Discussion:
Wen Spencer Explains Why
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Robert Woodward
2017-04-10 05:29:26 UTC
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On her Patreon page, Wen Spencer explains why there aren't any sequels
to _A Brother's Price_ and to two titles published by Baen. This appears
in two parts. In the first part, she describes what happened at
Penguin/RoC after _Alien Taste_ (1st Ukiah Oregon title) was published.
The short version: bad cover art* for the 2nd caused sales to plummet,
the death spiral continued for the 3rd and 4th Ukiah Oregon titles, the
merger with Putnam caused her editor to be laid off, and when _A
Brother's Price_ came out, they weren't interested in paying much money
for anything new from her. Unfortunately, Penguin/RoC has the e-book
rights and just enough sell every year to prevent the rights from
reverting to her. Thus, no reprint of _ABP_ to create interest for a
sequel and no sequels.

The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).

*As far as I am concerned, the cover art for all 4 Ukiah Oregon titles
do not give me reason to buy them.
--
"We have advanced to new and surprising levels of bafflement."
Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan describes progress in _Komarr_.
‹-----------------------------------------------------
Robert Woodward ***@drizzle.com
news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
2017-04-10 09:22:44 UTC
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Post by Robert Woodward
On her Patreon page, Wen Spencer explains why there aren't any sequels
to _A Brother's Price_ and to two titles published by Baen. This appears
in two parts. In the first part, she describes what happened at
Penguin/RoC after _Alien Taste_ (1st Ukiah Oregon title) was published.
The short version: bad cover art* for the 2nd caused sales to plummet,
the death spiral continued for the 3rd and 4th Ukiah Oregon titles, the
merger with Putnam caused her editor to be laid off, and when _A
Brother's Price_ came out, they weren't interested in paying much money
for anything new from her. Unfortunately, Penguin/RoC has the e-book
rights and just enough sell every year to prevent the rights from
reverting to her. Thus, no reprint of _ABP_ to create interest for a
sequel and no sequels.
The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).
*As far as I am concerned, the cover art for all 4 Ukiah Oregon titles
do not give me reason to buy them.
re cover art this seems odd to me.

Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles which
have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour in large
capitals.

ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it in
choosing a book.
--
Mark
-dsr-
2017-04-10 11:25:24 UTC
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Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Post by Robert Woodward
The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).
...it may also be the case that _The Black Wolves_ was a much
better book than _Endless_ or _Eight Million_. At least, I thought so.
Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles which
have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour in large
capitals.
ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it in
choosing a book.
If I've previously found an author enjoyable, the cover art means
absolutely nothing to me (unless I later notice that it's particularly
nice.) You could sell me the next Harry Dresden novel with a brown paper
wrapper covered in crayon scribbles. If Lois McMaster Bujold writes
_The Glorious Death of Miles Vorkosigan and What Happened Next_, I will
buy it with cover art consisting of a a blurry photograph of a sidewalk.

The author's name and the book's title need to be clear and in high
contrast.

Now, a new author... mostly I find out about those through reviews,
and buy an ebook with not so much as a glance towards the cover.
Though I did pick up Mishell Baker's book _Borderline_ solely on the
strength of a cover blurb from Seanan McGuire, and I was not at all
disappointed. The second book in that series, _Phantom Pains_ confirms
that I will continue to read Baker.

-dsr-
news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
2017-04-10 13:17:18 UTC
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Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Post by Robert Woodward
The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).
...it may also be the case that _The Black Wolves_ was a much
better book than _Endless_ or _Eight Million_. At least, I thought so.
Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles which
have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour in large
capitals.
ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it in
choosing a book.
If I've previously found an author enjoyable, the cover art means
absolutely nothing to me (unless I later notice that it's particularly
nice.) You could sell me the next Harry Dresden novel with a brown paper
wrapper covered in crayon scribbles. If Lois McMaster Bujold writes
_The Glorious Death of Miles Vorkosigan and What Happened Next_, I will
buy it with cover art consisting of a a blurry photograph of a sidewalk.
The author's name and the book's title need to be clear and in high
contrast.
Now, a new author... mostly I find out about those through reviews,
and buy an ebook with not so much as a glance towards the cover.
Though I did pick up Mishell Baker's book _Borderline_ solely on the
strength of a cover blurb from Seanan McGuire, and I was not at all
disappointed. The second book in that series, _Phantom Pains_ confirms
that I will continue to read Baker.
Thaty reasoning I can understand. But it makes the resons for Ukiah
Oregon much less understandable.

Third and fouth books are only gonig to get bouht by those who have read
books one and two so what does the cover matter?
Book 2 is only read by those who have read book 1 so what does cover
matter.?

Book 1 has OK cover - OK that is needed.
--
Mark
David DeLaney
2017-04-14 04:34:42 UTC
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Post by -dsr-
If Lois McMaster Bujold writes
_The Glorious Death of Miles Vorkosigan and What Happened Next_, I will
buy it with cover art consisting of a a blurry photograph of a sidewalk.
... plz include chalk outline on said sidewalk

for the lulz

Dave, wait, his skeleton is WHAT?
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
gatekeeper.vic.com/~dbd - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Dorothy J Heydt
2017-04-10 12:36:28 UTC
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Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Post by Robert Woodward
On her Patreon page, Wen Spencer explains why there aren't any sequels
to _A Brother's Price_ and to two titles published by Baen. This appears
in two parts. In the first part, she describes what happened at
Penguin/RoC after _Alien Taste_ (1st Ukiah Oregon title) was published.
The short version: bad cover art* for the 2nd caused sales to plummet,
the death spiral continued for the 3rd and 4th Ukiah Oregon titles, the
merger with Putnam caused her editor to be laid off, and when _A
Brother's Price_ came out, they weren't interested in paying much money
for anything new from her. Unfortunately, Penguin/RoC has the e-book
rights and just enough sell every year to prevent the rights from
reverting to her. Thus, no reprint of _ABP_ to create interest for a
sequel and no sequels.
The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).
*As far as I am concerned, the cover art for all 4 Ukiah Oregon titles
do not give me reason to buy them.
re cover art this seems odd to me.
Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles which
have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour in large
capitals.
ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it in
choosing a book.
Books with uninviting cover art frequently don't even get out to
places where most potential readers will buy them. Between the
publisher and the bookstore/newsstand/supermarket there is a
distributor who doesn't read books, and indeed usually doesn't
have the books to read, only a sample of the cover, and chooses
books to distribute entirely on the merits (if any) of the cover
art.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
James Nicoll
2017-04-10 13:39:07 UTC
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Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Post by Robert Woodward
On her Patreon page, Wen Spencer explains why there aren't any sequels
to _A Brother's Price_ and to two titles published by Baen. This appears
in two parts. In the first part, she describes what happened at
Penguin/RoC after _Alien Taste_ (1st Ukiah Oregon title) was published.
The short version: bad cover art* for the 2nd caused sales to plummet,
the death spiral continued for the 3rd and 4th Ukiah Oregon titles, the
merger with Putnam caused her editor to be laid off, and when _A
Brother's Price_ came out, they weren't interested in paying much money
for anything new from her. Unfortunately, Penguin/RoC has the e-book
rights and just enough sell every year to prevent the rights from
reverting to her. Thus, no reprint of _ABP_ to create interest for a
sequel and no sequels.
The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).
*As far as I am concerned, the cover art for all 4 Ukiah Oregon titles
do not give me reason to buy them.
re cover art this seems odd to me.
Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles which
have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour in large
capitals.
ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it in
choosing a book.
Step one to a sale is getting the customer's attention. Good cover
art can help with that. Actually, make that "appropriate" cover art:
Baen covers may look like they were drawn by the editor's untalented
nephew but they stongly signal to readers that behind the cover
lurks a Baenal story.

It may not be that bad cover art drives away customers but a book
with a blah cover next to one with an eye-catching cover may lose
sales to the book customers notice.

(when I sold games, there was a certain skill in placing the stuff
with soft core porn covers where they would not immediately drive
new customers out of the store while still being findable by their
fans)
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Livejournal at http://www.livejournal.com/users/james_nicoll
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Kevrob
2017-04-10 17:33:57 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Post by Robert Woodward
On her Patreon page, Wen Spencer explains why there aren't any sequels
to _A Brother's Price_ and to two titles published by Baen. This appears
in two parts. In the first part, she describes what happened at
Penguin/RoC after _Alien Taste_ (1st Ukiah Oregon title) was published.
The short version: bad cover art* for the 2nd caused sales to plummet,
the death spiral continued for the 3rd and 4th Ukiah Oregon titles, the
merger with Putnam caused her editor to be laid off, and when _A
Brother's Price_ came out, they weren't interested in paying much money
for anything new from her. Unfortunately, Penguin/RoC has the e-book
rights and just enough sell every year to prevent the rights from
reverting to her. Thus, no reprint of _ABP_ to create interest for a
sequel and no sequels.
The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).
*As far as I am concerned, the cover art for all 4 Ukiah Oregon titles
do not give me reason to buy them.
re cover art this seems odd to me.
Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles which
have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour in large
capitals.
ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it in
choosing a book.
Step one to a sale is getting the customer's attention.
For brick and mortar, that's step 2. Step 1 is the publisher
convincing the store's buyer to carry some, and if the cover
seems to be "blah," ceteris paribus, he may skip it or take
a smaller position on it than he would if the cover appealed.
Some stores don't buy as much direct from the publisher, and
rely heavily on distributors such as Baker & Taylor and Ingram.
In that case, the cover "grabbing" the retail customer is the
third step. It helps if an image of the cover makes it into
the distributor's catalog, too, so the publisher should supply
it in an approved format.
Post by James Nicoll
Good cover
Baen covers may look like they were drawn by the editor's untalented
nephew but they stongly signal to readers that behind the cover
lurks a Baenal story.
It may not be that bad cover art drives away customers but a book
with a blah cover next to one with an eye-catching cover may lose
sales to the book customers notice.
(when I sold games, there was a certain skill in placing the stuff
with soft core porn covers where they would not immediately drive
new customers out of the store while still being findable by their
fans)
That's true for books, also. You didn't want a mismatch on a
romance novel: super-sexy cover on a modern bodice-ripper,
something more prim on a Cartlandish title. In the years
since I left the book biz it has become more complicated.

See: "With Romance Novels Booming, Beefcake Sells, But It Doesn’t Pay"

By LAURA M. HOLSON MARCH 30, 2016 NY Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/03/business/media/with-romance-novels-booming-beefcake-sells-but-it-doesnt-pay.html?_r=0

Mention is made of a romance with an alien, and conventions.
Cons for romance readers aren't new, but for cover models?
Makes sense, analogous to media cons in SF/F fandom, I guess.

Kevin R
-dsr-
2017-04-10 17:22:12 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
Post by Robert Woodward
On her Patreon page, Wen Spencer explains why there aren't any sequels
to _A Brother's Price_ and to two titles published by Baen. This appears
Step one to a sale is getting the customer's attention. Good cover
Baen covers may look like they were drawn by the editor's untalented
nephew but they stongly signal to readers that behind the cover
lurks a Baenal story.
Oh, that's a thing. Spencer isn't really writing what I think of
as core Baen. She's writing variations on urban fantasy that would
fit in with Ace or Roc or DAW.

(As would Sea Wasp's work other than his collabs with Eric Flint, really.)

-dsr-
Wolffan
2017-04-10 16:35:14 UTC
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Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Post by Robert Woodward
On her Patreon page, Wen Spencer explains why there aren't any sequels
to _A Brother's Price_ and to two titles published by Baen. This appears
in two parts. In the first part, she describes what happened at
Penguin/RoC after _Alien Taste_ (1st Ukiah Oregon title) was published.
The short version: bad cover art* for the 2nd caused sales to plummet,
the death spiral continued for the 3rd and 4th Ukiah Oregon titles, the
merger with Putnam caused her editor to be laid off, and when _A
Brother's Price_ came out, they weren't interested in paying much money
for anything new from her. Unfortunately, Penguin/RoC has the e-book
rights and just enough sell every year to prevent the rights from
reverting to her. Thus, no reprint of _ABP_ to create interest for a
sequel and no sequels.
The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).
*As far as I am concerned, the cover art for all 4 Ukiah Oregon titles
do not give me reason to buy them.
re cover art this seems odd to me.
Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles which
have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour in large
capitals.
ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it in
choosing a book.
I don’t give a damn about the cover. Of late I’ve been buying most
ebooks. (one hardcover, and one paperback this year vs 18 ebooks) and my #1
criterion is that the ebook have either no DRM or that the DRM be trivially
broken. Why? I read my ebooks mostly on my iPad using an eBook reader named
Marvin. If getting the ebook unto Marvin is too much like work, I make a note
and avoid future stuff from that source.

I don’t give a damn about the publisher’s ‘IP’. I care about how _I_
want to read the book. Should Amazon or whoever decide, for whatever reason,
to pull a book that _I_ paid for, they can go perform auto-fornication,
‘cause once that book is in my calibre or Marvin or both libraries they
can’t yank it back. Which is how I like it. If they don’t like that,
tough.

I want to read my ebooks with the ebook reader software of _my_ choice. I do
not choose Kindle. I do not choose iBooks. Should my preferences destress
Amazon and Apple, tough.

If m’girl self-published her stuff with generic covers and no damn DRM and
I want to read them, she’d make a sale, assuming I found out her stuff
existed. If I don’t like her stuff, then no sale. If there’s heavy-duty
DRM, no sale.

Some publishers, Baen notably, don’t do DRM. (Unfortunately Baen has a...
limited... selection. Pity, that.)

I have been known to buy two copies of certain books in paperback and then
cut the pages out of one of the copies and OCR them myself. No doubt this
would upset some. Tough.
Robert Bannister
2017-04-11 02:11:29 UTC
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Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Post by Robert Woodward
On her Patreon page, Wen Spencer explains why there aren't any sequels
to _A Brother's Price_ and to two titles published by Baen. This appears
in two parts. In the first part, she describes what happened at
Penguin/RoC after _Alien Taste_ (1st Ukiah Oregon title) was published.
The short version: bad cover art* for the 2nd caused sales to plummet,
the death spiral continued for the 3rd and 4th Ukiah Oregon titles, the
merger with Putnam caused her editor to be laid off, and when _A
Brother's Price_ came out, they weren't interested in paying much money
for anything new from her. Unfortunately, Penguin/RoC has the e-book
rights and just enough sell every year to prevent the rights from
reverting to her. Thus, no reprint of _ABP_ to create interest for a
sequel and no sequels.
The second part explains why there are no sequels to _Endless Blue_ or
_Eight Million Gods_. Since series can suffer diminishing results (see
Ukiah Oregon series), she believes it is unwise for authors to do
sequels to books that didn't make big splashes. Since those 2 didn't
make big splashes, there will be no sequels (BTW _The Black Wolves of
Boston_ made a big enough splash that she is working a sequel).
*As far as I am concerned, the cover art for all 4 Ukiah Oregon titles
do not give me reason to buy them.
re cover art this seems odd to me.
Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles which
have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour in large
capitals.
ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it in
choosing a book.
Me too.
--
Robert B. born England a long time ago;
Western Australia since 1972
Titus G
2017-04-11 04:47:42 UTC
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snip
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
Post by Robert Woodward
*As far as I am concerned, the cover art for all 4 Ukiah Oregon
titles do not give me reason to buy them.
re cover art this seems odd to me.
Much of my early SF reading was choosing from Gollancz SF titles
Same here. From the library.
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by news{@bestley.co.uk (Mark Bestley)
which have no art just the yellow cover and Thentitle and authour
in large capitals.
ALso the art often has little to do withn the story so I ignore it
in choosing a book.
Me too.
Same, but based on a similar discussion about Sea Wasp's Polychrome
cover, publishers and authors believe it important and they will be
basing their opinions on figures.
If, or when?, printed books are replaced by ebooks, I wonder if cover
art will disappear as well?
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