Tag: Industry

How Do I Find New #Books (And New #Authors) To #Read?

Okay, I just read a great article about romance books – who is reading them, what kinds of romance books, and (here’s the important part dear readers) how readers find new books (and new authors) they want to read.

The key point was that, at least for this audience (though I think it may be equally true to other genres), the leading reason why people pick up a new author is because they heard about it from someone else. A recommendation, a review, word-of-mouth; it all matters. Here is the breakdown of how people discover new books.
Nielson Romance Report
Makes you really recognize the power behind those Amazon reviews and how they influence the purchases of readers. I have to admit, they usually help me decide between book. (Not to mention Amazon’s “other people who bought this book also bought…” notes at the bottom).

So, if you have a writer in your life, or a writer you love, show them how much you do by posting a quick review up at Amazon. It may ensure they can keep on writing.


Guest Post: Gail Z. Martin – The Changing Business of #Publishing (#writing post)

Iron & Blood Martin CoverUnleaded: Fuel for Writers is pleased to host Gail Z. Martin as our Guest Blogger for Friday, July 24th, 2015. Gail wrote for us last year and you can check out her post on Writing an Epic Fantasy Series.  This time she’s talking about the nitty-gritty of publishing.  How it is, how it was, and how it may become.

Also as a quick note, her new book Iron & Blood just came out this month! It is a steampunk novel set in an alternative history Pittsburgh chock full of airships, supernatural creatures, amazing inventions, and lots of explosions.  What more could one ask for? Here’s the scoop (yes, I’m making you read an advertisement before getting to the article…but it sounds so cool!):

New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress, while in the abandoned tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging only to feed.

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake’s cousin, Veronique LeClerque. But when their latest commission leads to Jake’s father’s murder, the three friends are drawn into a conspiracy where dark magic, industrial sabotage and the nightmares come to life will ultimately threaten not just New Pittsburgh, but the whole world.

 

The Changing Business of Publishing

ebooksTechnological change has destabilized the publishing industry, creating a structural upheaval that extends from top to bottom, from the way authors get paid to the means to produce and distribute their work. Not only does this mean that publishers must re-evaluate their role and value in the process of creating books and bringing them to market, but it also means that authors must begin to see themselves as part of the production process beyond the writing itself, to embrace an unprecedented level of entrepreneurship, and to navigate the changing relationship with publishers and the public.

Not too long ago, book publishers had a clear role. They selected books for publication, bankrolled the book production process, maintained relationships with the distribution channels of stores and libraries, and did a bit of promotion. Self-publishing before ebooks was difficult and expensive and without access to bookstores, was difficult for authors to do successfully, even ignoring the stigma attached to the process.

Four big things changed the status quo: the rise of ebooks and the decline of traditional bookstores, as well as the increased accessibility of professional-quality graphic design and publishing software plus the shift to print-on-demand technology.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe combination of good design software and the advent of ebooks meant that it was less expensive and much easier to produce a good-looking book without going through traditional publishing channels. The decline of physical bookstores and the rise of online booksellers gave ebooks a whole new audience, and print-on-demand meant that authors no longer had the financial barrier of purchasing an entire print-run of their book. Individual authors and small presses now had the ability to compete with traditional publishers in a way that hadn’t been possible since the Gutenberg Press.

So here we are, about a decade into this publishing revolution, and no one really knows how to maximize the new system. Big publishers were slow to adopt ebooks and print on demand, and ended up scrambling as profits fell. Small publishers and individuals scrambled to seize first-mover advantage with the technology, but didn’t find the golden egg. Big national chain bookstores have made poor decisions–many of which had nothing to do with books–and gone out of business or cut the number of stores. Independent bookstores, which had largely been driven out of business by the big chains, are starting a comeback. Library spending is struggling as local budgets are cut, in part as an aftereffect of the 2008 recession, and in part because of our current cultural shortsightedness about spending any money that benefits the average person.

And in the middle of the chaos is the individual author, trying to make valid career decisions. It’s no secret or surprise that even many well-known authors keep a day job, and that other established authors have been developing their own publishing capabilities and side businesses as publishers cut advances and shrink book deals. Just like the merger mania and downsizing in Corporate America taught every employee to think of himself as a temporarily hired freelancer or contractor, the shakeup in publishing has led to authors wondering how they can plan a future where they continue to publish and yet also can make a living doing so.

