Musings on a Monday morning….

As you all know, the Spectral chapbooks are strictly limited to 100 signed and numbered copies. The reason for this was and still is simply financial, as the imprint was created from practically nothing and, in all honesty, I never imagined that things would take off for Spectral in the way they have. My initial ambition for my publishing venture was to build up a reputation, slowly and carefully, and to expand operations equally slowly. I offered subscriptions so that readers could be sure that they would get each and every chapbook that I published if they so wished, without having to pay every quarter. I also reckoned that sales would be something like 70 subscriptions/30 individual and that 100% subs would be unachievable. I envisaged keeping the edition number to 100 for the foreseeable future, because I KNEW I could sell close to 100 but was unsure as to whether I could sell more.

It’s now got to that point where I may have to rethink things. Subscriptions stand at close to 80, with a promise of a few more to come, leaving my stock of individual copies at, for the sake of argument, around fifteen or so. One hundred percent subscriptions doesn’t seem so fanciful any longer. Each of the authors I publish can definitely sell more than 15 copies over and above the subscription numbers, so my dilemma is: do I up the print run, or do I keep it as it is? Whilst having an extra 20 – 30 unsold copies hanging about isn’t going to be much of a problem, as I can always take them to somewhere like FantasyCon or similar (and I think that might have been a drawback for me at THIS year’s FCon, not having any copies to sell), I also have to judge just how many more copies I can print before it becomes unviable.

I am loath to over-stretch myself, certainly at this stage of the imprint’s career. It’s doing very well right now, has made a small impact on the ‘scene’ and continues to garner positive press. I have plans for the future, which include novellas and single-author story collections, which makes me want to tread very carefully in these initial stages. Neither, however, do I want to miss an opportunity of expanding and gaining a little more capital to invest in new publishing projects. The next few months are going to be taken up with a great deal of ruminating and discussing various options with people whose opinion I value highly and who have a little more experience in these matters. Customer feedback is also very important, so I encourage everyone to comment on this, either here or by emailing spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Even if I DO decide to increase the edition run, it will only be to something like 120 -125 and no more.

Like I intimated above, the success of Spectral is unexpected. It is also very welcome. I need to proceed slowly, but not so slowly that I am practically standing still. In that light, all comments will be gratefully received and very welcome!!

Thank you!

2 comments on “Musings on a Monday morning….

  1. I guess if you have disappointed customers every time you release a chapbook then increasing the print run is definitely the way to go. I think you undersell yourself by saying you’ve had a small impact on the ‘scene’ – I think you’ve had a major impact – and I’ve yet to read a bad review of any of the books. The line up of authors still to come is as impressive as those we’ve already seen so I think 100% sales are virtually guaranteed and, I would guess, the same would apply for bigger print runs.

    That said, part of the appeal of the Spectral Press publications is that they’re limited editions – the collector’s items of the future. I guess the decision you have to make is how fast you want to proceed. (If selling more chapbooks means you can move onto the other formats earlier). Good things, however, are definitely worth waiting for.

    Whichever way you go, I wish you the best of luck with it. In a lot of things quality and quantity are inversely proportional but I don’t think that will be the case with Spectral Press.

    • Hello Anthony!!

      Many thanks for the kind words! It’s difficult to judge how much of an impact Spectral has had on the scene, but just looking at how well the books have been received so far is indication enough that I have had SOME impact at least. As immensely gratifying as that realisation is, I also know that I still have a long way to go before I will arrive at where I would like to be. I have goals in mind, some I know aren’t likely to be achieved, but that isn’t the point – the point is that I have something to aim for. As I once said to someone “I would rather aim for greatness and fall far short than to aim for mediocrity and succeed only too well” – it’s an adage I live by.

      There are a number of ideas that have been proposed elsewhere which I will investigate over the next 3 – 6 months; certainly I think that Spectral has a bright future ahead of it! Keep checking into the blog to see what some of those proposals are in the coming weeks… =D

      SMJ

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