Where do you buy your books?
I’ve heard in author discussion recently that the publishing press and the traditional publishers they front for want us to still buy that 70% of all books sold are still sold in bricks and mortar stores.
If they’re talking about only print books, and maybe hard cover books or best-selling authors (and I mean the ones who sell millions of copies of each release), then, yeah, I’ll buy that. And if you’re one of those authors who can score a decent hard cover print run or for whom it doesn’t matter where you sign your next contract you’ll sell because you’re already branded, then New York must seem quite flattering and attractive for you.
If you’re mid-list author or a newbie, or even some of the best-selling authors I know (who’ve for years been hitting lists left and right and USED to score tasty hard cover print runs but not so much anymore), you aren’t buying the above statistic any more than I am. Because you live in the real world where digital is the new mid-list, mass market platform and traditional publishers have no clue how to make digital publishing work except for the branded, and for the branded the money’s still in physical stores.
In the real world, at least in commercial fiction,we want to see our books in stores, but we know that 70% of our sales won’t happen there. At least we hope not, because print distribution more than sucks, it’s becoming non-existent.
I write for Amazon. Montlake. They’ve made me more money in a year (my first novel with them launched the end of Oct., ‘12) than my primary traditional publisher has in my entire career (and that would be over 8 years of being “successful” on their lists). Montlake finds readers who love my work (reviews prove that), buy almost exclusively digital (95% of my sales) and come back for more (proof that my new team understands their marketing business and doesn’t care that we’ve been blacklisted from most physical stores). They’ve sold more of each title so far (including the one that’s currently been out for just a couple of months) than my traditional publisher could through their “successful” print distribution when I walked away.
Do I wish that my Mimosa Lane books were in print bookstores?
I do. Print readers would love them, too, and I trust my publisher to make that connection for me when they can.
Do I regret that I’m making TEN TIMES the royalty rate on my digital sales at Amazon Montalke than I have at any of my traditional publishing houses?
I do not.
Do I believe the publishing press that doesn’t want digital publishing to be the end of the print publishing model as we know it (notice I don’t say the end of print publishing, just that the way it’s always been done is going to have to change) includes my and my peer’s digital sales in their calculation of “book sales” to come up with their 70% statistic?
Don’t make me laugh.