Monday, August 30, 2010

Coolness in Publishing

Little late in waking this morning.  What I've learned in publishing?  The show will go on, whether I'm over sleeping my beauty rest or not.  However, with the lovely invention of the internet (it's bringing me to you, isn't it?), I can catch up on my lost last four days in only an hour surfing.  I'm still adjusting to the whole "watching the news and trends" thing, so I mix in some things I think are cool, with the things that (to me) are snooze fests.  However, they are all relevant.  So, cool things:

Tim Ferriss shows us what is actually happening with the Kindle phenomenon and dispels the notion that traditional publishing is going extinct in his blog.  He says that last year, for him, his digital book sales were a mere 1.6% of his total book sales.  My favorite part of the blog?  "Kindle books selling well does not mean that print books are selling poorly."  He claims the opposite to be true.  Coming into this business when I am, I was nearly frightened off by all the doom and gloom people are spouting about traditional publishing and how I (as a future agent) won't have a job in five years.  I thank people like Ferriss who keep things in perspective.
Read more:

I won't pretend to like movies made from books (or sequels, or spin-offs), but I guess if you are a many times best selling author getting a push from Hollywood before the movie is even made, well that's just down right cool.  It can only increase book sales and, when the movie does get made, a lot of the publicity is already laid in place.  Enter Nicholas Sparks, author of Safe Haven.  Book comes out on Sept 14.  Movie isn't due out for another year.  Will the hype work for you?
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Ok, I was just rejoicing that traditional publishing isn't disappearing.  However, the Oxford English Dictionary will not be printing another edition.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Is it representative of all publishing getting the boot?  Or does it simply mean that it is easier to type a word and "define" into Google and .000137 seconds later get the top definitions available online?  I personally can't remember the last time I picked up my dictionary.  My computer is under my fingertips, hooked up to the internet 24/7.  My dictionary is two steps away on a shelf in between other books.  To access it I would have to stand up, turn, take two steps, wiggle it out of its cozy home, open, and search.  Then again, my family still has a full set of encyclopedias downstairs in a crowded bookshelf.  I remember using those one year for a project in elementary school.  Now we have Google and Wikipedia.  So, was it just a matter of time before dictionaries and thesauruses went the same direction?
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When looking for a memoir to sell, we need only two things: adequate writing and PLATFORM.  Why the big letters?  Because it's important.  How can your cozy memoir about raising the most adorable three legged dog or battling terminal cancer possibly compete with former President Bush's new memoir?  Now, as I've said before, I don't follow news much, and that includes politics.  But I can't ignore how many books his name alone will sell!  What it means for the world of politics (will it change people's minds about him? will it reveal any new or shocking information on Katrina or 9/11?), remains to be seen. (I wonder if it had a ghost writer or if Bush wrote it all himself?)
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Imagine walking into your small local bookstore.  You ask the sweet old lady at the counter for a book you are sure is out of print.  Yup, it sure is.  Do they have it?  Not on the bookshelf, no.  But you won't walk away without it.  Print on demand is an up and coming fad (well, why not?).  Prices vary, but Oscar's "Dr. Art Hister's Guide to Living a Long & Healthy Life" sold for $19.95.  Beats driving all around town looking for it or ordering it online and paying shipping.  Plus you get to watch it being printed and binded, just for you.  Is it worth it for small chain stores?  "It's worth it because the store is getting a sale it otherwise wouldn't."

So that's what I've learned just this morning.  Off to other important publishing duties (queries, partials, and manuscripts, Oh My!).  Happy writing!

1 comment:

Angela McCallister said...

I've worried as well over the state of publishing with the doom and gloom around lately, but then this morning a coworker told me all about his new Kindle. He loves it and says he actually reads more than he did before he got it, a lot more. I asked other coworkers who had an e-reader, and they agreed. Maybe it's just another door open. I am encouraged, at least for today.

Personally, I'd like to get a Kindle eventually, but even then, I'll never stop buying print books.