CrowdfundingPic2Increasingly, authors are adopting a hybrid career where they take contracts with traditional publishers, develop other projects through small presses and self-publish additional work. The rise of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding mechanisms to offset the risk of funding a publishing project and the advent of platforms like Patreon to pay authors to produce work have attempted to fill in some of the gaps left by big publishers, though imperfectly.

Authors today need to possess not only the skills to produce a good book, but also be savvy marketers, fearless entrepreneurs, and intrepid self-promoters. The days are long gone when an author’s job is done once the manuscript is turned in to the editor. Self-publishing can generate higher per-book pay, but it takes relentless effort for an individual author to achieve the kind of unit sales common in traditional publishing. Authors who have been in the game long enough to get rights reverted from out of print books now have the task of reformatting those books for ebook release. No one has found the magic formula.

Writing has always been considered to be an uncertain way to make a living, much like the arts and theater. I’d argue that in the long run, the net gain of ebooks, online bookselling and print on demand will work out for the best, although there’s a lot to be mourned in the lack of the stability that landing a contract with a big publisher used to provide. And until a more proven, stable business model emerges from the chaos writers and publishers are going to continue to muddle on, doing the best they can to make a living while creating the books they can’t live without.

kickstarterorderofthestick

Gail Z MartinGail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series; The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Check out more of her work (and blog) at AscendantKingdoms.com.

 

larry-n-martinLarry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development, as well as being a darn fine editor. Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration. On the rare occasions when Larry isn’t working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.

 

 

 

Find them at www.JakeDesmet.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin or @LNMartinauthor, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin free excerpts, Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

 

 

 

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Genre Sales Statistics

Piechart from BillowycoatLast time, I spoke about the dominance of the romance genre in book sales accounting for 21% of the book market. Since that time, there have been some requests for statistics as to the sales figures for other genres. The total net revenue for books in the U.S. was around $6.31 billion. Of that, Science Fiction/Fantasy accounts for $495 million or 7.8 % of the market. Classic Literary Fiction is about $448 million or 7.1 % of the market. I was rather surprised to discover that Mystery, which is at $422 million, is only 6.7% of the market. And perhaps the newest and fastest growing genre – Graphic Novels make up a not insignificant 2% of overall book sales, bringing in $128 million and those figures are expected to increase in the years to come.


Respect for Romance and RWA National

RWA Rita AwardIn the writing world, and even occasionally, the reading world you will hear people making fun of romance writers and fans of the genre. Even I’ve fallen victim to the hype and find myself buying my romance novels online where no one can see me and reading them in secret. But to honor the fact that Romance Writers of America held their National Conference here in Washington DC in July, I thought it would be good to clear the air once and for all about romance novels.

According to Simba Information, which reports U.S. book sales (net revenue from retail sources) – in 2006 romance sales accounted for $1.37 billion in revenue. Okay, now considering that the total sales of in the U.S. are around $6.31 billion. If you do the math, that means that romance novel sales account for more than 21% of the market. Pretty impressive. And if that isn’t enough romance books actually dominate bestseller lists. There were 288 titles on the lists (some represented twice because of the different formats for a total of 304 books) and 161 romance authors.

Maybe it’s time to give the romance genre the respect it is due.


References in Queries

Sometimes query letters have references to other works. According to a literary agent’s assistant at http://brainbombs.blogspot.com/ (blog is now defunct), about half of the queries that they’d selected for manuscript request this week have a line that says something like, based on your representation of such-and-such book OR interest in such-and-such genre, I thought you may be interested in my book XYZ.

She’d also seen the tactic where the author says, My book XYZ is similar in the themes of love and forgiveness in such-and-such book.

After a discussion with their in-house editor this is what she had to say: Mentioning a the work of an agent’s client is 1)flattering and 2)let’s them know you’ve put some thought into selecting them as an agent to query. Comparing your book in tone or theme or culture to another book gives the agency some sort of idea on your writing style.

Audio File: References in Queries – (An Unleaded, Fuel for Writers Podcast)

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