Sunday, January 12, 2014

Contradictions Everywhere

Are any of you confused by all the information you read about publishing trends, publishing advice, and most recently, publishing predictions? Well, my hand is raised and waving frantically.

A few weeks back, I quoted from a blog by Libby Fischer Hellman telling authors to stop writing so many books. She said that too many authors were publishing books too quickly. She said that quality is important (Konrath, Dean Wesley Smith, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch would agree) and that “binge publishing”, as she called it, wasn’t helping anyone. I remember referring to a couple of authors who blogged about the backlash from publishing too much too fast, as each new title resulted in fewer sales.

So, this week I read a piece in the Wall Street Journal (link might expire) touting the success of multi-published authors who publish several books a years. Russell Blake has released 25 books in 30 months. He apparently believes in volume and works from eight in the morning until midnight at a treadmill desk. For him, volume is paying off as he’s sold 435,000 books at around $5 each while earning 70% of royalties.

Another woman published 11 romances in 2013 and she has sold over 400,000 copies. Bear in mind, though, that the road wasn’t easy. Blake reports that he lost money on his first 10 books as he paid on average $1,500 for editors and designers for each book, but then changed his marketing tactics. From there things took off. Needless to say, his story certainly contradicts what I’d heard from others.

Meanwhile, the 2014 predictions are out, and following them makes my head spin too. Some are saying that digital publishing is now mature and thriving, and will continue to thrive. Others say, that softening sales in 2013 will likely continue in 2014. Well, I could go on with the many contradictions in this industry, but frankly, I’ve read enough for one week.

I’ll have to be satisfied with striving to write better and more efficiently. In other words, doing the best I can. Since I’m working a day job now, writing from 8 a.m. to midnight is impossible. I didn’t attempt this when I was writing full time either—didn’t want to. But that’s the point. Each of us has to find our own path and definition of success. If you read all the blogs and articles about the writing biz, take what resonates with you out of them, then find your own way to achieving your goals. Best of luck to you in 2014!!

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