I’m a day late Sharing the Wealth, but I’ve been working at home more than and more, with less and less time to write. I’d like to say the writing time I’ve had has gone toward fiction, but I’m not always that good. It was a slow week for the industry, still some good stuff out there.
TeleRead follows up Dan Meadows post on the value proposition of bookstores with an analysis of what the movie industry is seeing. It’s really interesting, and puts things in a new light. It also explains why every single movie right now seems to be an adaptation of books, fairy tales, or even board games.
TeleRead also brings us a quote from the Author’s Guild accusing Google of hurting Amazon sales with their book scanning. I don’t really know how I feel about the whole book scanning thing, I think Google took some liberties they maybe shouldn’t have but I don’t think there has been or will be any financial impact from that. At least not in a negative way. What’s so terribly cute is the Author’s Guild now blaming it for ruining their Amazon sales. Because they always need something to blame. Amazon ruined their B&N sales, B&N ruined their indie sales, ebooks ruin paper sales, paperbacks ruin hardcover sales. Anyone seeing a pattern?
Mike Shatzkin has a post on when and why author might self publish. First, he starts off by saying that, obviously, if an author already has a deal that is automatically the right one to go with. In listening to the self publishing podcast, the rocking self publishing podcast, and the self publishing roundtable I remember a dozen or so authors who turned down deals because of control issues…but whatever. He says money now is better than money later. He then goes on to discuss the speed to market and applauds how publisher are adapting by starting digital first imprints (even though Random House’s digital first publisher Hydra was so bad it actually dragged SFWA and John Scalzi into an actual act of author advocacy, nearly getting the whole company blacklisted). He points out how many authors have started out trad or gone back to it after being self published, ignoring those who do it the other way around. Lastly, he notes how agents have “filled the gap” as it widens between traditional publishers and authors, publishing author’s backlist and other work like that. Again, ignoring that many of these are effectively charging 15% to click publish.
Suzie Townsend discusses why agents might be bothered to represent you if you already have an offer from a publisher. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? Like, if I had an offer, my strategy would be to hire an attorney, pay a few grand for him to redline the document, then send him on his merry way. Of course, that won’t be a problem if the offer is too small or with a small publisher, because a lot of agents won’t be interested anyway, at least according to Ms. Townsend.
I’ve heard this before, but never the way David Farland puts it. He explains that writer’s block is effectively the author recognizing they’ve taken a story down a path it wasn’t meant to go.
David Gaughran tackles the tough topic of pricing. My first semester in business school (that were business courses that is) were on management, marketing, and information systems management. The first thing they teach you in marketing are the 4 Ps (everyone has a version of this concept). They’re price, place, promotion, and product. You can probably figure out all these (place is distribution), but everyone usually centers in on price.
Here’s the thing to remember, things are only worth what people are willing to pay for them.
If no one would buy gold than it would just be a fancy, useless metal. Same for diamonds or anything else. “Value” is a term that refers to that good’s offering to the consumer. It is the seller’s burden to communicate that value. The optimum price is the one that makes you the most money. You don’t want to discuss money in terms of your art? We passed that line when we started discussing price. Anyway, the optimum price is the highest price you can set that nets you the most buyers. Say you net five dollars a book and sell a hundred a month. You made five hundred dollars. Then lets say you lower the price so that you only net two dollars a book…but sell three hundred copies as a result. All that matters is that you made a hundred bucks more (though there is also the added benefit of more readers, which hopefully garners you more permanent readers and expands your customer base). Sure, there is plenty of thought to marking your book up so that it has a perceived greater value…but only if that gets you more sales. If it cuts your sales, and nets less money as a result, than that is a faulty reasoning.
Leonard Riggio, Barnes and Noble’s chairmen, has sold 3.7 million shares of B&N stock. Ouch. With all that’s been in the news, this is not good for their share price. He makes some fuss about this being in the best interest of mixing his portfolio…but there’s no good reason the chairmen of the company would do this.
We end the week with that. Everyone have a good rest of their weekend!