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Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Dragons AheadThe 14th century was a seriously bad time marked by The Black Death and The Hundred Years’ War. After the plague, to combat the wage inflation caused by there being 30-50% fewer folks standing around, the nobility said, “Sure, I’ll pay you twice what I used to pay you,” and then they turned around and devalued the coins they used. Thus, even though you were now paid 6 sous each day, with their value cut in half they’d only buy you 3 sous worth of goods. Complain as you might, you were powerless to change it.

Amazon is like that. No, not like the Black Death. Like medieval nobility. (Though you could make an argument for the Black Death, too.)

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It's a Trap!To be honest, I started this blog because I want your money. That’s not the only reason, but it’s definitely in the mix.

As a writer, I want people (i.e., you) to read my books. I’ve worked hard writing them, I’m proud of them, and I want folks to read them and enjoy them. I think my books are worth something, though, so I (generally) don’t give them away for free, which means readers must part with some of their money.

Ergo, I want your money. (more…)

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A blog post has been going around lately, in which Hugh Howey (bestselling author and book industry watcher) attempts to debunk some myths about publishing. Specifically, he addresses the standard tropes that the fast growth of the e-book market is  (a) materially damaging publishers, and (b) decimating the independent bookstore market.

His post (which is a good read) pulls together simple graphics from sources such as The New Republic, Bloomberg, and Harper Collins’ own PowerPoint slides, and lays it out clearly.

  • Publishers are making more money from e-book sales than from hardcover sales.
  • Independent bookstores are thriving in this post-Recession economy.

As evidence of the first item, Howey shows how the profit margins publishers enjoy from e-book sales is nearly twice the margin provided from hardcovers. Publishers’ profits are not on the MSRP of a book of course, but on the wholesale cost of the book. So, in the graphic I’ve linked to on the right, keep in mind that the 41% and 75% profit figures are based on the publisher’s share of the MSRP (which are $13.72 and $10.49, respectively). (more…)

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Recently, Roger Sutton (editor-in-chief of The Horn Book, a magazine that reviews children’s and YA books), declared in an open letter to self-published authors his reasons for not reviewing self-published books. The next day, Ron Charles (editor of The Washington Post’s Book World) picked up Sutton’s commentary for an article and interview, adding his own two cents of support at the end. Other editors and reviewers chimed in, echoing the comments and sentiments of both.

A few hours later, the self-publishing universe achieved critical mass and exploded.

Unfortunately, most folks involved in that explosion didn’t bother to read Sutton’s letter or the WP article. They just heard that their books had been interdicted, and that was enough send them into orbit.

Which illustrates a huge part of the problem: Self-published authors don’t understand the industry.

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Stack of BooksLast Saturday, I battled a demon, and emerged triumphant.

Okay, maybe not “triumphant.” But I was able to walk away under my own power.

Last Saturday, the Sumner Arts Commission, in partnership with the Sumner Public Library, hosted a panel of authors on the topic, “Getting it Right,” i.e., the importance of accuracy in historical research.

With me on the panel were three respected authors: Rebecca Morris, co-author of If I Can’t Have You, about the true story of the Susan Powell disappearance; Ned Hayes, who wrote Sinful Folk, a novel set in the 14th century; and Candace Robb (writing also as Emma Campion) author of the Owen Archer mysteries and whose latest novel, A Triple Knot, focuses on Joan of Kent, cousin to King Edward III.

Yes. Three bestselling authors.

And me.

In front of a crowd of people.

Speaking.

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Dragons AheadRejection: a small message written in fog and tea leaves from which a writer tries to extract any clue as to where the hell he went wrong.

I’ve got ’em–a big thick stack of ’em–and now that I’ve re-entered the fray of short story marketing, I’m getting more. Unfortunately, as cryptic as were the rejections I amassed a decade ago, the ones hitting my desk these days are totally inscrutable.

But last week’s Submit post got me thinking about those old rejections…Was there more to learn from them than I thought? So I went up into the attic, pulled down the dusty, crack-edged binder, and started to paw through them.

Here’s what I found.

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Dragons AheadI’ve never liked the word “submit.” To Submit, to place under, to capitulate, to yield.

Nope. Never liked it.

When I started writing, I learned a new meaning for the word “submit”: to send for consideration a manuscript, born of sweat and tears, wrapped in prayers and orisons, in hopes that, against overwhelming odds and counter to all probability, an editor will find it pleasing and bestow upon it the gift of acceptance.

And submit I did. Often and regularly. For years. I have the rejections to prove it (more on them, next week). For now, though, some thoughts on the mechanics of submitting your work to markets.

First: Do it.

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