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Archive for July, 2013

READING WRITING AND PUBLISHING

July 17, 2013 2 comments

By the time you finish reading this article over 1000 new book titles will have been published. Six months into 2013 the number of new titles published is 1,305193. By the time you have finished this sentence another seven titles will have been added to that number.

Simplistically, by this time in six months, almost three million new titles will have been published. Globally, more than 796 million people in the world cannot read. Forgive the statistics, but there is more. At the time of writing, there are over 140 million books available to read ,

An astonishing 42% of college graduates, after graduating, never read another book for pleasure, and over 80% of American families did not buy or read a book last year. The United Kingdom fares little better. More than 4 million people in UK have never read a book. In the past six months more than 12 million people in UK had picked up a book to read for enjoyment less than twice.

I was never good with numbers, can just about do long division and work out how much cash I have left for food and entertainment after paying necessary bills.

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But something about these figures is scary. Of the world’s 7 billion+ population probably half of them either cannot read, or never read a book for pleasure. That leaves about 3 billion who do read, and probably half of them don’t read books regularly or often. If estimated figures are to be believed, there are more Google, Twitter, and Facebook users by far, than book readers.

Is it that books are just too hard? Or take up too much precious social networking time? Someone better than I will have to address those questions.

On the one hand more books are being published every year than in the whole of history. My google stream is full of people writing books, joining writing communities, talking about books. It seems too that in spite of the previously quoted figures, the book business is very healthy. The book business is healthy because those few of us,; an actual MINORITY who do read, buy the majority of books sold. writimg

Since I began this article the number of new titles published this year has just reached 1,305,453 and the chances of most of those titles ever being read is tiny. That number is only the number of books actually published. If my social networking is to be believed, there are many many more people writing books that will never see the light of day. Of all those writers, (and given the figures quoted) I wonder how many of those people writing books, and talking about their books actually buy a book, or pick up a book and read it. I would hazard a guess that easily half of those wannabe novelists don’t actually READ or buy books themselves.

It seems to me that if you don’t read books, or don’t read books regularly and often, then writing a book and hoping to have others buy it and read it, is a pointless and pretentious exercise. books and reading   

How many books have YOU bought this year?

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PUBLISHERS AND PERCEPTIONS

July 12, 2013 1 comment
AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK PAPERBACK AND EBOOK . SIGNED COPIES AVAILABLE.

AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK PAPERBACK AND EBOOK . SIGNED COPIES AVAILABLE.

Do you bet? How much money would you put down on a 5000-1 chance of hitting paydirt? $1000? $5000? $50,000?

You’ve written a book and it took you perhaps a year to get the story down. You’ve done your best to edit it, (but you are a writer not an editor). Now you feel ready to submit it to publishers or publisher’s agents.

We’ll put aside the knock-backs. Rejection is going to be a part of your life from now on.

Then, one day you get THAT letter, that yahoo moment. You are going to get published, and what’s more, there is money mentioned. Three, four, even five 0’s. A publisher loved your book, and soon it will be on the bookshelves, featured in the New York Times, and the trade journals. You’ve got editors, maybe even a whole team of them just for you.

The advance is huge. Let’s imagine say, $50,000 and you are floating on air. They want you to do a promotional tour, staying at nice hotels, and having dinner with people you need to be seen hanging out with. You made it. You are an author, and every time you pass a bookstore you duck inside to touch and feel your book sitting alongside Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

You buy a nice car, put a deposit on a house, splash out on a few bottles of bubbly to share with your new friends. You are going to be rich. And famous!

With all the hustle and bustle and hype, you’ve sold 100,000 copies, but now your publisher is pushing you for the follow up book. He needs it fast to capitalise on your first monster success. Behind the scenes there is a veritable army of souls working their tails off just for you.

You spent a year on the first book, but the pressure is on. They want your next book in three months and you haven’t even sat down at the word processor yet. Too busy shaking hands and signing books, and waking up in strange hotels.

And then come the first tiny ‘suggestions’. The suggestions become pleas, the pleas become exhortations, and finally the exhortations become threats.

“But” you say, “ I’ve sold 100k copies. Sure, sales are falling off a bit, but I don’t have time to write!”

Fact is, a publisher took a gamble. Their ‘investment’ in you probably adds up to over $100k+ and sales haven’t paid all those wages. It’s on you now.

Your agent introduces you to a marketing guy, who introduces you to one or more ‘writers on demand’.

“Let’s be honest.” They say, through their shiny marketing smiles. You don’t really believe James Patterson has written 140 novels single-handed do you? It’s teamwork. Lots of the biggest name authors in the world don’t actually sit down and write every word! Don’t be so naïve! Think VC Andrews (she died long ago and still manages to put books out on the shelves). That’s not to mention Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler (whoops I just did!)

And that is the business of writing bulk best-sellers. Publishers call it co-operation or ‘contribution’. It’s a money business and the riches come to those who ‘co-operate’. You might just as well fit an earpiece to your head and phone it in like Patterson does, (or is that Clancy? I get mixed up these days. If I said I had just read the latest Grant Blackwood book, you might say ‘who?’ Oh I’m so sorry, I meant Tom Clancy, (or was that Clive Cussler?)

It’s no different with bloggers either. It’s a ‘write on demand’ world.

Just for information though, I write all my own blogs. I write all my own novels. But then, I’m not a corporate writer churning out books to fill up the airport bookshelves. I’m just a little novelist with a few books out. I really did write my latest novel myself. The Girl From Kosovo was never a shared (co-operative) job, and neither is the Butterfly Effect, due out as soon as I can get up to date with all the blogs I write for other people.

No one would ever buy the stuff I ghostwrite if I put MY name on it. For one, I’m a bloke who writes erotic fiction and romance for the chick lit crowd. (Doesn’t mean to say you haven’t read any.)

Celebrity books, and blogs promoting a person or a brand are perfectly acceptable in the busy lives of people in the public eye; that’s how we writers on demand make our daily bread. But if you are a writer struggling with your first (or second, or even third) novel, don’t worry, or feel inferior, or wonder why publishers keep rejecting you. Just look at the bestseller stacks in your local bookshop with new eyes. And NEVER feel bad that you may never have a bestseller.

Better to pay for the services of good editors, spend a few thousand if you have faith, or you are a bit of a gambler and go for a fair deal for services. (Beware the charlatans. It should NEVER cost you as much as you think it will. ) Subscribe to worthy digital publications like writersweekly, and learn the ropes of how to publish and make money doing it.

I could make a list of all the ‘service providers’ to avoid, because I know pretty much all of them by reputation. Best if I just say that there is one I know, from experience and reputation, that won’t rob you blind. If you self-publish, you’re not going to get that big advance, but neither are you going to have to pay it back. I’d rather spend a couple of thousand betting on myself. An individual, hard -working writer won’t make millions, not unless he or she gets VERY lucky and lands a movie deal or gets picked out of the pack by a publisher who can turn them into a corporation. Don’t get sucked in by publishers or perceptions.

AND if you do decide to go the self-publishing way, try Booklocker.

Authors note: Other than authors specifically mentioned no other authors mentioned here are, to the best of my knowledge, using ‘contributing’ authors. Mr King, and Mr Koontz are personal heroes. The author has NO AFFILIATION with, or agreements with Booklocker. This article was not commissioned by them, nor suggested by them.