Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The curious state of publishing

Some observations about the (generally troublesome) state of publishing ...

Is the shift from print to ebooks hurting publishers? Are brick-and-mortar bookstores dying? Conventional wisdom says yes to both. And (sometimes) conventional wisdom is wrong. See Hugh Howey's "Two Important Publishing Facts Everyone Gets Wrong."

(If you're unfamiliar Hugh Howey, he's one of the most successful self-published authors around. He got his start with self-published Kindle books -- although based on that success, he's conventionally published, too.)

Ever wonder about the balance of power between authors and Tinseltown? Ever wonder whether the wave of corporate mergers and buyouts can effect authors? See bestselling author Tess Gerritsen's "My GRAVITY lawsuit and how it affects every writer who sells to Hollywood" and, more recently "Gravity Lawsuit: Why I am giving up."

But Hollywood aside, authors make the big bucks, right? I'm not going to discuss my personal finances, but here's a sobering statistic: "Most authors earn less than minimum wage from their writing, survey finds." That survey was done in the UK, but I doubt the numbers are shockingly different in the US.

A key quote:
The research, commissioned by The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, found the top 5 per cent of writers earned close to half of all the income received by professional authors in 2013. The median income for professional writers is just £10,432, less than the minimum wage. Technical and academic writers are among the worst paid.
Is it any wonder that the rampant online piracy of literary works -- even of small-press books, off which you can safely bet neither author nor publisher is getting rich -- drives many authors to distraction?

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