The Wall Street Journal must have read my last post, since the front page today featured this article: Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books. I’ll highlight some of the salient points, but I highly recommend going directly to the source and reading the whole article.
It could be construed as – uh – a little depressing, especially for as-yet unpublished writers hoping for a Big Bucks contract with Random House or Doubleday so they can write full-time.
In a nutshell: Don’t quit your day job.
The chances of getting this dream book contract are pretty slim, but you already know that. The big publishers focus on the books and authors they think will be blockbusters (can you say Nicholas Sparks?) and the rest of us/them – eh. Not so much. Or not at all. It’s all about the money, right now, not about supporting emerging writers.
I was surprised to see how big a cut the publishers take for a hardcover book. I guess this is why books don’t go directly into paperback (which I prefer to hardcover, since I like to carry one with me, go to the beach, spill coffee on it, and it’s just easier with a paperback).
But look how big a cut the publisher gets on an e-book right now! Just plain greedy, in my (e or not) book. Seems to me like a 50/50 split would be fairer to the author, and that’s assuming a publisher doing some marketing and publicity for the book.
The entire publishing industry is evolving, and this is probably good for those of us who might have a worthwhile-but-no-blockbuster book in the works. The comments on the WSJ article are thought-provoking as well.
A lot more independent, small press and self-publishing (paper and electronic) ventures are in the works, I think, and it might be pretty darn exciting to be part of that.