Writers in the Storm would like to thank Linda O. Johnston for her gift of HOWL DEADLY, her latest release in her Pet-Sitter Mystery series. Our lucky reader and commenter on Linda’s blog on Networking and Writing Organizations is (drum roll here) Jamila Jamison. Congratulations, Jamila. Happy reading!
And don’t forget to tune in on Friday when we’ll announce the winner of Michelle Diener’s debut release of IN A TREACHEROUS COURT. It’s not too late to read and comment on Michelle’s blog about Using Real People and Events in Fiction.
And here’s today’s offering, Adjusting to the Paradigm Shift.
By Laura Drake
Writers with an ear to the ground have heard the rumble for some time — the thunder of change, barreling toward the publishing industry like a huge herd of bulls down Wall Street. We all know it by now, but I’m constantly surprised by the speed at which it is coming.
I’m a CFO, which is a glorified numbers geek. So I did a bit of informal research recently, digging through my old RWR magazines. I looked at the ‘First Sales’ listing for the past two and a half years. I arbitrarily chose the July and November issues, noted the number of titles sold, and how many were to traditional NY publishers. I thought I’d see a decrease in the percentage of sales to NY. The results stunned me.
MONTH NY SALE/TOTAL SALES % OF NY SALES
Nov 08 5/12 42%
Jul 09 5/12 42%
Nov 09 3/10 30%
Jul 10 5/13 38%
Nov 10 2/17 12%
Jul 11 2/21 10%
Now, we can split hair about Carina, or Dorchester, but bottom line is — NY publisher first sales went from 42% to 10% in TWO years!
I don’t know about you, but for 13 years my goal has been to hold in my hand a paperback book with my name on it. I now have to accept that this may not happen. I’ve been told by my agent (God, how I love writing that!) that the majority of debut books are coming out in ebook format. These numbers sure seem to support that.
I was bitter. Don’t get me wrong – I want to sell a book. In any format. But old dreams die the hardest. I want that touchable in-my-hand book.
Then I looked at the numbers again and noticed something else. More debut books are being sold in a given month than they used to. 43% more. In TWO years!
Is this shift a boon or a bane to aspiring authors? It seems to me to be two sides of the same coin. Heads or tails? I think it depends on your dreams, and how open you are to changing them.
What is your dream? Are you setting your sights on a “Big Six” publisher, an indie press or self-publising? Do you feel energized or let down by the paradigm shift I’m describing?
We’d love to hear all your thoughts on this!
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