28 August 2006 by Published in: General musings 8 comments

When I choose the topics for my books, I do so understanding that they will often have limited commercial appeal. Let’s face it–a book about a cavalry battle that took place on the grounds of Fort Bragg in the closing days of the war will have a far more limited commercial appeal than, say, the 147th book devoted to Pickett’s Charge. I get that. It makes a certain amount of sense to me.

At the same time, I don’t do this to lose money, either. In a perfect world, I would actually make some decent money from one of these projects. The book on Stuart’s Ride seems to offer the best hope of really selling a lot of books and making some money of any project I have yet published.

I’ve already mentioned here that J. D. and I had put together a web site for the promotion and sale of the Stuart’s Ride book. However, Ted Savas, our publisher, pointed out to us that we’re not professional web designers and that neither of us really have the knowledge or tools to really create a slick, professional web site to sell our book. We’ve decided to spend some money and engage the services of a pro to develop the site for us, and he’s getting started this week. The book is supposed to ship from the printer next Tuesday, so there’s not a lot of time.

Ted put us in touch with Val Leolagi of Digital Architects, who has done some fine work for several of Ted’s authors. We’ve retained Val to do our site for us, and, once it’s done, I’m planning on hiring him to do an overhaul of my Rush’s Lancers website to not only continue to include the great content that’s there now, but also to majorly jazz it up as a means of promoting and selling my new regimental history of the Lancers. The web site has not had any sort of an update of any substance since Susan designed it in 1999. It would be really nice to make back some of the very large investment I’ve made into documenting the history of this regiment for the past twelve years, and I need every edge I can find to sell more copies of the book.

Stay tuned.

Scridb filter


  1. Charles Bowery
    Tue 29th Aug 2006 at 10:36 am

    You may not be able to answer this in this forum, but can you give us an idea of the cost of this type of service?

    Really looking forward to reading about Stuart’s Ride.

  2. Tue 29th Aug 2006 at 11:04 am


    Please send me a private e-mail and I will be happy to answer your question.


  3. Mark Peters
    Tue 29th Aug 2006 at 6:24 pm


    Perhaps this is a naiive question, but I believed that it was the responsibility of the publisher to promote the sales of any books that come from their presses. I was surprised when I realised that it was you, and JD, who were taking the intitiative. Perhaps you could tell us if this a usual practice, or as a result of dealing with a more speacialist type of publisher.


  4. Wed 30th Aug 2006 at 11:16 am


    It is really the responsibility of both author and publisher. I make money when I sell books. I don’t much care how that happens.


  5. Thu 31st Aug 2006 at 9:43 am


    The publisher certainly does a lot of the promotion – but as far as things such as book websites and such, that’s the responsibility of the author. Eric and I took the initiative on that. One of our publisher’s folks handles a good deal of the work involved in setting up book signings, talks, etc, but we as authors are required to do most of the footwork. So, it’s really a team effort for everyone.


  6. Tue 05th Sep 2006 at 10:52 am

    Hi All,

    This is a direct answer to Mark Peters’ good question about promoting books. Unlike most small independent specialty presses, Savas Beatie has a full time marketing director, whose job is to open new markets, help the author set up signings and speaking engagements, interface with our trade distributor, handle publicity issues, etc. Her name is Sarah and she does a grand job.

    We also have a national distributor (Casemate Publishing) who opens the trade sales and does a great job there, and Greenhill does the same thing in the UK and in Europe.

    However, as I have told every author I have ever dealt with, if you write for money and expect to receive much from trade sales–stop writing. I wrote an article on this for a local paper called “Write–From the Heart.” You can read it here: http://www.savaspublishing.com/tpsblog.html [no, it’s not a real blog, I know.] It talks a bit on this subject.

    eBay, Amazon, the Internet, etc. have killed direct sales except for people who really want signed first editions (the smart people like all of us who have the virus). Every time someone buys a specialty niche book at a substantial discount from Amazon or elsewhere, he is taking another whack at a nail in the coffin of specialty publishing. But that’s another article. I should write it soon.

    Many companies do not allow their authors to sell books for profit (other than for royalties). We allow our authors to purchase books at substantial discount and sell them to individuals. Everyone is happy (we are, the author’s make money, and individuals get signed / inscribed books). I have had one author sell as many as 55,000 copies and is still going strong; others sell as few as–zero. I had one author who was too lazy to take books to a talk. I hope he is reading this. I wish I could tell you his name.

    We have had many authors in unique situations with terrific books that sit back and do absolutely nothing, and then complain when they receive their royalty statement: “All I get is $XXX?”
    My answer is invariable, “Yes, and you left thousands of dollars, and maybe tens of thousands sitting on the table because you did not pay attention to what Sarah and I were telling you.”

    Websites are a great way to promote a book, the author, and in this particular case, scheduling tours that complement the book.

    I hope all of you will support Eric and JD by purchasing a copy of their fine new book from them. It is unique, outstanding in every way, has a lot of good original material and analysis, and of course, is a Savas Beatie book. That means, you will be proud to own it.

    Thanks for all your support over the years.

    Best regards

    Theodore P. Savas
    Savas Beatie LLC
    P.O. Box 4527
    El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
    916-941-6896 (voice)
    916-941-6895 (fax)

    If you love heartwarming stories about baseball, WWII, destiny, character, family, and what a man does with a second chance (or know anyone who does), please read about our forthcoming book “Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams,” by Gary Moore. Soon to be a major motion picture! Click here (or copy and paste this link into your browser): http://www.savasbeatie.com/pwte.html

  7. Tue 05th Sep 2006 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks, Ted. Good stuff.


  8. Mark Peters
    Thu 07th Sep 2006 at 10:55 am

    Thank you gentlemen for taking time to post your informative and honest responses.

    Best wishes,


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