Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why Does The Company With Stores Sell More E-Books Than Trade Paperback Online?

According to Bowker Market Research, published in Publishers Weekly, online retailers accounted for 39% of all book sales in 2011, up from 30% in 2010.

The two biggest online book retailers are and  But what’s interesting is their sales break down very differently, perhaps in part to free shipping deals from Amazon.  Check this out:

The percentage of sales at breakdown as such:

35% of sales are trade hardcovers
29% of sales are e-books
27% of sales are trade paperbacks
4% of sales are mass market
1% of sales are audio books

The percentage of sales on breakdown as such:

38% are hardcover
38% are trade paperback
13% are e-books
4% are mass market
1% are audio books

It’s not a surprise that both companies are seeing a migration from print to e-books but it is interesting to see how each site sells its books differently.

Advice To A Struggling Writer
by Charlotte Babb, Former Newsletter Editor Of Southeastern Writers Association

You know why you are writing. If that's not a good enough reason, quit. If that sentence made you angry, then it's a good enough reason. Keep writing.

On a given day, everyone struggles--except maybe Stephen King, and judging from some of his later work, he struggles too, even if he would never admit it. Keep writing.

Check out local writers groups (check online meet-ups and the weekend activity paper). If the group writes every week, brings fresh work to the meeting, and critiques without slicing up the writers, stick around and learn something. Slicing up the work is necessary, but writers should not be personally attacked.  If they talk about writing but didn't write this week, politely excuse yourself. Keep writing. 

Write a lot. Write often. Write crap. Write your heart out. Then pick a piece and make it publishable. Keep writing.

Read some books on craft: Larry Brooks' Six Competencies is good, as is his website. Get the snowflake template from Randy Ingermanson, author of  Writing Fiction for Dummies, or Holly Lisle's How to Think SidewaysDo the exercises. Keep writing. 

Try some small writing conferences for learning craft. Start with one-day workshops and use them to network with instructors and local writers. Talk to the other writers to see what their goals are and whether yours are similar.  When you are comfortable with that, try a week-long conference and immerse yourself in the glow of being with writers and editors. Randy Ingermanson (the Snowflake Guy) has a free report on how to get the most from writers conferences.  The most important thing you'll learn is that writers put on their pantyhose one leg at the time. You are a writer. You can do it. Keep writing. 

Read what others are writing that are in your niche. If no one else is writing what you are writing, 1) there's no recognized market, or 2) you don't know what your niche is called.  Go to B&N or Books-a-Million or some random local bookstore and look at the shelves. Get online and type in your keywords, what people would type in to find your work.  See what pops up on or You may get new ideas or see a hole that nobody else has thought of...yet.  Keep writing. 

A lot of free or way cheap ($0.99) stories are out there on Amazon for Kindle--get the app for your phone or read on your computer. It's very clear why some of these pieces are free. But others make you lust for the books you'll pay for.  When you can tell the difference, go back and re-read your own work. Keep writing. 

If you don't want to work to find an agent to find you a publisher, check out createspace, booklocker, lulu or other print on demand service. But do some reading of the sample work they provide. A printer does not edit. They only print whatever you send, good, bad or ugly. Keep writing. Hire an editor, maybe one you met at a writer's conference. 

In the meantime, struggle. How else will you develop the sympathy you need for your characters and their struggles? Keep writing. 

For more information, check out:

Where Will Publishing Be In 2016
by Author Kenneth Weene

I don't know about 2016, but I think we will be seeing a real change over time. 

Currently, there is a never-ending flood of narcissistic publishing pouring out onto the Internet. Facilitated by Amazon, everyone who has fantasies of being an author is pounding away at keyboards. Most of the resulting books are minimally conceived, poorly written, and terribly edited. What was once the pricy self-indulgence of the vanity press has become the easily available delight of having ones very own copyright. 

As will always be the case, today's fad will give way to the next. It has nothing to do with quality; quite simply when everybody has a book out there, people will begin wanting something different to make them feel special. What that fad might be I have no idea, but it certainly will stop being the self-published book. 

