"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
July 2000 Issue
Romance on the Wild Side.........ImaJinn That!
Chats with IMAJINN Books
Barb S: What prompted your decision to get into publishing? Why did you choose the method of presenting your publications -- electronic/print/both?
Linda K: I wrote a trilogy of witch/warlock books under the pseudonym Carin Rafferty. I love paranormal/ supernatural romances, and I was disappointed to see the paranormal market shrinking. After discussing this with other readers who agreed they wanted more of these types of books, I decided to start ImaJinn Books and specialize in paranormal/ supernatural/fantasy/ science fiction romances. Our books are trade-size paperback books, and we hope to develop a large library following where we feel there's a lack of romance for readers. This is primarily why we chose the trade-size paperback. We will also be offering our books through Rocket eBooks in the future, but we have no intention of going into the electronic publishing arena.
Barb S: We often hear conflicting things from traditional NY publishers about the paranormal market--that's it shrinking, that's it's steady--how do you view the market for paranormal stories? Have you found that certain types out sell others--werewolves over reincarnation etc?
Linda K: I think the paranormal market has a loyal group of readers, but I'm not sure that the group is large enough to support a large number of books put out by the big publishers. The big publishers have a very high overhead particularly those who are located in New York where real estate alone is extremely high. When you figure out the costs of offices, personnel, health insurance packages, etc., it's understandable why they're selective in the genres they support the most. A small publisher doesn't have the costs of the large publishing houses and can more easily provide books for limited genres. Right now, vampire romances are selling best out of the all the books we've published, and it looks like our shape shifter books may do just as well. We're also getting a lot of requests for science fiction romance which we will be providing in upcoming releases. In 2001, we plan to have a publishing schedule that will rotate from time travel to fantasy (includes reincarnation, vampires, etc), and science fiction.
Barb S: As a small, independent publisher, did you or do you find it hard To be taken "seriously"? By that I mean in terms of having your publications carried by the major booksellers, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon?
Linda K: We haven't had any problems being taken seriously by the major booksellers. Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com have carried our books from the beginning. As for the major book chains, such as Walden's, etc., they order us primarily on a customer special order basis rather than stocking us. This is understandable. They have limited shelf space, and they'll use that space for known publishers/authors that have a selling record with them. As more and more customers ask for our books, more of the chain stores will start stocking us. We also have an excellent following with independent booksellers. Many of them have a standing order with us. Our biggest problem has been overcoming a rumor that got started stating that we are an electronic publisher. We don't know where or how this rumor got started, but we are a print publishing company, not an electronic publishing company.
Barb S: With e-publishing and small presses in general, a lot of people may think that the quality of writing and the presentation in general is lower than what they've come to expect from traditional publishing houses. Can you tell us something about how you select books, what level of editing they receive?
Linda K: We've been lucky in that we've had wonderful manuscript submissions. Most of our books are getting 4 to 5 stars from the reviewers, including such publications as Romantic Times and Affaire de Coeur. Several of our books have already been nominated for awards, and one has won an award. Readers are writing us and telling us how wonderful our books are and congratulating us on the quality of our books. I believe that our quality is equal to any New York publishing house. We select books based on compelling story line and compelling characters. We insist that the paranormal/supernatural, etc., elements be an intricate part of the story. It should be so well woven into the plot that you can't remove it and have a publishable story. In the editing arena, our books are handled just like they are in New York.
Barb S: Do you feel that having "known" authors such as Stephen King and Diana Gabaldon or Nancy Gideon participate in electronic and small press publishing that it will help the industry or will fans of those writers simply pick up the "name" author's works then go back to the traditional print houses for other reading?
Linda K: I believe that readers will always gravitate toward "name" authors, regardless as to whether you're a large publishing house or a small press. However, I believe that once they've had a good experience with a small press or an electronic publisher, they'll be more apt to try them again. Many of our readers bought one book that was a "name" author. Then they've come back and bought multiple books. Many have even asked to be put on our monthlymailing so they can be reminded to order our upcoming books.
Barb S: I would assume that one of the drawbacks in being a small publisher is the lack of corporate advertising dollars. How have you managed to "get the word out" and entice readers to try your books?
Linda K: We've advertised in most of the small newsletters/ magazines that cater to our audience. Our authors have also spread the word through their newsletters and web sites. The word has spread more quickly than we'd anticipated, and I believe it's because people reading the books are spreading the word. Word of mouth from the reader is always the best way to spread the word.
Barb S: Some readers feel that e-books should be priced lower than print books. What are your thoughts on this?
Linda K: I can't really comment on this since I'm not in the e-book business and don't have any insight into their costs. I will, however, state that authors spend a lot of time writing their books. Their royalty is generally based on the price of the book sold. If an e-book sold for $2.50 and the author gets a 10% royalty, the author would only make $25.00 for every 100 books sold. That won't even buy a celebratory meal for two people at a nice restaurant. Under this example, if the author invested 100 hours in writing the book, they'd only be making 25 cents an hour. If they invested 200 hours, they'd only be making 12.5 cents an hour. When you look at it in those terms, I think prices should reflect the author's effort in supplying a reader with a captivating story.
Barb S: I've noticed that some books printed by the smaller print companies tend to be more expensive than those printed by the NY publishers, how has that been received?
Linda K: Most small publishers can't print the same size orders for a book that the big publishing houses can print, so the costs will always be higher for the small press. Our books are trade-size paperbacks which makes them more expensive that the average mass market paperback. However, our prices are generally lower than the NY trade-size paperbacks. Also, we offer a good discount on our books at our web site. Most of our readers are happy with the price, particularly after they receive the book. We use an excellent quality paper for both the covers and the pages, and our print is 12 point, which makes it easy to read.
Barb S: Would you like to give us a preview of upcoming paranormal offerings?
Linda K: Right now, we're on a book a month publishing schedule. If sales continue to climb as they have, we hope to go to a two book a month publishing schedule in the next 6-8 months. We don't plan on publishing more than two books a month.
Upcoming ImaJinn books for 2000 include:
Onto the Night", a shapeshifter romance by Shauna
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