I won’t dwell too much into details, but in general we are seeing the death of pretty much most industries across the board. For far too long the only growth ( not overseas ) has been through buying out your competitors and gaining his customer base. You consolidate, then the constant commodities price inflation catches up with your customer income decline and you find yourself unable to be paying the interest on all those loans you needed to “grow”. That is what is killing the publishing industry, not necessarily Amazon. That company easily created a fall-back strategy for increasing warehouse and fuel costs with its Kindle ( of course, along with their skill and brilliant customer service they had some luck added to the equation of their success. My point was that any other company could have tried to do the same if their CEO’s brains weren’t smaller than their dinguses ). But let’s jump into the meat and potatoes here: how individual authors and publishing mix. The short answer is, either going through New York OR going self-publishing, the odds are the same either way for success but NOT for failure.
Authors are basically paid a pittance. One or two Tom Clancy or Stephen Kings make millions and 90+% make zero with a few percent making under the poverty level. I average $150 a month ( Christmas time being generous, most other months are a third of that ) for my writing and I praise the Gods I do so well. Of course, only a fifth of that or lower is for my actual books, my blog advertising and Amazon commissions doing the heavy lifting. My blog is basically “throw away” writing, and that makes my profits. My pretensions of a Great American Writer are shattered by the financial reality. I give you that example so you can figure how little you will be paid. Now, if you self publish, odds are great you won’t be as successful as with New York. BUT! New York caters to the masses. You can churn out crap and conventional publish and maybe you can be the next Patterson. It is possible. On the other hand, if you self publish, while the potential return IF SUCCESSFUL is much lower, you gain the benefit of immediate publishing, immediate feedback and more experience as you most likely will write more. School is a terrible way to learn to write. Only practice teaches you this craft. Well, teaches you WELL. So the barriers to entry now are zero.
It costs you almost nothing to start writing ( most of us already have computers ). You need no money to practice to get better. You need no money to publish. As a result, there are a lot of amateur publishers out there who style themselves writers. I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing. I was most definitely NOT a writer when I started publishing. I was lucky enough readers believed in me to think I might actually splash a coherent thought unto the screen one day and stayed loyally at my side ( my reader abuse is one of my main shticks to liven up an otherwise dreary niche market. Too many survivalists really take themselves way too seriously as if only they can save western civilization. Too humping late, morons. I have NEVER forgotten how important my minions are. I love you guys. Okay, let me go change my tampon ). I am one of the successful lower tiers as I actual get a constant monthly income rather than the industry average of zero. Yes, that is what constitutes a success in writing- making 5% of a middle class income.
As I said, author success in usually at the top for a few or nothing for most. New modes of publishing have not changed the odds of author jackpots. The difference now is, we ALL stand a chance of winning whereas before only a select few manuscripts were accepted in New York. And out of those very few, almost none made money. Top authors now make a little less if self published but there is nothing stopping us from trying. In the 80’s, you needed several months wages to self-publish a book, with little chance of success because of marketing costs being additional. In the 90’s and with easy computers and laser printers, only marketing costs were prohibiting. And now, it costs zero to publish and Amazon markets the book for you for as little as 30% of the retail cost of only those books sold. If you do away with thinking you can make millions by winning the long odds of the publishing lottery ( which is the ONLY thing the New York publishers are, a national author lottery gambling casino with only one or two mega-winners and everyone else losing hundreds of hours of their lives with zero return ), you realize how much better it is for authors nowadays.
I certainly am not saying you can write from the boonies and be assured of an income no matter how low. I am saying your costs of trying are now zero.
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Here you go Jim...ReplyDelete
The Simpsons predict Nuclear Holocaust for June 22.
It's good for an artricle.
You Know Who
Place inverted milk crate over one end of a shallow trench.ReplyDelete
sprinkle grain in the trench and under milk crate.
Birds trap themselves.