I am sure that some of those self-published books will endure. Some of them are actually quite good. But in the long run, I think we'll be back to a relatively small number of authors whose work stands up to the real test, being enjoyed and recommended by people who don't know the author. 

My books are not written for friends and family. I want readers who are truly interested in the book experience, people who want to immerse themselves in a world of my creation and enjoy getting to know the characters of my invention. There are currently three of my books available and more on the way. With each royalty check I delight in the knowledge that more people have found their way to my pages. The easiest way to find my books--visit my author's page at Amazon.

Advice To a Struggling Writer By Author Skip Press

Although I knew from the age of six that I would be a professional writer, it wasn't easy reaching my goal. Here's the short version. 

When I was in the 4th grade, I saw a student get an A+ on a paper, which amazed me. I'd only ever gotten A's. I asked the teacher how that was possible, and she said you have to do just a little more than the assignment to get an A+. So from then on, I tried to do that, and I was doing well until I ran smack into the evil Mrs. Reagan in the 5th grade, so mean she used to tell kids who had a loose tooth to come up front, and she would remove it for them. She really did that, sometimes with a handkerchief and a pair of pliers! (I'm not making this up.)

One day Mrs. Reagan told us to write a poem and bring it to class. I thought, well, I want that A+, so I hand-wrote a 12-page poem about the fatal charge of the Confederate General Pickett at the Battle of Gettysburg. She wouldn't let me turn it in - she said it would embarrass the other children. So I had to write another poem, a much shorter one. I wrote a one-pager about a thoroughbred horse, and added my own hand-drawn illustration. She wasn't happy about that, either, but I got an A. (Mrs. Reagan didn't believe in A+.) 

My mother kept the 12-page poem in her purse, wouldn't let me have it. Then somehow, she lost it. There weren't any photocopiers in those days, so it was gone. I thought about the loss the day when, as a teenager, my mother informed me she had thrown away all my comic books because I'd already read them. They included a first issue Spider Man, in perfect condition. I thought of the 12-pager again when I wrote my first novel and sent it to my mother. Her only comment was that she didn't believe a child of hers could write something like that. Decades later, when I had my client Patti Page sign the memoir I wrote for her and send it to my mother as a gift, I managed to finally get a compliment. Mother liked "the other stuff that you wrote." (She thought Patti wrote the rest, but Patti didn't write any of it.) On the "other" my mother was referring to some explanatory material that I didn't even write - that "stuff" came from an editor Patti's manager hired, and it wasn't very good. 

By the time you read this, my 46th book will have been published. Most of them list me as the author. Some were ghost-written, and a couple list me as editor only, even though I wrote all or most of the book in question. I don't tell my mother about my books any more. 

When I started out in Hollywood, I found it easy to break in. The first agent I had was a trainee for one of the biggest agents in town. He later became President of the Writers Guild of America, west. Another friend and I started a writers club. He went on to win the Best Picture Oscar for "Crash." These friends were single-minded in their pursuits of writing. The first was just learning the business of Hollywood in agent training - his father was a famous director and he wanted to write and produce and direct movies. The Oscar winner got into TV, won an Emmy, produced several shows of his own, then started making movies and hasn't stopped. 

In contrast, I pursued acting, recorded songs and played in clubs, started and edited magazines in Los Angeles, wrote plays that I staged and directed, did some writing for radio, and after my kids came along and I was a "Mr. Mom", I began teaching in addition to writing books and novels. I was a bit too scattered in my interests, but eventually I got back to my original intention of writing books. That's mostly all I do these days. 

There were always barriers to what I wanted to achieve, but I had enough success in enough areas of writing, when asked to teach a class at UCLA Extension Writers Program, I called it "How To Write What You Want & Sell What You Write" and taught people how to succeed in any of the most profitable areas of commercial writing. That class became my first non-fiction book, and 20 years later, it's selling better than ever. All my books except for one (I guess people didn't think a very informative book about craigslist was needed) have made money and many have had multiple printings. I'm a working writer still enthusiastic about what I have planned to write in the future. And I plan to keep writing until I drop - there's a lot to do!

Here's what all this has to do with you. I never gave up, no matter what. