Friday, October 1, 2010

Art vs. Business

I'm going to say this and probably get reamed for it, but I'm a gambling gal by nature. (I hope you got the John Hughes reference)

Writing is an art. Publishing is a business.

There it's out there. I don't know a whole lot about publishing, but I do know quite a bit about working in a creative field. My day job: Christmas ornament design and marketing. Weird. I know, and I also know that Santa ornaments are a hard sell. (This isn't to say some Santa ornaments aren't successful. The ones we have out there are some of our best sellers.)

But let's suppose I have an idea for a new Santa ornament, the most adorable Santa ornament anyone has ever seen. I can design it, we can make it, and we can present it to our retailers. There are a few things that can happen:

The Santa can get rejected. Then we can choose to shelf the Santa, or if we are so confident this Santa ornament is the one, we can sell it on our website. He may be successful there, but he will never earn as many dollars as he would if he landed in a major retailer. However, if he does perform strongly on our site, we can use his sales figures to try and re-sell him into the retailer for next year.

We can push the Santa. We have pretty good relationships with our retailers and if we feel strongly about him, sometimes we can get him in there. The retailer knows it's a risk, but because our other ornaments are so succesful, they're willing to give our new Santa a try. Our Santa could end up being their number one seller...or he may not. And if he isn't, then trying to sell a different Santa in for next year is going to be impossible.

We can scrap the Santa completely. The retailer could say "No," to Santa but then add, "You know what sells really well for us? Wedding ornaments. Could you make us a new wedding ornament?" Of course we will. If wedding ornaments are what's selling then that's what we're going to make. I may still love my little Santa, but the market's not ready for him. I have to move on.

I decided to write this because of this blog post on Pimp my Novel. In the comments a lot of people complained that there is an oversaturation of paranormal romance, vampire books, etc. etc. That's because those books are their wedding ornaments, and maybe the books you're looking for are their Santas.

You may be saying to yourself, "You know, I haven't seen a really cute Santa ornament in the stores lately. I want more Santa ornaments!" If you don't like what's going on the marketplace, then change it.

-When you do find a Santa ornament, buy it.
-If you're sick of only seeing wedding ornaments, don't buy them.
-Tell all of your friends you just got this really great Santa ornament.
-Put a post up on your blog about the Santa ornament.

If you help increase demand for Santa ornaments and decrease demand for other ornaments, you could create a niche market for Santas and then when I go back to my retailers with a new one, they'll be more willing to give him a chance.

1 comment:

jjdebenedictis said...

Ah, yes. The comments in that post kind of irked me too. Sure, the market is oversaturated with paranormal romance, but that doesn't mean there's something inherently defective about paranormal romance or the people who read it. To say so is snobbery, and snobbery is nothing but insecurity gone bad.