Sunday, October 19, 2008


Now I will be the first to admit that I don't know everything about the publishing industry. Agents like to project that aura--it's good for business, after all--but there's always a ton to learn. And the fact that we can continue learning about our field is a good thing.

Which is why I absolutely loved this blog post by Andrew Wheeler, who I've met briefly in person, and liked quite a bit.

It's about the marketing end of the book business, the rationale behind how buyers pick books, and a nice dose of bookselling history too.

Absolutely recommended reading.

PS: Jodi, my slush-reading goddess, offers the opinion that that's a depressing blog post. It is in some ways, but face it people, it's better to be realistic than to imagine that your book is going to fly into la-la land and sell 10,000 copies off the bat as a hardcover.


Damon said...

Sobering stuff - thanks, Jenny.

I've been picked up by a couple of chains, skipped by another. (And I could've predicted which chain did what.) It might be frustrating, but they know their own customers: the skippers' patrons really weren't my market.

Sure, an advertising frenzy might've helped, but only so much.

Is this depressing? Not really.

The majority of authors don't write to be millionaires. A few do strike gold, but most of us write because we have something to say - and we hope a few thousand people will find it illuminating, entertaining or provocative. (Enough to pay for the publisher's bottom line.)

James Klousia said...

It was a little depressing to see that book sales are dropping, but at the same time, I'm trying to remain optimistic about the future. There are so many factors that contribute to the market that it's impossible to tell what's going to happen in the next 10 years.

One big factor - in my opinion - is audience. There was a report on a 'current affairs' show over here (Australia) just last week talking about how kids don't read books anymore. The report didn't mention what that meant for the publishing industry, but if the number of pleasure readers drops like this show predicted, book sales may be dismal after all.

But there's still hope! In an effort to encourage children to read, the Tasmanian government has put an initiative into place where every household with a child under three (don't quote me on the age) is given a set of children's books.

I guess it really comes down to one question: would I stop writing? And the answer, of course, is 'no!'