The poll that never was …

Okay, this is supposed to be a poll – but you can apparently only create LJ polls in paid accounts and this isn’t a paid account. Sigh. However we would still like to ask you a few questions about the way you choose and buy e-books, so if you would be willing to answer (either anonymously or using your name) we would be very glad to hear from you.

So, dear readers, we would be interested to know:
1. How did you find us? Was it by:
A.  Word of mouth
B.  Online, via another site
C.  Saw a review
D.  Searching online for gay fiction
E.  Following a particular author
F.  Other (please give us a clue!)

2.  What is your sub-genre of choice?
A.  Supernatural (including vampires)
B.  Science fiction
C.  Historical romance
D.  Contemporary romance
E.  Action/adventure
F.  Mystery/thriller
G.  Other we haven’t thought of yet!

3.  What is your preferred word-count?
A.  Under 45,000 words
B.  45,000 – 70,000 words
C.  70,000 – 100,000 words
D.  Over 100,000 words

4.  Do you prefer to buy:
A.  Direct from the publisher
B.  Through an online supplier/reseller who deals with many publishers?

5.  How many e-books do you buy in a year?
A.  Less than 12
B.  More than 12 but less than 50
C.  More than 50

6.  What is most important to you in choosing a male/male romance?
A.  Glamorous or intriguing setting
B.  Explicit sex scenes
C.  Happy ending
D.  Reputation of the author/publisher
E.  Price
F.  Word-count
G.  Attractive cover illustration/general presentation
H. Recommendation of a friend or reviewer
I.   Slick promotional video
J.  Other factors – feel free to specify!

7.  We’d like to know if there’s anything else we can do to improve our service to you.  We’re working on the ‘reseller’ issue which should also dispose of the reliance on PayPal which we know a lot of you don’t like – and it may also solve the problems we’ve been having with some people being unable to use our online shop facility.  Other than that, however, and the inevitable fact that we can’t offer instant downloads, we’d be glad of any suggestions you may have.  We don’t promise to act on all of them, but we are more than willing to consider them.

Thank you for taking part; we value all feedback from our customers and will treat it with respect.

22 thoughts on “The poll that never was …”

  1. 1.C
    2.A ( with suspense/action packed/horror )
    6. J I am a willing buyer as long as the story has Intense/Intriguing Plot with Great Writing Style( Story with a hook )
    7. I cant to shop at your online shop because of my country. I tried credit card and paypay…but to no avail. the next best available would be reseller website.

    1. Thank you for answering; we’re sorry you’ve had problems buying from us but we hope to have an alternative for you soon – largely because you pointed us in the right direction, which we’re very grateful for!

  2. 1. B
    2. As long as it’s well written, I’ll read any genre. Not that keen on Supernatural though!
    3. D.
    4. Either!
    5. C
    6. C, D, E and F are important, but really it has to be well written, with a decent plot and characters I like!
    7. I think you offer a good service, but then I like using Paypal! You always seem very approachable too, which is excellent.

    1. Thank you! We’re especially thrilled that both respondents so far have a preference for longer books – and we’re very grateful for your kind words about our service; we do try hard to meet our customers’ needs and we’re always glad of guidance in that respect.

  3. You are a new publisher for me, but I will try to help with answering 🙂
    1. B
    2. A
    3. C/D
    4. A/B
    5. B
    6. C
    7. Because I haven’t bought at your Publishing before I can’t really answer that, but if it is true that you can’t buy from certain countries, it could be that my country is also in that list.

    1. Thank you for joining in, it all helps us build up a picture of our customers and potential customers.

      If you do try to order and find that your country is not on our drop-down list, you can always ask us to add it – although sometimes this hasn’t been successful and even when we do add the country people still have problems. Maybe when we are working with a reseller some of these difficulties will disappear … we hope!

  4. I don’t think I can answer these with just one letter, so here goes:

    1) B (General comments on Jessewave’s site which intrigued me enough to seek you out.)

    2) D, E, F ( I like supernatural stuff too but feel it’s overused these days.)

    3) C (but have no probs with D)

    4) Both. (It’s more about preferred format for me since I have a Kindle and it’s easier to download from Amazon, however some publishers take a while to release to other sites. If there is a book out by a fave author and it’s not on Amazon – I will use the publisher directly cos I’m impatient that way.)

    5) C (Don’t buy books anymore and I never thought I would say that.)

