Why do some Publications Fail?
Many publications fail to meet commercial expectations. Here are a few reasons why some publications fail:
• Faulty editorial judgement – producing a book or publication that is poorly written or too long or short; poor copy editing; breaching copyright or causing defamation
• Faulty publishing decisions – misjudging the market; producing an unattractive or inappropriate design; producing a publication in an already over-crowded market; over-spending on a publication; producing too large a print run
• Poor marketing – not distributing widely enough; weak promoting campaign; selling at too high a price
• Legal problems – some things simply cannot be legally published. Publications might be legal in one country but illegal in another, which could restrict the potential export market. If a publication contains illegal content, it can be ordered to be withdrawn from sale or, even worse, the publisher and/or author may face heavy fines or drawn-out litigation. Such situations may be due to plagiarism, slander, or restricted sexual, violence or political content..
• Poor production – nowadays readers expect a high quality production. Unclear printing, poor binding, lack of colour, poorly designed cover, lack of an index, are all reasons why some books fail.
• Timing – even when everything is done right, some magazines, books or other publications simply do not succeed because they appear at the wrong time. A specialist topic magazine will do best when its area of interest is in vogue, and competing publications are few and far between. A new newspaper will be more likely to succeed in a locality with rapid population growth, than one with declining population growth. A biography will sell best when the subject being written about is in the news. A biography that appears just after the death of a famous person will tend to sell better than one that appears when the same person’s popularity has been going through a period of decline.
Remember, the bottom line is always the money!
Despite the passion and high ideals that many authors and publishers aspire to, the final judgement of success or failure of a publication is always the money it makes or loses. If it makes money, it remains available, offered for sale. If it loses money, it almost certainly disappears from sale.
Without financial success, a publication is unlikely to be distributed very widely, or read by many people.