Do forgive the pun in the title!
I invited people to ask questions about Mulling It Over and here are the first few. I'll keep updating the page as more come in.
What was the inspiration for the title?
For our annual anthologies we always like to take a Christmas theme and invite our writers to subvert it - or not as they see fit. So this year it was "mulled wine" and that is in fact mentioned in several stories. The Island of Mull has been mentioned in a few as well. One story even mentions a mull that is used in book-binding.
How easy (or not!) do you find choosing a suitable cover?
There is a science, an art and a craft to creating a good book cover. There is also some genre-specific etiquette to follow though with mixed author collections there are no hard and fast rules other than the bottom line of creating something that is eye-catching that will make potential readers curious.
As we have a fair amount of freedom in this sort of collection, we tend to start off by putting the book title in the search field on Pixabay, the site that provides free copyright free images. For this one we had to rephrase and look for "thinking". I usually prefer to avoid photographs of humans as most readers prefer to make up their own minds about what characters look like. However, this works as this could be Everyman and he has his back to us. Plus, he could well be sitting on the Island of Mull as he mulls over life.
We have to pick a picture that allows space for the title and and sub-title on the front and the blurb on the back. We prefer wraparound pictures. We're cautious about blue as it is very difficult to get the printed book to match what you can see on the screen. The greys in this picture work quite well, though.
How easy (or not) is it getting anthologies like Mulling It Over on to sites like Amazon etc?
Getting books on to Amazon and other sites is trivial. We register Bridge House titles manually with Nielsen's and that then feeds the title into places like Amazon, Waterstones, Tesco, Barnes and Noble. This is a free service and comes as part of us having bought an ISBN. But not every book shop in the world is a customer of Nielsen, though every book shop in the world can look up a title that is registered on Nielsen. They can certainly obtain the book and they can choose to list it.
We pay £8.40 a year for each title to be listed by our distributors. That is really a bargain as we're talking about world-wide distribution, though most sales are in the UK and the US with a few then in Canada, Australia and Europe. Bizarrely one title is selling really well in India.
But unfortunately that isn't the end of the story.
Amazon has a will of its own and is currently selling this book at almost twice the RRP and has got the wrong dimensions for it. Two of us have sent in a correction. Cheekily in mine I also put the link to The Hive where it is listed with the correct RRP. Note, I've also linked to The Hive.that above and I'd like to give a shout out to the Hive. I ordered two "out of stock" books on Sunday and they're arriving tomorrow. No postage to pay.
I'm never too bothered about the "out of stock" sign. It can mean they've sold a bunch. We know as well that our distributors can get stock to them in a couple of days. Millions of books are produced every day. It's unrealistic to expect every bookseller to stock every single one. One order will trigger them to stock a few - five initially I believe. I was gratified to see another title has an Amazon warning.. "Hurry, Only fourteen left in stock."
And RRP anyway. It's only the recommended retail price. A retailer can in fact charge exactly what they like.
Should we get shirty with Amazon? They have their bad points but they also have a lot of good ones. So, let's just keep them on their toes.