Today, Parvus Press publisher Colin Coyle returns to the podcast (previous appearances: Episode 19 – Colin Coyle Gets to Publish Books He Loves and Episode 37 – Spec Fic Anthology Kickstarter with Colin Coyle) to talk about the progress of Parvus Press’s path of total global domination.
After serenading Rekka with an adaptation of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Circle of Life, Colin and Rekka talk about the goals, lessons, and plans of Parvus Press.
Parvus is extremely proud of their authors and have gotten some great attention to their titles with talented writers and cover artists. Now they are building on their success to broaden their offering and increase their distribution with a larger, more dedicated sales team.
Colin sees Parvus doubling down and investing more money and energy into putting the books where the largest audiences can find them.
In 2018, Parvus had to back off on their catalog plans so that their new partners, Baker & Taylor, could firm plans for book distribution.
Now that they are working with a distributor, they give up some of their flexibility to have titles printed no less than 45 days out.
If This Goes On, a powerful political anthology with an impressive author list, released this week as the first Parvus Press title available through B&T distribution.
Instead of relying on algorithms or getting coverage on the right high traffic website, there will now be booksellers aware of Parvus titles talking directly to readers when they walk into stores looking for a recommendation.
Rekka’s book, Flotsam, released in 2018 and though B&T’s team is enthusiastic about the book, as an existing title it doesn’t quite fit into their standard MO for promotion.
Union Earth Privateers sold over 17K copies. What they’ve been seeing is about an 80% series follow from readers who started with book one, but it’s tricky to bring back readers who don’t convert to mailing list followers. That’s a challenge Colin is interested in solving in the long term (hopefully in time for Rekka’s sequel, Salvage).
Parvus has been very careful to avoid any surprises. Colin finds that the closer you stick to your original plan, rather than denying the impulse to spend a little bit more than planned when something shiny is being dangled in front of you.
As they plan their releases, they are looking to expand their audience at the same time they break into new audiences.
They take more chances with un-agented submissions through their general submissions because the investment is lower with regard to the risk they would take on trying to break into a new genre. The books that come in with agents tend to cost more to acquire and they limit those to audience overlap with an existing or planned title.
They received the submission for Decoding Emma over a year ago but didn’t move ahead until they felt they were ready to take on the YA category.
Advice for someone who wants to get into publishing or wants to become the next Macmillan:
You make a plan for a reason. You spend the time before you get into the execution phase—you lay out your map before you start your trip—if something else comes up, you gotta make damned sure the deviation is worth it.Colin Coyle, Parvus Press
There’s a temptation to think every invested marketing dollar is multiplied by a factor of X. Play devil’s advocate whenever you consider a break from an existing plan. You need to have more than a tempting argument to override the original plan.
You can really keep costs down by being up front with contractors with how much you have to spend. Everyone understands that everyone is trying to do what they need to do to be successful. If someone gives you a great price, though, don’t overwork them or you risk spoiling the professional relationship.
Parvus titles we reference during the episode:
- Vick’s Vultures (UAP #1, Fall 2017)
- To Fall Among Vultures (UAP #2, Fall 2018)
- If This Goes On (Anthology, March 5, 2019)
- Flotsam (TPS #1, March 27, 2018)
- Necropolis PD (April 2, 2019)
- The Ragged Blade (June 4, 2019)
- Salvage (TPS #2, September 3, 2019)
- Where Vultures Dare (UAP #3, October 1, 2019)
- Decoding Emma (YA, March 2020)
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