    6) J (I’d much rather have a decent plot with high quality writing.)

    7) I like the personal touch you have with your customers and have no complaints over the quality of service. More books would be good…. LOL!

    1. Thank you for taking part – this is all helping us to build a better picture of our customers. We have to agree with you that we wish we had more books to offer, too, but we can only bring you what people submit to us – and our regular authors are working absolutely flat out as it is! We’ll keep networking, though, and hope to attract more writing talent in due course.

  5. I just tracked you here from Jessewave reviews, and THE DEFINITIVE ALBERT J. STERNE sounds like exactly the kind of read I look for.

    1. Above
    2. Science fiction
    3. If it’s a good book, the longer the better. Have no trouble at all with over 100,000.
    4. Wherever it’s easiest.
    5. B. More than 12, but probably fewer than 50. (too broke)
    6. Review, lengthy sample (yours is stingy and inadequate), price.
    7. I have no problem with Paypal, but since I live in the U.S. I’d appreciate prices I don’t have to go online somewhere to translate. And I think you need to find a better method of sending books than an email attachment. It’s clumsy and unprofessional. I also question your questioning of the desire to download two different formats. Sometimes one format just doesn’t read well, and it’s necessary to try another.

    1. Thank you for taking part, and for your valuable comments; the one about length of sample is particularly interesting – what would you consider an appropriate sample length?

      Unfortunately there is little we can do about the manual system for filling orders for those who buy direct; it’s all that’s available to us at this stage. However we are in the throes of linking up with a reseller who will be able to offer instant downloads – and later in the year we hope to be linked with a second reseller too, which will give our customers a much wider range of options.

      1. Forgive me for saying this, but I’m getting the impression of a somewhat amateur attempt at being a publisher. It’s extremely difficult for me to believe that you wouldn’t be aware of the variation in sample length from one publisher to another. Most provide at least several paragraphs, usually the equivalent of a page or more. Some offer a chapter, a few offer even more.

        And I really would appreciate some response to my query about U.S. pricing. Can we “Mercans” buy your books at all?

        And one last suggestion, when you’re able to find an affordable designer — do something about that dreadful “early days of desktop publishing” site design. To be taken seriously as professionals, you have to look like professionals. However, in spite of my criticisms, I like the look of the uniform format for the books.

        1. Always glad to receive a set of reasoned comments, thank you again.

          We have never pretended to be professionals, and ‘being taken seriously as professionals’ is not on our agenda; we call ourselves ‘semi-pro’ (which is made clear on our website) – which means that our authors receive royalties but the staff are not paid. If you feel that translates to ‘amateur’ by comparison with others, we have no problem at all with that; one has to start somewhere, after all.

          Sorry to have missed your enquiry about pricing. As you are so well-informed about practice elsewhere in the industry you will know that American-based e-book publishers give their prices in US dollars and everyone else in the world has to translate those into their own currency. (PayPal does, of course, make the translation for you.) Our books are available in a great many countries including the USA, Canada, and Latin and South American countries and yes, we price in sterling. One of the most important points about Manifold Press is that it’s British, not American; if you’d like to buy our books in your own currency you will be able to do so through Rainbow Ebooks in the very near future.

          Unfortunately you will be waiting rather longer for us to employ ‘an affordable designer’, however. In fact at the moment we have the only designer we can possibly afford or are ever likely to. We feel that the uniform look for the books, the house style, is preferable to some of the poor quality artwork we have seen perpetrated by other publishers – and we certainly would never consider having sexually explicit covers; we prefer to concentrate our efforts on the text, which is after all what people are paying for.

          But whether we are amateur or professional we are always willing to learn from people’s comments and response to our products, and again we would like to thank you for your contribution.

          1. The only reason I mention professionalism (and I hadn’t read your info on your LJ user page yet) is that it might be more difficult to get the kind of authors you want.

            I do appreciate your avoiding those overdone, cliched, and usually irrelevant “man titty” covers. A lot of readers hate them, and they probably contribute to the snickery reputation of the romance genre.

          2. it might be more difficult to get the kind of authors you want

            This is a valid point and we must certainly concede it! However we’re working at full capacity at the moment – eight titles a year seems to be about as much as we can handle – so although we’re always on the look-out for new talent we’re also very happy with the pool of authors we have.

