Saturday, January 29, 2011

How NY is Fueling Its Own Demise

I don't like to talk sales numbers, because it inevitably sounds like whining or bragging, but since Jan. 4, I have sold more books than Snooki, according to this article.

I know the major publishing industry is desperate and that's part of the reason they have been tossing real writers overboard while others are fleeing like rats from a burning ship. Every "sure bet" deal for Snooki or George Bush or Sarah Palin or Madonna sends 100 real writers to the soup kitchen.What's stunning is how New York is so actively and willfully tossing gasoline on the flames of its immolation. By failing to recognize the tastes of readers or developing the literary talents of tomorrow while engaging in a wholesale denial of what people want to pay and how they want their books delivered, their ship will soon be a smoking cinder slipping beneath the waves.

Not coincidentally at all, those writers look for their audience elsewhere, and the largest, hungriest audience in the world is sitting next to their Kindles as we speak. The Kindle/Nook phenomenon is not just a tech craze or a groovy new consumption model. It's a release valve for the pent-up desires of so many people craving a wealth and diversity of reading material. Your average public book display will have 20 copies of the same 20 books all across America. Those books are the top 20 on the bestseller lists for obvious reasons.

People now have a choice. Nearly a million choices, really. And it's only the beginning.


Charlie Pulsipher said...

I agree. I'm keeping a close eye on the ebook revolution as I continue to write my novel. The big publishers are screaming that if everyone goes ebook there will be no quality control. Yet, their quality control gives us trashy books "written" by celebrities or they squeeze out books that cannot claim to be well written just because similar stuff is selling. Readers and writers are taking notice. It is an exciting and scary time to be writing.
Funny Stuff I Write

author Scott Nicholson said...

I totally agree, Charlie, except for the "scary" part.


Charlie Pulsipher said...

Ah...the scary comes into play as I am quitting my job to start a refinishing business and to write. I alternate between giddy excitement and sheer terror. As an unpublished writer and refinishing hobbyist, it is a scary step to make.

Rabid Fox said...

I must admit to audibly laughing as I read the headline of Snooki's book sales. My cynical side envisioned a bestseller coming from her, so I'm pleasantly surprised to see America reject that tripe.

Stephen T. Harper said...

Nice Post Mr. Nicholson.

I have a pretty decent take on the inevitable homogenization of art when it is controlled by corporate money, and the exciting possibilities when fields become suddenly wide open. It's here if anyone would like to take a look.

And speaking of Snooki - is it really that much of a surprise to anyone but the publishers that her book isn't doing great? This is the same mindset that, according to Konrath's recent post, turned down a well written book with a ringing cash register of a title like, "The Dirty Parts of the Bible." I think that if I were in the business of selling other people's books, I would have bought the rights to that without even reading it first. So it's perfectly conceivable to me that it might never have occurred that... "maybe people who watch "Jersey Shore" on MTV don't read a lot of books." No?

author Scott Nicholson said...

Yeah Stephen, I think that's a good observation. Goes with Charlie up there---playing it "safe" usually backfires! I will go check your post.

Gef, I too thought Snook would sell some books just because of all the TV appearances. A lot of money was wasted. But this was also a joke from the beginning.


Brenda said...

Amen, Brother Scott. You probably already saw this early 2011 Kindle Nation survey which also demonstrates exactly what you're saying. The KN survey showed that the first 1900 respondents had a 41% negative view of big agency model publishers and only 10% had a positive view, but even more importantly 52% reported a positive view of independent and emerging authors and only 1% reporting a negative view of indies and emerging authors.

Stephen T. Harper said...

Very interesting Brenda. Thanks for posting. I hadn't seen that.

Neal Hock said...

Ah, choice is a beautiful thing!


Layton Green said...


Jeff said...

Scott - Yeah!!

I'm not sure whether it is good or bad that I have no idea who Snook or Snooki is! (Bush and Palin, and even Madonna, I've heard of. I'm not sure whether that is good or bad either.)

author Scott Nicholson said...

hi Jeff, Layton, Neal,
Well, KND has a target audience of people looking for cheap books, so we indies are happy to oblige!


JL_Bryan said...

I really liked that KND article. :)

It's so interesting to watch the market evolve so fast.

As for quality control, that's something any dedicated author cares about. That's why I hire an indie editor/experienced author (*cough* Scott *cough*) to edit my new books now.

Anonymous said...

Regarding talking about sales numbers and bragging, I think it's possible to do the former without the latter.

To wit:

Amazing, no?

author Scott Nicholson said...

Yep, Amanda is a true cultural phenomenon, and the lucky people know who it came from (as I also mentioned in my year-end report on my own numbers--it's the READERS who make these things happen. Writers don't really do much besides what they would do anyway).


Nicholas La Salla said...

Hi Scott!

Thank you for releasing your backlist on Kindle -- I unfortunately missed out on "Red Church" and the rest while they were on store shelves, but I'm going through them now with my Kindle and I'm really enjoying them.

And hilarious post by the way -- Snooki? You're not doing half bad. ;-)

Your "Virgin in the Church" articles inspired me big time back when I sold my first novel to Wizards of the Coast. Unfortunately, WotC canned their line of fiction before my book could see the light of day. I'm now going back and publishing it myself on Kindle, using the official final draft that would've gone to print had WotC not imploded.

If you're interested, you can read my blog, Living in Fantasy: An Author's Journal.

I'd love for you to take a look at my book upon its release. I know you are busy, so no worries if you can't. :-)

Thanks again for the books and your website, and all the advice on here and in the articles.

Keep on writin' the good fight!

- Nick