwide sell-through (not buy-in) will do way better than any of my authors. I'm just saying that I don't have deep enough pockets to go that route so I make the best with what I have. This is exactly one of the things I talk to authors about before signing and they come into it with eyes wide open. And since they can leave whenever they want - if they find another publisher that they think they can do better with .... well god's speed.

    One of the reasons so many small pressess go under is they make huge up-front investments and when the sales don't pay off they are screwed. I don't have to sell millions of books to cover my overhead and make good money for both myself (and subsequently my authors). As a business person I work on maximizing ROI. One of the best way to get a positive ROI is to control costs and the new technologies allow me to do that so I use them. The amount I make through "direct sales" - i.e. someone ordering from Ridan or one of the author's buy direct pages puts 6x more money in mine...and subsuequently the author's pockets. Yes the volume is lower, and I count on word of mouth sales to propel the titles (which is why I'm so choosy when I decide on an author). So I put more effort into promoting sales this way then through the bookstore.

    Please keep in mind I'm not saying this is THE WAVE of publishing and everyone should shift to this. I'm saying this is the way I've decided to structure my business and whether I'm successful or not at it will determine whether the decision is a right one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
    Since marketing and promotion is the lifeblood of selling books, could you please share what you're doing to get those better margins in other venues that equates to sales - as this sounds rather vague.
    The "margin" is based on the venue. The marketing/promotion has to do with how much you spend to make a dollar for a dollar spent so let me address them seperately.

    I researched a number of distributors and the "print/warehouse" model before deciding on POD. The discount through this is generally 55% - 60% on list price PLUS warehouse setup fees, storage fees, and transaction fees. Even with a reduced print cost ($2 - $3 per book instead of $4 - $5 for POD) it is just too high of a "cut".

    I use createspace for Amazon distribution and their cut is 40% whereas if I were to use Amazon Advantage it would be 55% so that is a 15% savings in margin. Yes I know I pay more for printing...but you have to consider the "cost of cash" - I have no outlay of money in POD. I don't have to go to a bank and get $50,000 to start up pay interest in that. I don't have nearly as much concern about cash flow - which quite frankly is the bane of all businesses. I can let the profits of the books fuel the promotions.

    The other venue I use is Kindle which has a 65% margin - which sounds really steep but keep in mind there is no print cost and I do the conversions myself so that is 35% pure profit. So a very good venue.

    As to promotion....I'm really not trying to be evasive here but to be honest it would take me 4 hour to list out all the things I do - probably more. I'll refer you to the Ridan site especially the "news" (http://www.ridanpublishing.com/ridan...hing_news.html) area as this will show a lot of the "bearing fruit" - for every review you see there are many requests that are rejected, so there is a lot of time spent that doesn't produce a result. Not surprisingly, I rely heavily on on-line activities that take TREMENDOUS amounts of time but very little cost. These include:

    - Book Giveaways
    - Review copies
    - Email promotions
    - Social networking sites (especially GoodReads)
    - Bookmarks
    - Conventions
    - School signings (for the Juvenile books)
    - Book store signings (though I'm not doing much of this anymore as it is not as profitable as other choices)
    - Award entries
    - Press releases
    - Media kits
    - Author Interviews
    - Websites
    - Contests
    - Book club appearances

    My website is VERY out of date - I have many more reviews, awards and so forth that I've not posted because I'm very busy at the moment getting a few new titles released but the things you see on the site didn't happen "through osmosis" they came about because of a concerted effort on my part and that of an Intern I have working for me.
    Last edited by rsullivan9597; 04-27-2010 at 05:28 PM.

  24. #24
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    Robin,

    Welcome to AW.

    Now that we know who owns Ridan, would you disclose please the people you have working for you (editors, etc) and their publishing backgrounds?

    ~brianm~
    "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever." Sigmund Freud (about the Irish)

    "Opera singers have resonance where their brains ought to be." Anna Russell

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post

    As a business person I work on maximizing ROI. One of the best way to get a positive ROI is to control costs and the new technologies allow me to do that so I use them.
    Robin, getting a good deal on printing costs isn't a return on investment - it's simply good business. Your ROI is working to get your titles sold, which is done through marketing and promotion.

    You have quite a list, and I applaud you on your attempts to do all you can to create demand for your titles. But I have a few comments - not to criticize you, but to let authors understand some of the realities of how these things work.

    - Book Giveaways - unless a publisher is well-known and they have a lot of people driven to their site, these types of offers usually yield very few sales.

    - Review copies - to whom? Do you do a separate ARC run and send them out to the trade reviewers? If so, they don't review POD books. Even if someone requests a review copy, there is no guarantee it'll be reviewed.

    - Email promotions - To whom are you sending these mailings because, lawdy be, I hate these things. I get spammy emails stating that Jane or Joe Author published their book. Delete. Even if you're emailing an author's friends and family, chances are strong they already know about it. So you're either spamming [and irritating a lot of people] or telling someone something they already know. Either way, it doesn't go viral.

    - Social networking sites (especially GoodReads) - I hope this works for you. We've found the whole internet social networking thing to be a lot about nothing. The internet is just too vast to make an impact unless you already have a large presence - which can take years to establish.

    - Bookmarks - this is gimmicky because most people simply throw them away. It doesn't create demand, it just increases the landfills.

    - Conventions - what kind of conventions? We have an author who did a convention with Wayne Dyer, and she sold over 200 books in an hour. But he had her on stage and had her give her story. So is this what you're talking about, or are you talking about buying a table and hoping someone stops to buy a book? That is a grueling, unprofitable way to market.

    - School signings (for the Juvenile books) - these can be very effective provided it's done right. Kids don't go to school with money, so it can be hard to make any sales unless a lot of prep work beforehand has been done.

    - Book store signings (though I'm not doing much of this anymore as it is not as profitable as other choices) - Agreed, to a point. Signings can be great if the author has done a lot of prep work, or they can be a dismal finger-up-the-nose two hours that you'll never get back. The main problem with POD books is that they won't be stocked to any extent after the signing. The store may keep a couple copies, hoping they sell. Or they'll bundle them up and send them back. Do you have a return policy?

    - Award entries - Our titles have won any number of book awards, and I have yet to notice any uptick in sales. People don't really care, and store buyers are even more droll about the whole thing. They want to know what the author is doing to promote the book. An award doesn't sell that many books.

    - Press releases - Always a good idea provided you're sending them to the right place. To whom do you send them? If you don't have store placement, these press releases tend to go the way of the round file.

    - Media kits - same goes for media kits. Round file, unless you're sending them to a targeted audience, or better yet, they're requested. Media kits are expensive as hell, so who receives these?

    - Author Interviews - Interviews are great depending on where they appear. Online interviews tend to get swallowed in the white noise and hardly create a blip - unless it's an interview to a specific audience.

    - Websites - Eh. This is not promotion. This is simply a good idea. Websites don't create demand because it's very hard to establish a big enough footprint that will drive people to your site. What normally happens is people read the book and go to the website to learn more about the author. So saying a website is promotion is backward. It's support to the book that has already sold.

    - Contests - what kind of contests? How does this create demand? Readers don't normally peruse publisher's websites. An author can hold a contest, but unless he has an online presence, who's going to play?

    - Book club appearances - Yes, these are great because the author is getting their pretty face out there in front of readers. Do you arrange these appearances? Do you have a list of book clubs and pitch your authors to them? If so, that's lovely!

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