Impact of Self-Publishers on Big Publishers

Have you read my free PDF, “Global Publishing, Inc. — What Does It Mean for You?” If so, you’re aware of the radical changes that have taken place in the publishing industry during the first fifteen years of the 21st century. But there are other influences on the publishing industry too. One of them is the amazing explosion of self-published print and digital books. POD influence on publishers When the POD industry arose, it made it possible to avoid the high costs of storing unsold print books. Authors aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this new benefit. New small publishers are using POD printing services as well. So are traditional publishers and academic book publishers. POD could be one of the factors keeping the digital book revolution from rendering print books obsolete. A couple of years ago ebooks seemed destined to take over the book market. However, in late 2014 an article appeared on Huffington Post with this shocking title, “Print books Outsold Ebooks in First Half of 2014“. That post was based on an article from Publisher’s Weekly. PW reported that a Nielsen Books & Consumer survey indicated both hardcover and paperback books outsold ebooks during the first half of this year. Ebooks comprised only 23% of the book market. Hardcover books beat that by 2 percentage points, and paperbacks sold at nearly twice the rate of ebooks, i.e., 42%. Huffington Post’s article quotes industry experts and authors such as Stephen King on expectations that “print books have a long and bright future ahead of them.” It concludes, “If the new trends continue, such warnings of the death of print books, and their potential benefits, may prove to have been greatly exaggerated.” The new royalty statements In My Story on Authormaps I wrote about my frustration with the way my second book’s publisher (now defunct) paid royalties: Envelopes from my publisher dribbled in every once in awhile. I never knew when they would arrive. I never found out how much my publisher deducted for expenses for my book either. After a year I’d barely earned more than [the $300] I made on my first book! Elsewhere I’ve written: Royalties to authors may not be paid until a year after the book is published and the publisher deducts all costs. Royalties are not always itemized or ever reported in total on royalty “statements.” This is becoming a thing of the past. Not only are authors getting paid royalties sooner, they are...

The Invisible Publishers – Small Presses

Small presses are not new, at least not small presses devoted to print books. Nor are they “vanity” presses. The small press and little magazine publisher has always been around for the “literati” – those artists, intellectuals, and just plain “punks” who had something significant to say that mainstream culture had little or no interest in. “Geologic layers” of small press publishing Like an autochthonous canyon created by a river that leaves layers of rock exposed as it etches its way down through earth over the years, small presses and little magazines have left behind traces of the social issues from each decade over the past centuries. For example, my book, American Women’s Magazines: An Annotated Guide, available worldwide in libraries, traces the suffragist and abolitionist movement from small press publications dating back to the early 1800s. America’s first little magazine written and edited completely by women was the Operative’s Magazine (1841). In 1842, the Operatives Magazine merged with the Lowell Offering in 1942. Lowell, Massachusetts is the famous site during the Industrial Revolution where young women from farms in New England came to work (12 hours a day!) in the mills. The era marked the beginning of of a call for education for farm girls who worked in the mills. These girls had their own library in Lowell. As a result, the Lowell Offering published 57 women writers. They included Lucy Larcom, a poet who later became well-known and had her work published in poetry anthologies of the day. In 1845, the year the Lowell Offering ceased publishing, The Ohio Cultivator was founded. The “ladies pages” in in this farm magazine heavily promoted education for women along with the vote for women. In particular, the Cultivator espoused co-education for girls. It thought the girls would learn more useful skills, including medical skills, so they could become doctors. The Cultivator feared that women who lacked a skill would find themselves pushed into prostitution when widowed. Literary small press publications often reflect social issues within the field of literature itself. For example Harriet Munro’s Poetry Magazine, began in the early 20th century and is still published today. Almost any 20th century poet studied in colleges today had work published in Munro’s prestigious little magazine. in the 1960s and early 1970s, Margins, a newsprint magazine became the  hallmark for anyone interested in contemporary literature. Margins included the works of the “beat writers”...

What Happened to Karen’s $100,000 Advance?

I know a successful author who got a $100,000 advance from a New York publisher, but ended up in the hole! She had self-published a previous book, but she was making no money on it because of storage costs. Now she has brand-new options that didn’t exist five years ago. Here is her experience and how I helped her learn about better options for her book. Karen’s story Karen knew she’d need an agent to get a New York publisher. The best agent, says Karen, is one who has the best “connections.” To get that agent, she hired people to help write, edit, proofread, and review her sample book chapters. Karen did get the best agent. And she paid for it too. To get a publisher, she now had to submit a book proposal. Her agent referred her to a book proposal adviser. In the midst of proposal-writing, Karen’s adviser got a divorce. Her adviser recommended a replacement he knew, but this adviser went in an entirely new direction! That cost Karen more money and more time. She now had to reconcile conflicting advice from her two proposal coaches. As part of her book proposal, Karen needed to show how her book would sell. So Karen paid for marketing advice. All the ways she planned to market her book went into her proposal. Her proposal and sample chapters done, Karen waited for her agent to call. Her accountant added up the money she’d already spent just to “shop” her proposal and sample chapters to a New York publisher. Karen tried not to think about that total. Instead, she dreamed of getting a big advance, one that would cover all those expenses plus those her agent would charge upon getting her a New York publisher. Good news! The agent got a fish on the line. In fact there was more than one fish. With multiple publishers interested, her agent negotiated a big advance for her. Karen was happy. She thought, “My advance will cover way more than what I’ve already spent on my book.” But it didn’t. She quickly discovered her contract required her to hire an expensive New York publicist that her publisher wanted. Karen was to pay a year’s salary for this publicist to “assist” her with her marketing, even though she never met the publicist and only talked on the phone with her a couple times. Karen...

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