Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Real, legitimate publishing!

When I set out to complete Outsiders from Oz with the intention of publishing it, it was no question that I'd go for Print On Demand publishing. Perhaps I could have contacted an established Oz publisher such as Tales of the Cowardly Lion and Friends, or Pumpernickel Press, but I opted to set up my own imprint on Lulu. Basically, I wanted to have as much control as possible over my own work.

There is one thing I'm proud to say about Outsiders: the version we first released for sale in 2012 is the same version that's available right now. I put the text through several proofreaders to make sure there weren't any embarrassing typos. I have looked over the book since and wished I'd worded a couple things differently, but have decided that nothing was actually bad to pull the book and re-edit the text and put it back up.

I don't think that practice is fair to your customers. Someone could have been waiting to see your book, then quickly buys your book as soon as it's available, and then, after their copy ships, you change the interior because you missed something that needs to be fixed. Now their copy no longer reflects your intentions. The only ethical thing to do is give them a refund or offer to replace it. However, that is money coming straight out of your pocket. Money you could have saved by rigorously proofreading your book ahead of time. That is why I plan to have all books from Saladin Press put through proofreading.

Saladin Press was named spur of the moment as Outsiders from Oz was being laid out. While I could have used "The Royal Press of Oz," but since I could use the imprint for anything, I went with one that wasn't Oz-specific. As such, there are two non-Oz fantasy books in the earliest stages of writing right now that will likely be printed through Saladin Press. "Saladin" comes from Button-Bright's real first name, as revealed in Sky Island.

However, it's been two years since Outsiders came out, and there's been no new releases from Saladin Press. Until now.

When I was writing "The Way of a Lion," I asked Sam Milazzo if he'd like to illustrate the story. It was already on its way to Oziana 2013 when it won the 2013 Fred Otto Award for fiction, and Sam had showed me the many illustrations he'd turned out. It was clear Oziana couldn't use them all, but I liked them, so I proposed that we put out a picture book edition that could use them all sometime after the Oziana publication. That happened this year as I considered selling books at the Winkie Convention. I decided to do a print run of Lion, completing the book at last. Sam put finishing touches on his work and even redrew one picture.

It wound up being too-cost prohibitive to print stocks of both Lion and Outsiders to bring to Winkies, so I brought the new book only. Instead of using Lulu, I ordered a stock from Hillburn Printing (which Marcus Mebes works for), in a limited run of 36 copies for sale. I priced them at $6.25 each, refunding me for printing costs, and offering myself and Sam a little bit of profit.

Of these copies, I left Winkies with 20 copies left. Three copies have now been sold or spoken for, meaning I have 17 copies left. This edition will not be reprinted or made available on Lulu, as the page size is incompatible with any formats available through that service. The story and illustrations will reappear in a book of prequels about the Land of Oz, but the pictures will be at a much smaller size, while in this edition, each picture gets an entire page to be viewed on. Sam will probably be one of the better Oz illustrators someday, so this edition shows off what he can do.

If you're interested in getting a copy, e-mail me at

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