Tags: gray rabbit publications

Gray Rabbit press release

Victoria Woodhull: Thinking Today's Thoughts 150 Years Ago

With all the hoopla surrounding Hillary Clinton's historic nomination for the Presidency of the United States, it's important to remember that her "first" comes with a caveat: she's the first female nominee for President from one of the two major parties. But long before she broke that glass ceiling, Victoria Claflin Woodhull broke the gender barrier. In 1872—75 years before Hillary Clinton was born—Victoria Woodhull won the nomination of the Equal Rights Party (who also nominated Frederick Douglass for Vice President). She came to national prominence through a series of lectures and writings on the United States government: what it was and what she believed it ought to be. She collected much of that thinking into the volume The Origins, Tendencies and Principles of Government.

And while she was waging her unsuccessful campaign for the Presidency, she was also part of the growing movement for female suffrage, which culminated in the adoption of the 19th Amendment in 1920. She was also a proponent of Free Love, freedom for women to choose how and with whom they'd live their lives, and even topics that were radical at the time, and today are simply expressions of equality.

In this newest year of the woman, Gray Rabbit Publications is proud to be publishing two volumes of Victoria Woodhull's ideas.

The Origins, Tendencies and Principles of Government (266 pages, $8.99, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1-5154-0047-9) is the original text published by Woodhull's own firm in 1871.

Victoria C. Woodhull: Ideas Ahead of Her Time (210 pages, $7.99, trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1-5154-0046-8) is a collection of essays on suffrage, government and society, collected together for the first time. Contents include: "A New Constitution for the United States of the World," "The Memorial of Victoria C. Woodhull to Congress," "Constitutional Equality," "A Lecture on Constitutional Equality," "Children—Their Rights and Privileges," "And The Truth Shall Make You Free," "The Elixir of Life, or, Why Do We Die?" and "The Garden of Eden, or, The Paradise Lost & Found."

Both books are available through all major online retailers, and to physical bookstores via special order through Ingram, which is the distributor of all Gray Rabbit titles.

George Washington's Rules of Civility

Before he was President of the United States, before he was a military tactician leading his nation to independence, before he was a surveyor or an officer in the French and Indian War, George Washington was a school boy, just like millions of his fellows then and now. And as a school boy, one of his assigned tasks was hand copying a list of 110 "Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation." Based on a 16th-century set of precepts compiled for young gentlemen by Jesuit instructors, the Rules of Civility were one of the earliest and most powerful forces to shape America's first president.

Most of the Rules are concerned with details of etiquette, offering pointers on such issues as how to dress, walk, eat in public, and address one's superiors. But these maxims are much more than "mere" etiquette; they address moral issues, but indirectly. They seek to form the inner man (or boy) by shaping the outer.

Gray Rabbit Publications is proud to present a modern printing of the Rules. This volume, which Moncure D. Conway compiled a century and a half after Washington wrote them, are taken from his original papers. Conway's research resulted in a collection that includes not only 110 maxims, but their histories and origins as well. His detailed introduction also offers a view into how these Rules made their way into young Washington's life. He also explains the import of this volume, writing "I am no worshipper of Washington. But in the hand of that man of strong brain and powerful passions once lay the destiny of the New World, in a sense, human destiny. But for his possession of the humility and self-discipline underlying his Rules of Civility, the ambitious politicians of the United States might to-day be popularly held to a much lower standard."

More than a century ago, Conway also expressed the desire that "the time is not far distant when in every school right rules of civility will be taught as a main part of the curriculum." We can still hope.

For more information, see this page.

Speeches of Benjamin Harrison

In honor of Benjamin Harrison's 181st birthday today, Gray Rabbit Publications has published the Speeches of Benjamin Harrison in a newly typeset modern edition with brand-new maps detailing Harrison's journeys. The book is available in both hardcover and trade paperback.

Compiled by Charles Hedges in 1892, this book is a complete collection of Harrison's addresses from February 1888 to February 1892, in chronological order, including all his campaign speeches, several important letters, and the numerous speeches delivered during his tours. It also includes extracts from his messages to Congress.

Unknowingly contrasting his subject with the politicians of today, Hedges writes in his introduction: "it is not the purpose of this book to present a few selections of oratory, laboriously prepared and polished, or occasional flashes of brilliant thought. From such efforts, prepared, perhaps, after days of study and repeated revision, one can form but an imperfect idea of their author. Such a compilation might show the highest conceptions of the man, and evidence a wide range of thought and a surpassing grandeur of expression; but it would be but a poor mirror of the man himself in his daily life." Instead, he wrote, the people deserve "to observe the character of their public servants, to come into closest touch with their daily thoughts, and to know them as they are—not when prepared for special occasions, but day after day and all the time." The vast majority of the speeches presented here "were delivered during the presidential campaign of 1888, often four or five in a day, to visiting delegations of citizens, representing every occupation and interest, and during his tours of 1890 and 1891, when he often spoke eight or ten times a day from the platform of his [train] car."

