Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Book Sale

The queries and openings aren't exactly rolling in, which means this blog is on its last legs, which means I gotta get rid of the excess books on my shelves. So I've reduced the prices of most of the books in the Evil Editor Bookstore by about $5.00. Not that big a deal on the big color books, but considering that the shipping costs are included in the prices, the less expensive books  (Novel Deviations, Why You Don't Get Published, Evil Editor Teaches School) are now ultra-affordable.

Because shipping is included, these prices are good in US only.

Also, good news for those who don't wish to pay the high cost of Evil Editor's graphic novel Schliegelman Saves the Universe. It's now available as an ebook for your iPad. That's how Blurb, who printed the books, describes it, but I have no trouble viewing it on my desk computer screen, so it's probably viewable on any device. You pay $2.99 in the bookstore and I send you the code or link or whatever it is to let you read it on your screen.


Anonymous said...

What the hell? Aren't there more people than ever trying to get published? I visit agency websites and a number of them say "We used to respond individually to every query, but due to the overwhelming volume, we no longer" etc.

alaskaRavenclaw said...

I think maybe self-publishing has reduced the number of people trying to get published. Just a guess.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking that too, but then why are agencies swamped with queries?

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

They always have been. Many years ago I got a query letter of mine back from an agent with "Sorry-- Drowning in manuscripts!" scrawled across the bottom.

I considered it a narrow escape.

But I think the number of queries now is probably less than it was before. What I'm seeing now is people switching to self-publishing a lot sooner. We used to expect to go through a few trunk novels before we sold. These kids today, now; if their first manuscript doesn't sell, they self-publish it. Hundreds of thousands of manuscripts a year are being self-published. This means the bottleneck that used to occur at the gates is being siphoned off a bit. To mix a metaphor.

That's what I think I'm seeing, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, makes sense. I guess those agencies that "can no longer" respond individually are attracting more business as they increase their presence or simply endure.

The rush to self-publishing is shaking out in so many ways. Seemingly there should be less competition for us old-fashioned types who are willing to query, revise, etc., but editors and publishers are becoming increasingly risk-averse as consumption of (traditionally-published) books falls.

Evil Editor said...

Possibly the vast majority of self-publishers sell a grand total of 12 books and decide to return to the ways that involve less effort and expense. Thus the reduction in manuscripts being sent to agents proves to be a minor lull.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I don't know that consumption of traditionally pubished books is necessarily falling. My impression is that those who read the self-published e-books weren't necessarily regular book buyers before. Nobody I know reads self-published books. I think it's largely a different market.

At least in my genre, traditional publishers are acquiring many more titles than they were 15 years ago. It's true the actual number of readers of traditionally published titles probably hasn't gone up, but the number of books being acquired has.

I sometimes get spammed by self-publishers promoting their books. If I'm bored, I google them, and find interesting numbers. As many Twitter followers as your average rock star. As many amazon reviews as your average bestseller. As many actual sales... well, the sales ranks suggest the sales figures are about what Evil Editor said. Or maybe a bit lower.

They keep doing it, though, as far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

I just googled "publishing industry in trouble" and "publishing industry failing" and didn't come up with much. Must have been my imagination -- I could have sworn publishers were panicking a few years ago about declining sales, and that was why the Big Six are now the Big Five. Maybe it is a matter of genre. I have a friend who writes serious nonfiction and her recent difficulties have been enlightening.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Some self-publishers do like to suggest that their own activities are causing traditional publishing to fail. However, you can safely conclude from the continued availability of crudloads of books that this is not so.

The mergers have always happened. A quarter century ago I wrote a book that sequentically belonged to three different publishers even though it was only in print for about five years. All businesses conglomerate.

Small publishers always struggle more just as most small businesses struggle more. They often end up either failing, or being acquired by big publishers. It's a bit like small family farms being edged out and acquired by agribusiness conglomerates. Agriculture, however, goes on.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Ouch. Did I write that? "SequenTIALLY."

davefragments said...

I have a couple friends who take their i-phones and download whatever is free on Amazon Kindle and read it when they have time. I never asked if what they read is good or bad because that's impolite. However, in their position, they only have time when a paperbound book is inconvenient. In addition, I don't think that a lot of small publishers work at increasing their market or audience. There are lots of journals and anthologies out there simply published because they fit the very personal desires of the editor. That isn't in itself bad but the subject matter might not have a big audience.

khazar-khum said...

Dave, it isn't impolite to ask if they liked a book or if they thought it was pure suckitude. People love giving their opinions on books.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Agree w khazar-khum.

davefragments said...

I don't understand why you would tell me that. You can't possibly know my friends think.

More to the point was that many people are reading electronic books and unfortunately for writers who want to make a living, free books. That's the model that most paper publishers I see neglect. That's the change that AMAZON and online publishing has brought to the business of book printing. I see many people listening to books from their phones while driving or commuting, while waiting in doctors offices, while taking a break. AMAZON really pushes KINDLE onto cellphones and tablets.

Where I buy a book every other month and read it through, they never buy a book. They "read" audio and electronic books as a filler in the day. FLASH Fiction is that way -- a short read with a punch, and they move on. Those publishers do not require agents to manage the process of publishing. I have one friend who sends me short stories from NATURE magazine -- single page flash that is quite interesting.

Look at the publishing history of a book like Andy Weir's THE MARTIAN. It started as a 99cent download chapter by chapter and is now a movie. On the other hand is Neal Stephenson's SEVENEVES which took 8 or 9 years to write and used the author's platform to launch into this year's big book. Both of those books are in the grand and established traditions of SciFi but they came to market in entirely different methods.

The old model of an agent selling a book to a publisher is gone because of electronic media. I think that is the difference between when I started writing short stories because my job depended on it to now (After I've retired).

So now we come to a point -- the newer methods of publishing do not use query letters to get to print. Not that it's a bad thing to write. Every short story I finish no matter where it is sent of not sent gets a query letter of a fairly standard format thanks to EE. Much of what I read online has never seen an agent and bought online and paid for online.

That may be why EE is seeing fewer queries.