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Posts by TXRed

Publishing’s Crystal Ball – Slightly Cracked?

What will 2019 hold for authors and publishers? Change. What sort of change? Ah, there’s the rub… Read more

Business Filler Post – Print Sales in December

Howdy! I was browsing the news and thought this article from Publishers Weekly might be of interest:

“The publishing industry does not look like it is headed for a big finish to 2018. In the week ended Dec. 15, 2018, unit sales of print books fell 6.5% compared to the similar week in 2017 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Read more

Oh, Decisions, Decisions…

No, not “indie vs. trad-pub” or “Kindle Select vs. going wide.” I was thinking more about the decisions we make as we write and when we publish.

One question that I used to see popping up fairly often was “How do you know when you’re done?” The question seems to have faded in importance, in part because the GRRM-sized tome is not as in demand as it was 5 years ago, but it’s still a good question. How long the book should be depends on what you are writing and for whom. I write until the story is done. That can be 100K words, or 60K, or in-between.  110K words for me is a long book, really long. But I’m not writing to a market with a set length, be it short story or novel, so I can stop when the story does. If you are writing to a contract length or to a magazine or anthology market, you have a minimum and maximum that may require padding a little or trimming a little. Read more

Good Intentions Don’t Excuse Theft

Readers may remember the news breaking earlier this year about the author Chuck Palahniuk being robbed of several million dollars worth of royalties by his agency. Palahnuik was not the only victim of the agency’s bookkeeper.

That agency has filed for Chapter 7 protection, because the bookkeeper skimmed royalties from Palahnuik, Edward Gorey’s Estate, and others to fund a corporation that did good works .

Read more

The Chosen Hero

It is a trope that has been overdone, especially in fantasy, or so everyone seems to say. A prophecy of a Chosen One, a child born to be special, or a man or woman blessed by the gods to be better, stronger, wiser, braver, the one foretold who will save the world. And so he or she does.

I suspect my mind wandered this direction because this is the time of year when readings and songs talk about a Chosen One, a hero sent to save his people, a messenger of G-d. Now, the idea of signs and foreshadowings is not limited to Judeo-Christian traditions. King Mithridates used the legends of Alexander and Cyrus to have himself shown as one foretold. Some Chinese traditions hold that the mother of Confucius was visited by a special animal, a ki-lin, that foretold she would bear an especially blessed and noble child. Read more

Technical Glitch or Malice Aforethought?

Those of us who are writers might want to read The Passive Guy’s description of a problem that arose with Mrs. PG’s books on Amazon. How often do we triple check things we released a year or so ago? I know I haven’t in quite some time, unless there are edits/corrections that I have to upload.

As he puts it: Read more

Anyone Awake Yet?

So, those of us in the US are starting to awaken from the postprandial slumber induced by the gastronomic delights and excesses of Thanksgiving. Maybe.

It is time to think about holiday and post-holiday marketing and what will happen after this fiscal quarter wraps up.

A few predictions: 1) The management of Barnes and Noble will do their best to make the holiday sales look excellent and to make the fourth quarter’s numbers look beautiful. And if they are not, they will blame the ‘Zon.    2) Amazon will have a decent fourth quarter and will [one hopes] get the kinks worked out of the Amazon Print system that has replaced CreateSpace.  3) The Big Five will not be pleased about e-book sales, but will happily announce that people are returning to print books and all will be well, no need to panic, nothing to see here, move along. And just ignore the little voice behind the curtain reminding people that children’s books tend to be print, so the kids can have something to hold and unwrap (and chew on).

In other words, the sun will rise, birds will sing unless they are shivering too hard and their beaks are chattering, and people will buy stuff in November and December.

Do you, those who are planning to sell or have a special holiday sale, have everything ready to go?  You should at least have dates and titles sketched out, how much you are lowering prices and why. Is it to hook readers on your series? Is it to kick sales of your latest release(s) into higher gear to get word-of-mouth and reviews before the post-Christmas buying surge? Is it to gain visibility for a series that you are picking up again with fresher covers and new releases? What are your goals, what sales do you want to see, how are you going to discount and in which markets?

For new releases, what dates do you have to meet? Apple sent out their deadlines two weeks ago. I have not seen hard deadlines from the ‘Zon yet, and I’d plan on having everything ready by no later than December 5 for Kobo, in case they have another short-notice software and hardware update between December 18-January 7 as happened in 2013-14. I was not the only writer dismayed to find myself locked out of getting books approved that year.

Now that you are thinking that a turkey coma relapse might be good, let’s do something really scary…

Readers, when do you buy books for gifts and how often? My family is big on books as gifts, both for adults and kids. We used to do the combo packs of book and stuffed animal, but dust allergies and a new puppy precluded that. I’m 100% in favor of giving kids and older children print books, as well as gift cards for e-books. Luddite that I am, the less screen and the more page, the better I think it is for the under 13 cohort.

Do you give fiction or non fiction? Or do you give gift certificates and cards so people can pick for themselves?

My big point is that as readers and as writers, we look at the fourth quarter and books differently. We writers need to put on our reader hats and think about how we sell during this time, or if we would do better to avoid the December Crush and focus on the entire year. We don’t depend on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as much as others, thanks be, but it is a good time to get Eyes On Books for the future.

Me? I’m going to release the third Shikari book in December, and have plans to launch the fourth one in January or February. I also have two Merchant books to polish and get ready, and the last Colplatschki title. As for marketing and sales, well, you’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

Edited to add: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4224316-barnes-and-noble-needs-turnaround-expert

Because fake-fur-lined reading socks are not going to be enough to save the books. No, I am not kidding. They are the first display when you walk into the regional B&N.