For more information, see this page.

Oddball small business owner mistake number... whatever it is.

I only write one or two checks a month for the publishing company, so I don’t have to order new checks very often. So naturally, when I get to the “time to re-order” reminder atop one of the packs of checks, I ignore it.

The problem is, it’s one or two a month, except for twice a year, when I send out royalty checks to the authors, artists, and editors. Yesterday was calculate-and-pay day, and that’s when I realized I might not have enough checks left. Oops! Gray Rabbit Publications has paid all its bills on time since I started the business, so I really didn’t want to be late just because I forgot to order checks to write.

Lucky, lucky, lucky me that I had just enough checks. Barely enough… well, not quite enough.

Every author, artist, and editor’s check went out in the mail today. But I was short one check: the one for my own royalties as an editor. Grump, grump, grump. I’ll have to wait a week or two to get paid myself.

Bad book store

A cautionary warning for publishers considering doing business with The Book Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts (694 Broadway; www.bookshopsomerville.com; thebookshop@yahoo.com). I sent more than $250 worth of books to the store on credit, for a January signing at which nearly all the books sold. Despite my repeated requests for payment, and several promises that the check was in the mail, it has now been more than six months with no money forthcoming. I urge you to seek payment in advance for any books you may sell the store.

Details of our interactions are below, for those who are interested.

Ian Randal Strock, Publisher
Fantastic Books



On January 17, 2013, I sent 20 copies of an author’s brand-new novel, along with five copies of his earlier book, at a 30% discount off cover price, to Gil Barbosa at The Book Shop (694 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144; www.bookshopsomerville.com; thebookshop@yahoo.com), for a reading/signing scheduled for January 27. On January 23, the bookstore reported on Facebook that the books had arrived. Late on the 27th, the author told me the event had gone well, that the small store was packed, and that at the end of the signing, there were only six of the new novel left, which Gil asked him to sign for later sales (the older book completely sold out).

On March 6, I emailed asking for payment. The next day, Thursday, he responded “Yes thanks for the reminder, im sending out the check for 262.32 on Monday.”

On April 7, I emailed to say I was still waiting for the check, and got no response.

On April 15, I again emailed, and he responded the same day “Hey Ian, sorry for the delay, ill get a check out to you in a few days for sure. Thanks for patience.”

I emailed on May 5 and May 20, with no response.

I emailed again on June 18, and on June 19, he emailed “Things have been very slow at my store i understand thats not your problem as you also have bills. The good news is i see the light at the end of the tunnel. I should be able to get you your payment or at least some of it by the end of the month.”

On July 31, I emailed, saying “On January 17th, I sent you e-mail... telling you I'd sent you 25 books for [author]'s signing in January, and asking for $262.32. [Author] told me the signing went well. It's been 194 days with only intermittent contact and no money forthcoming. At this point, I have to assume no money will be forthcoming, but I'm asking politely one last time. Obviously, this isn't large enough, financially, to make it worthwhile to pursue legal means of redress, so if I don't have money by next Tuesday (August 6th), the only option I'll have is public shaming. I'll have to tell the other publishers I know about my experience.”

Great authors!

I have the best authors in the world!

I sent out royalty statements and payments a couple of weeks ago (at the end of July). I got an email from one of my authors, saying "I am wondering if the royalty for the ebook of [title] is too much?" He calculated potential payment from number of sales and cover price and assumption of what we're taking in from the retailer, but neglected the varying cover price, foreign sales, and all sorts of other minutiae. Whatever, he continued "Just wanted you to know that it matters to me that you, my publisher, receive the proper amount in royalties on this book..."

Have you ever heard of an author asking if the publisher overpaid them?

I assured him that my calculations were correct. My business philosophy is that authors are not the enemy, and there's no reason to squeeze them just to scam out a few extra cents. Happier authors will write and sell more books, making money for us all: that's my goal.

There are some days that I love what I'm doing.

Fantastic Books cuts ebook prices

A press release from Fantastic Books:

Setting the price for physical books here at Fantastic Books is pretty easy. As a rule of thumb, the cover price is two and a half times the cost of printing/binding the physical book (rounded, of course; it’d be confusing to list one book at $14.73 and the next at $15.12). Everything else is determined by that cover price: the distributor demands 30%, we pay the author 10%, the editor gets 10%, and the artist receives 2%. That leaves 8% of the cover price for the publisher.

Setting the price for ebooks, however, is more difficult. There’s no physical thing to print (which is a savings, of course). The distributor and/or retailer takes a varying amount, based mostly on the sale price (which they vary at will). We pay the author 50% of whatever amount we receive from sales of the ebook. Then we still have to pay the editor and the artist, and hopefully have a little left over for the publisher.

