Just checked with the store and they’ve now put in the order for the necessary copies of THE BOOK OF ORM. So we are good to go for the book signing event at Waterstones Leicester on Saturday 30 May, from 11am. Hurrah!
Mad Max is an extremely muscular film, with high-octane stunts. There is zero use of CGI, giving the whole thing a very real and gritty feel. There is a genuine sense of peril for the characters, characters that each have their own story so that we care for them.
It’s all set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where those who control water and petrol rule the world (not too dissimilar to today, actually). Of course, the rulers are bad men who use everybody (particularly women) badly. Religion is used to control the desperate masses, of course, and all is a bleak.
Charlize Theron is one of the top drivers for the evil warlord, but she makes a break for the ‘The Green Place’ – the dimly-remembered idyll of her youth. She takes the wives of the evil warlord with her – perhaps to free them, perhaps to use them as hostages. Three road-armies promptly give chase. Mad Max (being used as a blood reservoir by the baddies) escapes and joins forces with her. All hell breaks lose.
It’s full of edge-of-your-seat action, but there are serious messages too. And no dumb humour to spoil things. A definite 9 out of 10 from me.
The jury is no longer out. I’m successful as a self-published author (Necromancer’s Gambit, etc), a mainstream Gollancz author (Empire of the Saviours, etc) and an indie author (The Book of Orm, etc). I’ve been working with e-publishing and all other types of publishing for 8 years. I’m very IT savvy. HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE: sales of my e-books have rarely exceeded 10% of my total sales. Let me say that again: 10% In the scheme of things, it really isn’t worth the pretty large effort that I’ve put into it.
Because, to sell e-books, you have to format the thing, get it onto websites, market it, drive traffic, engage in forum discussion, get reviews, constantly monitor information flows, etc. Yes, it all sounds very similar to what you have to do with a regular hard copy book in the physical world… but the point is the hard copy book generates ten times the volume of return!
You might frown and think I’m doing something wrong. I ain’t. I know all about BookBub, NetGalley, Listmania, SEO and e-marketing (I have a qualification in it and have worked in it as a day job in the past). Another stat for you: the self-publishing market has only taken 14% of the traditional market from the mainstream publishers (and many industry watchers think that number is inflated). That stat is very similar to my own 10% experience too.
And sales of e-books are actually falling worldwide. Really not worth the effort then. When I put out a book in hard copy as well as e-copy, then I find that a book signing for the hard copy will often drive online sales and vice versa. The marketing in the physical world can help e-sales, and e-marketing can help physical sales. BUT, when I put out a book in e-copy only, you can count the volume of sales on one hand. On its own, then, e-publishing is a bit of a waste of time.
You will be frowning mightily by now. What about all those e-book millionaires you’ve heard about? Well, I’ve looked up most of those stories, and some were driven by Amazon itself, marketing the whole e-publishing industry back in the prospector-days. Some stories seem more legit, but there are precious few of them (just as precious few full-time authors make more than £11K/year right now). It seems, then, there is no gold in them there hills. Or if there ever was, the seams have now been mined out. Only fool’s gold remains.
So, in this era of austerity, with welfare cuts, council spending on libraries is only going to decrease. We will see even more libraries being closed. So what? Well, libraries are ordering fewer books than ever before. Precious few publishers produce hard backs anymore, since libraries just aren’t ordering them in sufficient quantities to justify the cost of the print run (so my first book, Empire of the Saviours, came out in hard back, but the Gateway of the Saviours hard back was ‘cancelled’). And when libraries order fewer and fewer books, indie publishers start going to the wall far more quickly. The entire publishing industry’s ecosystem is being damaged, it’s diversity is being reduced. If you are a reader of books, then it’s in your own interest to visit your local library now and then – it might save you money and it might just save our entire civilization.
To quote Andrew Franklin of Profile Books: “The next five years are going to be very difficult for all of us. Libraries are going to close, it’s going to be hard for bookshops, it’s going to be hard for publishing, but I’m very glad there is a little corner of independent publishing that is still recognised and this is a small consolation in bad and difficult times.”
So, last year, the only type of literature that saw sales growth was children’s fiction (whether in hard copy or e-book). Minecraft titles really helped the numbers apparently, signalling a convergence in types of media (gaming and books) and growth through ‘associated sales’. Authors are increasingly known as ‘content creators for multiple platforms’. Works for me – as long as they start paying us better. Don’t hold your breath. Here’s the full article on the Bookseller site: http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/dept-rumination
“On the face of it, it is paradoxical that while it’s never been easier for authors to get their books into print, there has never been a worse time to be an author. Author earnings are down and the number of writers able to make a living out of their work is at an all-time low. But perhaps that is because there have never been so many people making money off writers.”
Really nice review of The Book of Orm here: