Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Osprey book vote

Posted by Martin on August 11, 2011

Over at Osprey Publishing, there’s one of their periodic book votes where people are invited to express their preference for which book they’d like to see published. One of the current candidates is a new Men-at-Arms book entitled “The Army of the Kingdom of Saxony 1810–13”. Let’s just say that it would make me and some friends of mine very happy if this particular suggestion were to get your support. Especially since it’s lagging behind in fourth place at the time of writing 😦

12 Responses to “Osprey book vote”

  1. Burkhard said

    Did my duty!

  2. Rob said

    I had wondered if you were involved with this when I saw the title listed. My votes in, but let’s hope that the Kingdom of Saxony overcomes the WWII steamroller.

    Fingers crossed!

    (and here’s hoping to some Saxony offerings from Calpe in 2011 as well!)

  3. I’ve performed my duty as well … but it aint looking good! 8O(

    Hope springs eternal though.

    von Peter himself

  4. Ralph said

    Roger done! But its still not looking good – 4% – Don’t these people appreciate anniversaries!

    • Dave Hollins said

      I would not hold your breath – there is a Saxon MAA already (and the Russian MAAs are 25 years old). If you look at Osprey’s public information, they have sold their soul to the US market (now 60% of turnover) and stuck two fingers up at the Europeans – not the brightest move in the current foreign exchange market! There is still plenty of hate towards anything Russian or German in the US market, which prefers glorifying its own history. If you look at the Osprey blog, they are trumpeting the Nap books for 2012 and it is quite illuminating. They have withdrawn to a few select authors – Pawley on the Guard, Chatrand, (Stuart Reid for 2011) and Haythornthwaite. There is one book on the Swiss, but no reference to their 1790s mercenary units, while Haythornthwaite is writing what can only be a rush job on Borodino (bear in mind that publication is 6 months after the author delivers). Haythornthwaite is a pleasant, well-meaning guy, who has also been commissioned to write two Tactics book on heavy and light cavalry – his research as not even gone as far as noting that Austria and Prussia only had one set of regs for all the cavalry, much of which was composed of training the new recruit. I ex[ect we will be in for a rerun of that rubbish about cuirasses.

      I have to declare an interest – I withdrew my last two suggestions a few months ago. There is no point in writing original, well researched work for them.

      • Martin said

        Hi David,

        Good to know you’re still reading my little blog and commenting occasionally here.

        Yes, we’re well aware of the previously published Saxon MAA. It’s a very old title (published in 1979) and actually out-of-print. It’s also actually weak by modern standards. Hypothetically speaking, you understand, if I were involved in the idea for a new Saxon MAA, the existence of the old book is something that I would take into account.

        Your other observations about Osprey’s approach to Napoleonic MAA publishing are interesting. Over the last couple of years I have wondered about the sales potential of some of the recently published titles. For example, I wonder just how many copies of “Napoleon’s Scouts of the Imperial Guard” were printed or sold. If they can commercially justify a whole MAA for a couple of regiments that only existed in 1814, there’s hope for other subjects.

        Out of interest, what were the two suggestions you withdrew and have you approached an alternative publisher?

  5. Dave Hollins said

    They only justify these limited titles by the need to feed their regular authors and that they are safe subjects. Beyond that, they take the attitude that there is an existing title, which they can sell with the only costs being printing and distribution. Even so, many relevant books were OOP in 09 and we will see the same in 12. Consequently, what they are pushing out is being knocked out quickly as the info is easy to get hold of. They will not sell, even on quite short runs, except to the usual audience, precisely because these days, that information is very easy for everyone to get hold of. Then they say Naps do not sell and obscure subjects can be binned.

    Many MAAs need rewriting – I offered to do the Austrian infantry MAA in 09, but never received an acknowledgement – but it will not happen, because it requires capital commitment, which can get a better return as Underpants of the 82nd Airborne. The profit on turnover is just 6% and the venture capitalists have been in far longer than average (usually 3-7 years), precisely because they are not making much money – and by Osprey’s own admission, it is coming from rights and things like those magazine series

    I had left Rivoli (Campaign) and Charles (Commander) open, but the Commander series is already in trouble (£2 off the price) due to recycling the same old material. Rivoli is too much work for the return and Charles too complex for one book.

  6. Ralph said

    I don’t understand how ‘Charles’ is ‘too complex for one book’ albeit an Osprey? Surely even the most complex of studies or stories can be abbreviated to a precis, perhaps just concentrating on his method of command during one particular campaign – I guess it would have to be 1809….And you know from TMP how much interest has been shown in your ‘Rivoli’ project

    • Dave Hollins said

      I wouldn’t take TMP as the measure of anything, except the likely Tea Party vote in 2012! (Sorry, no more politics)

      I was really talking about writing a full biog of Charles – the Osprey Command format is failing already (they have knocked £2 off the price). I have had this discussion several times, but the problem with Charles is that he held both political and military posts pretty much contemporaneously. You have to understand one to grasp the other, so it has been impossible to satisfy publishers, who want one or the other.

      As for Rivoli, yes, there is plenty of interest in the Rev Wars (and Saxon cavalry fought very well for Charles in 1796, which is why Saxony really needs a book covering the whole period), but it is a lot of work for little reward. I have done enough for nothing already.

      • Ralph said

        Hmm, shame Dave.

        Interesting to hear about Charles’ political problems, it seems it was not just Napoleon and Wellington who had to keep looking over their shoulders…

        And to think that Flag Officers today complain about long handled screwdrivers from No. 10…

  7. Dave Hollins said

    Just to say that looking at Osprey, they have recently been taken over by a bunch of asset strippers, (aka private equity) folk, who have injected money for further acquisitions. They will sweat assets, sell any property belonging to small outfits they take over and will only be publishing guaranteed success titles. Think the AA and Southern Cross if you are in the UK.

  8. Dave Hollins said

    Just a thought on the main subject – the Saxon army has a reputation fo being antiquted by 1809 and the uniforms are 7YW. If that is right, Stephen Summerfield is writing one of his uniform books on the Saxon army of the 7YW at the moment.

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