Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Are Book Awards and Book Sales Related? How Representative is the Authors Guild?

           The Book Publishing Landscape

The publishing landscape has changed so much that past things of importance and impact are no longer – fizzled out like a spent firecracker sparkler.

Examples are the Man Booker award in the U.K. and the National Book Awards in the U.S. – Oh, these awards still have a sentimental value to some, but, apparently, do not generate any large increase in book sales, notoriety or the economic bottom line for authors as they may have done in the past. And what about authors who don’t receive awards?

Recent surveys by the Authors Guild have exposed a 30% loss in author income since 2009 – But, these losses represent authors under the umbrella of traditional publishing. Most (not all) are not even making a living wage.

So, how do we explain the thousands of self-published authors (again, not all) who are making quite a good living wage? Let’s find out.

Tonights research article comes from WUWM Public Radio in Milwaukee, WI., written by

Key excerpts:

Washington Post critic Ron Charles reviews the kinds of books that get nominated for literary awards. These are not the blockbusters, the books written by the likes of Stephen King and Nora Roberts that make millions.”

“Robinson says the landscape for writers has changed in many ways. They have to do more self-promotion, sometimes even offering their work for free online. The Authors Guild blames the decline in writers’ income on a combination of factors: online piracy of digital material, consolidation within the publishing industry, which has led to more focus on the bottom line, the dominance of Amazon and the rise of self-publishing which has cut into the market for traditional publishers.”

“Eisler is a self-publishing advocate who says the Authors Guild doesn’t represent all writers. Its membership skews older and it is mostly interested in maintaining the status quo of traditional publishing. Self-publishing may not be for everyone, he says. There is no question writers have to be more entrepreneurial. But he says it also offers them a choice when it comes to money and control — and the end result isn’t really all that different from traditional publishing.”

” “Yes, it’s absolutely true that most self-published authors aren’t able — at least not yet — to make a living from their writing,” he says. “But that’s also absolutely true of legacy publishing. It’s always been true.” ”

Read the entire article titled: “When It Comes To Book Sales, What Counts As Success Might Surprise You


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Frances Jeanne Said:

Alas! I feel like I’m getting too old for all the upheaval in the publishing arena! But again, it may be that my spirit is so low because I battled a 2 day virus that laid me low and on top of that, had to deal with a fender-bender episode. I’m mailing the DVD today.

"Debut Pricing" for ebooks

Hi, and a great Monday filled with happiness to all!

Ebooks are taking more and more share of the printed word. The pricing of ebooks, and when they should be released at lower prices so as not to derail the debut sales of their hard/softcover versions, are two big questions affecting publishers and authors during this transition period.

I am including a discussion of this conundrum below with some creative answers for the industry:

“Debut pricing” for ebooks: a better idea than withholding them
Posted by Mike Shatzkin on August 23, 2009 at 8:49 am

Three weeks ago, the community had a big discussion about the timing of ebook releases which was triggered by Dominique Raccah’s announcement that Sourcebooks would hold back the ebook of Bran Hambric for some period after the hardcover release. The expressed concern was to insulate the $28.95 hardcover from the price competition currently taking place in the ebook space, where Amazon has started working to establish a $9.99 retail price for new commercial titles, forcing to match them.
This post doesn’t quarrel with the suggestion that there’s a problem; it is a quest for a better solution.

Although Amazon has pushed some smaller publishers to a different discount structure, the established commercial houses usually sell ebooks to retailers at about 50% off the publisher’s retail price, about the same terms they have established for print books. But ebooks, title for title, add more margin (i.e. profit) to the publisher at the same net revenue because the books don’t have to be manufactured and shipped and there is also no cost of returns. (They would also generate more margin for the stores than print books if the stores sold them at the same price as the print book, but, as I pointed out in an earlier post, under current practices, they never will.)…Read rest of post @

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