STATUS: Nose to the grindstone. Only two more days after today to finish stuff.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? NIGHT PART ONE: SNOW by George Winston
Before I kick off more Q&A, here is a fascinating article on Amazon, $9.99 eBooks, losing money, profits, wholesale prices and where the author is going to fit in all this.
Definitely worth a read.
My question would be what are your instant turn-offs? Any genre or just something that you are so tired of you don't even want to look at anymore...
It’s certainly true that we often tire of seeing vampire queries or thieves as the main narrator in fantasy or what have you but you never know when somebody is going to have a different spin on it. In general, if the query is well done, we’ll ask for sample pages, even if we saw 200 queries this week about a vampire thief in a dystopian near future society.
My answer is that there isn’t anything that is an instant turn off.
Evangeline Holland asked:
What I would love to ask an editor? In the crunched market, would some measure of success in the e-publishing or self-publishing market tip the scales towards acquiring the author? What is expected of an author today that a newly published writer of one year ago, two years ago, or even five years ago, wouldn't have had to deal with or worry about?
For your first question, would some measure of success in e or self-publishing tip the scales? It would really depend on the type of e-publishing. If the author is with an established eHouse in a genre that has had a lot of success with eBooks only, then yes, I can see this being a weighted factor in the author’s favor. However, if the author just self-pubbed and got out a 100 copies to friends and family, probably not going to help.
There have certainly been several publishing stories this year of successful books that had their start in self-pubbed world such as STILL ALICE or THE LACE READER. However, the authors of those books did the whole self-pub thing smartly by hiring an external PR firm that had done a lot of book promotion to get the book in the right hands etc. They hired professional book cover artists and editors for book layout and design. They didn’t just throw it out there “to see what might happen.” The authors had a plan, a budget, and a way to reach people. When they started selling thousands of copies consistently, you bet editors took notice and both titles ended up selling to traditional publishers after the fact.
As for your second Q, an author today is definitely expected to be internet savvy, have a website, and have a sense of social media outlets and how promo is done electronically.
"In general, is the number of male readers declining? What trends do you see among male readers over the next three to five years?"
The answer is yes—although I don’t have any statistics on hand to confirm my yes. I just know I’ve seen articles this past year highlighting that male readership is declining. This is not necessarily true for SF&F readers. That male readership has stayed fairly steady.
As for trends, I see male readers staying tight with their tried and true authors and not exploring much outside of the biggest name sellers unless we give them a reason to. I see young male readers becoming more reluctant to read unless schools loosen up their definition of a book by letting them read graphic novels or other things that catch their interest. Reading—any kind—is good.
Kristin -- Kirkus is closing, can you offer any insight into what this means for authors? That Kirkus star review was such a sign of quality, and they often gave stars to books that other reviewers (such as Booklist or VOYA) overlooked. I'm so sad that books will have one less opportunity to shine and gain notice.
Kirkus was a bi-weekly founded in 1933 and has annually published hundreds of thousands of reviews since its inception. This was huge news when it hit the wires. I’m still stunned although not surprised. Lots of publications are discontinuing because of declining subscriptions.
I have to say that Kirkus rarely liked things. It was almost a badge of honor to get a bad Kirkus review asit was expected. But when they did like a book, wow, that Kirkus review would carry some major weight.
Now I’m not sure what will be “the review.” I do think blog reviewers will start becoming more prominent and certain sites will start becoming more and more well known to fill the gap. It’s just too bad Kirkus couldn’t make that transition to that medium (although I’m not sure if they even tried).