Are you a writer? Read this.

Well, you can see what sorts of trouble I can get into when I don’t have a book to write.

We’ve had this conversation quite a number of times here, but this is an interesting take on it.

Here’s a picture for the hell of it.

This falls into the category of remember when it was a really fine thing to be a writer?

Remember when?

Apropos.  I got this from the same website linked to above.

This is absolutely the case


6 replies »

  1. Exactly why I’ve been advised to tuck this book away. Fears/suspicions of a dangerously limited audience for this one leading to low sales and then a dead-in-the-water career.

    Meanwhile, I’m doing freelance production editorial work for book three in a series where all the characters are stuffed animals. A series for adults. It’s every bit as good as it sounds. Published by one of the biggest of big houses. Marketed as literary fiction. The paycheck is barely worth all the silent screaming in my head.

    • Yes, I thought the cartoon was a perfect description of reality in the publishing business. Writers like you (and others among my regular readers) are at the beginning of the cartoon, while I (and too many of my writer friends) are at the end.

      We at the end are still screwed, but at least, since we were around in the good old days, we have some of our books on shelves — before the accountants beheaded us. You, at the start, are doubly screwed; you never got a chance with the first book.

      Talk about Catch-22 in action. You shouldn’t publish your first book because if it doesn’t sell well, you won’t get to publish your second book. Huh? Well, at least there would be one.

      The dismal fact of the matter is, most, by a wide percentage most, writers of literary fiction do not sell in quantities large enough to satisfy the BookScan publishing conglomerate culture. Probably 90% don’t. Maybe one sells just well enough to try a second, but if that doesn’t surge over the BookScan cutoff mark, there won’t be a third — ever. You are essentially blacklisted by mainstream publishing corporations.

      So why so many first novels? It doesn’t cost all that much to print a book, and even less to distribute some copies within an already well-established system, so it’s cheap to take a shot. You don’t have to publish a second book by these writers because there is an endless string of first novelists just waiting for their shot.

      So there is this never ending string of young 1st novelists lined up to be next. The conglomerates are not going to run short of product if they don’t nurture and maintain the producers they already have. Supply is much greater than demand.

      It costs them essentially peanuts to take a chance that one or two of those few thousand first novelists they put in print will satisfy the BookScan bottom line enough to justify trying one more. And who knows, they may get one J Franzan, who will make enough money to pay the bills for all those thousands of first novelists who “failed.”

      That, my dear, is how it works. So proceed in wisdom.