            And, to be honest, we sometimes like to think of the more modest covers as our ‘unique selling proposition’ … at least they make us stand out from the crowd!

          3. Sorry to barge in.

            To me, story with a hook is more important than the cover with good looks. It is good to have feedbacks but please don’t let the criticism deter you.

            If you have look carefully, a big number of publishers are slowing making the covers as their trade mark…ie Siren, Silver, Loose ID, Torquere to differentiate their ebooks from the rest. Maybe that’s what you are doing for yours. Manifold type of cover. It is good as once buyers see it, they know it is Manifold Press ebooks.

            If your ebooks quality control ie editing and publishing is good ( not forgetting good intriguing stories), nothing would stop your ebooks from selling. All you need is more outlets to sell your ebooks and more positive reviews on your ebooks. I believe once the problems are ironed out, you might find gems among the authors.

            Selling ebooks is still a baby in publishing market but it is coming up. Hopefully by then, you would able to resolve the problem of buying ebooks from your website

          4. Bless you for your encouraging words; you’re quite right that we’re still learning our business and we’ve put the emphasis on quality of text rather than ‘bells and whistles’ or fancy production – we think that a good story will always shine through, although obviously we’re doing our best to keep things neat and tidy and modestly distinctive.

            And we do mean what we say about valuing all comments, even if they’re critical; there’s always something we can learn and we’re not embarrassed to admit it. We’ll be discussing in detail all the points raised in this conversation; some we’ll be able to act on and some we won’t, but we would never dismiss any opinion out of hand.

            We’re very grateful for your support, though, and glad to know that you feel we’re moving in the right direction. As you say, it’s a developing market and at the moment it’s probably equally baffling for everybody!

  6. 1. B (Goodreads)
    2. I like them all 🙂
    3. C or D – much shorter than that and I find that there often isn’t as much depth to the characters.
    4. Whoever is cheapest, honestly.
    5. B
    6. C
    7. I agree with catana1, I don’t like that you only allow one format to be purchased. Hubby and I share an e-reader, and he takes it to work for his long train commute everyday. It’s all mine on nights and weekends, but sometimes I want to read at home during the day. When I can get ebooks in both .mobi for the ereader and PDF for my PC, then I always have it available.

    1. Thank you for your comments – they’re all valuable to us and will all be considered carefully when we get together to plan future developments.

      We’re sorry you’re not comfortable with the single-format option; as you’ll see in the comments to above we’re going to be linking with a reseller (Rainbow Ebooks) in the near future and customers who buy through them will have a different range of choices available to them. We hope that goes some way towards addressing the problem.

  7. 1 B or A can’t remember
    2 F and B are my fav but I will read anything that sounds interesting
    3 C and D
    4 A, I understood that buying directly gives more money to the publisher and writers. Therefore I do not mind checking all the publishers for new books, Except one but that publishers site is a nightmare, it keeps stalling.
    5 C, definitely, think more like 2 or 3 a week on average.
    6, a combination of blurb, G, D, E and F.
    7 I like your books, please don’t make any changes in the way you publish a book. From the accepting of a script to the editing.

    1. Thank you for joining in; the more information we have, the better able we will be to plan for the future. And we’re so happy with your answer to (7) – it’s always very reassuring to know that we’re doing something right!

  8. 1. Sorry, can’t remember (it was a year ago). May have been through Jessewave.
    2. D, E and F.
    3. Longer the better, so anything but A.
    4. Usually B, so that I don’t have to leave my details all over the web.
    5. Either B or C.
    6. J – quality of the writing. A story can have everything else going for it, but if it is badly written or in a style I don’t care for I can’t cope, not when I’m supposed to be reading for pleasure. This means that for a writer who is new to me a decent-length extract (3 pages seems about right) to see before buying is vital. One paragraph doesn’t do the business. You started out doing longer extracts for the earlier books (I bought all your first list), but the current extracts are too short to make any judgement on the writing style.
    7. You’ve been clear about where you are coming from with the press, so in the circumstances, just keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you for joining in! We’re very glad that we seem to be heading in the right direction for you – and your view about the length of books in particular very much agrees with the majority response which we find reassuring!

      Your comments about the length of extract are well taken, too – that’s been raised by another responder and it is definitely something we want to address in future. I think our problem so far has been difficulty in picking out suitable samples that were representative without giving away too much of the plot … but we’ll be sure to work on it for next time!

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