All I wish is that more skiffy people knew about this con, because really, it's pretty fabulous. Also, it's in Chicago, so why not combine it with some summer travel for you and/or your loved ones? Architectural boat tour, Millenium Park with the Art Institute and the big silver bean, Navy Pier and its carnival rides are all in walking distance of the con. I'm just saying. Next year, summer in Chicago!
Now I'm reading Eleanor Arnason's Mammoths of the Great Plains -- loved the title story. Reading a revised version of her WisCon GOH essay now. This is from PM Press's Outspoken Authors series; I really enjoy the combination of fiction and essay.
I'm still thinking about what I want my Serendib Press to be when I revive it (planning it to be sometime in the next six months, if I can squeeze out the budget for it). Illustrations, yes, novellas, yes. But maybe essays too. I'd love to pair a David Moles or Kate Bachus or Ben Rosenbaum novella with an essay or and a short-short story, for example. Get Margaret Killjoy to do the cover design, and then find a kick-ass illustrator or two for the interior work.
Minal Hajratwala has claimed she can hook me up with some Indian illustrators who will happily work for the pennies I can theoretically afford to pay them (the pennies will be worth notably more across the pond). Look, I can take advantage of third-world labor just like the big corporations...
I'm trying to be realistic about budget here, to see whether I can do this at all. Help me think this through -- there's a question at the end for authors. $250 for the author (for a novella, an essay or two, a few more shorter stories, about 100 - 150 pages of material), $100 for an b/w illustrator and a color image for the cover, $50 for the cover design, $100 for incidental costs (like buying ISBNs). That's $500 for the production end.
Then assuming POD as well as eBook, I still need to actually print some copies to handsell at conventions, at the SLF Small Press Co-op table. $500 initial budget for that? If it costs $7 / book to print, giving me 40 copies to start out with, and we sell the books for $12 / book (what PM is charging for their similar-sized offerings), that's $5 profit per book, so if I sell them all, $200 to reinvest into more copies. Plus some eBook sales (at $4.99 / book?).
I'm not even going to run the numbers in more detail -- I think I need to sell something like 200 copies to break even? And there wouldn't be any royalties until after that. So my question to the authors are, is $250 + maybe some royalties someday enough for you to even think about this project?