Columns > Published on October 6th, 2022

Do It Yourself Limited Edition Releases

Normally, limited editions are handled through specialty publishers. These publishers often approach authors directly about particular titles. The size of the print run depends on the publisher’s estimation of the title's sales potential and the popularity of the author in question.

But as with everything else in publishing, a lot more authors are now going their own way.

Do It Yourself

The most common scenario in recent years has been authors offering signed editions directly to readers. They buy a certain number of paperbacks or a short run of hardbacks of one of their releases. They put together other swag including bookmarks, stickers, and magnets. For authors growing in popularity, readers eat these offerings up.

But authors are also doing true limited editions, special releases for a limited run offered nowhere else.

Obituaries 1, Obituaries 2, and Beyond

We’re going to take a closer look at Obituaries from Aron Beauregard, Daniel J. Volpe, and Kristopher Triana as an example. Triana in particular has released several traditional limited editions. Volpe was one of the authors involved in the Exits limited edition. Beauregard had a similar vision for Obituaries, bypassing Amazon so they could be bolder with the stories and more graphic with the art without running into trouble.

The first Obituaries limited edition release is a powerhouse offering. The stories are brutal. The artwork is unlike anything I’ve ever seen from a traditional release. There’s a very punk rock underground feel through the entire work.

Beauregard recalls writing a used car salesman style email at two in the morning to try to bring Triana onboard. Triana remembers it differently with a longer, ongoing discussion of what they wanted to accomplish.

All three writers put in a large portion of their own money to fund the project. They met together to sign copies in person. They launched the sale from all three of their websites on a Facebook Live and sold numerous copies immediately. The entire run sold out in a week and a half. Plans to go forward with a Halloween release for Obituaries 2 quickly followed.

By the time this article publishes, Obituaries 2 will likely be out, and plans for a future volume will be set in motion. The authors sold the honor of being included in the second volume's list of obituaries in order to offset the setup costs. Those sold out quickly, which is very promising for the potential of this release. Obituaries 2 will be longer with a higher page count, surpassing the 100 page mark.

All three authors have loyal audiences that overlap in the extreme horror/splatterpunk sphere, and offering something unique like this has a powerful draw. The build-up advertising to Volume 1 was just vague enough to attract everyone’s attention for the livestream launch, which was the first time anyone knew what they were getting, and buyers responded immediately. All three authors were drawn to the idea of offering something different for readers and were happy with the initial success.

Whether this can be replicated by other authors remains to be seen.

In the Future

The guys told me a lot of future plans for Obituaries that I’m not allowed to share yet. From the art to the contributors to future editions, there are a lot of exciting plans in place based on the success of this do-it-yourself limited edition series.

From swag packages to true limited editions, a lot of authors are asking, “Why can’t we?” What’s stopping us from doing this ourselves and keeping all the profit? I imagine we will see more ideas like this at play in indie and self-publishing. The only limits are what the individual authors are willing to invest upfront, how well they advertise and build hype, the reach of their audience, and their creative offerings in this expanding do-it-yourself space.

About the author

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in beautiful Conway, South Carolina. He is a full-time writer of horror and speculative fiction. Jay left his job as a teacher to become a full time writer and has never looked back. Well, that’s not entirely true. He wants to be sure he isn’t being followed, so he looks back sometimes.

Similar Columns

Explore other columns from across the blog.

Book Brawl: Geek Love vs. Water for Elephants

In Book Brawl, two books that are somehow related will get in the ring and fight it out for the coveted honor of being declared literary champion. Two books enter. One book leaves. This month,...

The 10 Best Sci-Fi Books That Should Be Box Office Blockbusters

It seems as if Hollywood is entirely bereft of fresh material. Next year, three different live-action Snow White films will be released in the States. Disney is still terrorizing audiences with t...

Books Without Borders: Life after Liquidation

Though many true book enthusiasts, particularly in the Northwest where locally owned retailers are more common than paperback novels with Fabio on the cover, would never have set foot in a mega-c...

From Silk Purses to Sows’ Ears

Photo via Moviegoers whose taste in cinema consists entirely of keeping up with the Joneses, or if they’re confident in their ignorance, being the Joneses - the middlebrow, the ...

Cliche, the Literary Default

Original Photo by Gerhard Lipold As writers, we’re constantly told to avoid the cliché. MFA programs in particular indoctrinate an almost Pavlovian shock response against it; workshops in...

A Recap Of... The Wicked Universe

Out of Oz marks Gregory Maguire’s fourth and final book in the series beginning with his brilliant, beloved Wicked. Maguire’s Wicked universe is richly complex, politically contentious, and fille...

Reedsy | Editors with Marker (Marketplace Editors)| 2024-05

Submitting your manuscript?

Professional editors help your manuscript stand out for the right reasons.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.