Tuesday, June 1, 2010

La Chiesa Rossa--red in any language


Some good insight by Sarah Jae Jones, a St. Martin's editor, on the different types of book readers and how the digital era might affect their reading habits. My own thoughts as a writer are similar--I believe the bestsellers in hardcover will still have a print following, especially those casual readers who only read the blockbusters they see on the cover of People or Entertainment Weekly--Da Vinci Code, twilight, Harry Potter, and the like. They read a few books a year, what Jones' accurately describes as "seeing what all the fuss is about." And, if you press them, those types of readers would describe themselves as "well read." I doubt if I'll ever be able to reach that audience.

The middling crowd, those counted on to support bookstores, are likely to migrate to digital books. I'll probably do both. I already read on the PC Kindle for Desktop, but I am waiting to buy an e-reader when the prices come down and there is more uniformity of format. I do like to re-read certain books, but I gave away cases and cases of books from my personal library when I realized "once was enough" or that I'd likely never be interested in reading a particular book (I used to do a lot of hoarding at rummage sales, which explains the random pile of genre fiction). I still have more paper books than I can comfortably read in a lifetime, but I've never been a trend or fad reader--I don't need the hottest bestseller or the "book everybody's talking about." I figure it will always be around and if it stands the test of time I can pick it up for a quarter in 10 years.

And that's the kind of stuff I write, the quarter books. I'm more of a disposable, working-class writer, a storyteller. I am fortunate enough to have some readers who like to collect all my books, but it would be difficult for me to sustain a hardcover audience, because that involves a huge contract. I would also have a hard--but not impossible--task of publishing genre fiction in midlist, mass-market paperback, but the cold truth is that the wait, the short shelf life, and the years and years of content loss means it's not only a bad move financially, it also doesn't really build a career.

I was talking to one of my translators about how this new era works. Making $5 a book per day may not seem much, but if you have 10 books on the market, that's $50. If you have 10 translations of those 10 books on the market, that's $500. A day. Sure, the translation work is difficult, and adds complications, but you also never know where you are going to be a hit--France, Germany, Spain, China. Everyone's buying the iPad, and the frontiers are just now busting open. In a global market, the first one overseas wins. I'm not sure I can get there fast enough, but here's to trying!
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14 comments:

author Christa Polkinhorn said...

Scott. Is La Chiesa Rossa going to be available in the U.S. as well, as an ebook on Amazon or Smashwords, for instance? Or do I have to travel to Spain to get it? Not that I would mind to take a trip there again. It's a beautiful country...

author Christa Polkinhorn said...

Oh, sorry, this is the Italian version, not the Spanish. What happened to the Spanish version?

author Scott Nicholson said...

Christa, the Spanish version is supposed to be out this year (I believe) from La Factoria de Ideas. I haven't heard anything lately. Also supposed to be out in Poland. I am not sure how the industry is faring overseas but I do have contrratcs. Still, I am taking it upon myself to get the translated editions out in as many places as possible.

Scott

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