We’ve also learned that most people considering purchasing a physical book only consider the price last, and even though, it’s not a major factor in their decision. But with ebooks, the purchasing public seems to give the price much more consideration in their buy-or-not decision.

So, while the only way we can adjust the price of our physical books is up, we can decrease the price of our ebooks, in search of the best price. Thus, we’re announcing a sale. Well, not really a sale, but a pricing experiment which you’ll see as a significant price cut.

We’ve just cut the prices of our ebooks by 20% or more. We’re hoping the lower price will be offset by increased sales, in order to put more money in our authors’ pockets.

We’ll let you know how it works out.

Fantastic Books (www.FantasticBooks.biz) is an imprint, and the largest part, of Ian Randal Strock’s Gray Rabbit Publications, a small but growing small-press publisher. We publish new and reprint titles as quality trade paperback books, and occasionally as ebooks. Fantastic authors include superstars James Gunn, Tanith Lee, Michael Moorcock, Mike Resnick, and Allen Steele, as well as up-and-comers such as Walter H. Hunt, Daniel M. Kimmel, and T. Jackson King. Fantastic Books are distributed by Ingram, and available in all online bookstores.

The Fantastic Books titles that are currently available as ebooks include:
Fantastic Texas by Lou Antonelli
Jar Jar Binks Must Die… and other Observations about Science Fiction Movies by Daniel M. Kimmel (Hugo-Award finalist in 2012)
Shh! It’s a Secret: a novel about Aliens, Hollywood, and the Bartender’s Guide by Daniel M. Kimmel
Judgment Day and Other Dreams by T. Jackson King
Little Brother’s World by T. Jackson King
Interface Masque by Shariann Lewitt
Memento Mori by Shariann Lewitt
Angel at Apogee by S.N. Lewitt
Blind Justice by S.N. Lewitt
Cyberstealth by S.N. Lewitt
Dancing Vac by S.N. Lewitt
Sex and Violence in Zero-G by Allen Steele

We’ve also cut the prices on most of the ebooks published under our Gray Rabbit Publications imprint, including:
The Index Killer by A.R. Alan
On My Eyes by Bunny Shulman
Step by Step by Bunny Shulman
Turning Point by Bunny Shulman
In the Shadow of the Wonder Wheel by Carren Strock
The Complete Book of Presidential Inaugural Speeches, compiled and edited by Ian Randal Strock

Amazon sale on "In the Shadow of the Wonder Wheel"

Amazon is having a sale on a Gray Rabbit Publications book. At least, I think it’s a sale. It may just be yet another instance of Amazon’s “we’re a computer business, so we have lots of computers and lots of computer processing power, but we don’t actually have any real information. So you’re just going to have to trust us when we tell you we’re not stealing your money. Really, trust us.” That’s actually a story for another time, once I clean it up and order all the e-mails on that situation.

But the current situation is that, for some reason I can’t fathom, they’re offering Carren Strock’s In the Shadow of the Wonder Wheel (list price: $14.99) for $5.80. Yes, you read that right: more than 60% off the list price. Since this is the printed book, we’ve set our price, and they’re not paying less than we expect, so Amazon is probably losing money on each copy of the book they sell at this price. So go for it: if you want a copy of the book, now’s the time to order one (and coincidentally pump up its sales rank). Not the e-book, mind you, which they’ve price-discounted to match, and for which they’ll only be paying us a few dimes because they’ve cut the price. But the print book; that’s the bargain for all concerned at the moment.

We're starting to get some reviews

This is a question more for the publishers out there, but I’ll take reasoned input from anyone. It’s about reviews, and the new world of social media, and from a publisher’s point of view, I’m just not sure.

The thing is, the books I’m publishing (Gray Rabbit Publications and Fantastic Books) have started getting some decent notice and reviews in traditional review sources; several of the books have been favorably reviewed in Analog, and we just got a good review from Publishers Weekly for a forthcoming novel (http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-61720-733-4). With those, I know what to do: trumpet them from the rooftops, excerpt them on the book covers, and push push push.

But I recently took the first steps into the realm of book social media sites: LibraryThing and GoodReads. I’ve got some review copies in the mail to readers on both sites right now, and a mystery I’ve just published has already garnered some pretty good reviews on LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com/work/12890612). But I’m not sure what to do with those reviews (other than hope really hard that the reviewers have friends on the sites who will be encouraged to buy copies of the books). So I’m looking for opinions: Should I post links to these reviews (individually or as a block) on the GRP/FB web site? Are they worthy of including in/on a book? And if so, where do they come in the ranking (reviews by the major sources [NYTimes and PW], then by the top-tier genre publications, then quotes from big-name authors, smaller publications, and then these at the bottom?).

Opinions? and thanks.