Week 46 summary

Our leading title this week, rather surprisingly, was DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT, and our average response time – again because all the orders arrived during the night (UK time) was six hours 45 minutes.

Another book has just gone off to our illustrious proof-reader, and we’re having a meeting later in the week to determine which other titles we’ll be publishing during the remainder of this year. Amongst other things, this means we won’t be updating the LJ at the regular time next Saturday morning – it will be delayed by several hours and is more likely to appear on Sunday instead.

We spent some time yesterday creating a new flier for distribution later in the year; our invaluable co-conspirator Chris Quinton suggested this and we were delighted to take her up on the idea. If anyone out there is going to a slash- or m/m-friendly convention or other gathering and would be willing/able to take along a few fliers, please let us know and we’ll send you a bunch.

Whilst in the artistic frame of mind, we also downloaded cover images for another couple of forthcoming books. Nothing like planning ahead … we hate leaving things to the last minute and then having to rush.

Finally, we are still looking at distribution via either kobobooks or rainbowebooks as suggested by a very helpful reader (moniqee) but have been unable to reach a conclusion as yet – unfortunately there are rather too many things happening all at once just now and we’re having a bit of a problem trying to compartmentalise! (And experiences teaches us that the week to come will be even more crowded, so it’s wise not to expect any sense out of us at all at the moment.)

Forward planning

We’ve decided to make a change to our plans for 2011-2012. Instead of producing two sets of four books at six month intervals, what we’re going to do in the forthcoming year is produce four sets of two books at three month intervals; therefore there will be two new titles out on 1 May, two on 1 July, two on 1 November – and a further two on 1 February 2012.

Our two titles for 1 May 2011 will be FOOL’S OATH by Chris Quinton and STAGE WHISPERS by Adam Fitzroy. Both of these are with proof-readers at the moment and well along in their development, and the two titles for 1 July are also coming together nicely.

Working this way will take the pressure off writers, proof-readers and everybody else who contributes to the Press – and publishing more often may also help to keep us under the eye of the reviewers whose opinions we value.

Also, and not least of our considerations, it will make a lot of sense for us financially!

We hope it won’t inconvenience any readers – but we feel that if we are going to make such a change it’s better to do it at an early stage in our evolution!

Week 36 summary

A better week than we have had for a while, thanks to renewed interest in DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT. Again, most of the orders we received came in during the night UK time – but still the average response time was quite reasonable at four hours and four minutes.

Reports were received from both our proof-readers that they are busy on the titles we have sent them for our May list, and I found time to start preparing royalty statements to be sent out on 1 February. After these payments have been made, I am hoping to buy a second block of ISBNs; with the sudden and rapid increase in charges from our service provider it seemed wisest to wait until we had discharged our other obligations first. I tell you, this business is not for the faint-hearted!

During the week we have also found one of our books offered for free download on another site. An e-mailed takedown request has met with no response, and although we will pursue it with the usual vigour we are not optimistic. There seems to be no recognition at all that offering copyrighted material free of charge may be stifling the existence of Presses such as ours; we are not capitalist bastards trying to screw every penny from the oppressed masses but a few sincere authors who want to make good quality gay fiction available at a price that covers our costs.

NB: although we are always quite willing to consider lesbian fiction we have not been offered any and are wondering whether or not to remove it from our Author’s Prospectus. We’d hate to exclude anybody, but at the same time we know what it is we do best … and that tends to feature boys. In pairs. Does any reader have an opinion on this subject?

An unexpected resurgence

Since the start of the New Year, we have been selling an unusually high number of copies of DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT by Adam Fitzroy – which had gone rather quiet up to that point. This was such an unexpected development that we started Googling around to see whether a new review had appeared that we weren’t aware of, and discovered that it had been listed as one of JESSEWAVE’S TOP TEN BOOKS FOR 2010. (10th equal, to be sure, but that’s still quite an honour!) Perhaps as a result of this, or possibly for other reasons, Jessewave’s original review of the book has also been reposted at GLBT Bookshelf and is probably attracting more attention over there, too. This has come as a great surprise as well as a profound relief to Adam, who spent almost the whole of 2010 working on a new title, STAGE WHISPERS, to debut in our May 2011 list – and has now begun work on another new project.

The attention span/page count dilemma

As far as I’m concerned, sales over the past twenty-four hours have definitively (if you’ll pardon the expression) put to rest any worries we may have had about the popularity of longer books: THE DEFINITIVE ALBERT J. STERNE is currently the most sought-after of the four new titles and at 171,000 words it is actually 20,000 words longer than the other three put together. It’s very reassuring to know that those comments about readers and their attention span don’t refer to Manifold Press’s readership, and that as well as enjoying a good shorter book some of you are willing to batten down the hatches and settle in for a long satisfying read. As we have another blockbuster – Adam Fitzroy’s STAGE WHISPERS – lined up for next time, we’re taking this as a very good sign indeed!

To avoid confusion …

We have been asked to point out that Adam Fitzroy has never submitted ‘Dear Mister President’ to any other publisher or sent it out for review except through Manifold Press and has no intention of doing so – and that the same will apply to Adam’s future work including ‘Stage Whispers’.

Review at Literary Nymphs

Reviewer Critter Nymph seems to have enjoyed DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT and has joined the line of readers asking for a sequel.

Plus, thanks to the kindness of a reader in test-driving the prototype, we now have the capability of creating .mobi files. As soon as we have had the opportunity of preparing a full set of files, we will be offering .mobi as an alternative format on the website.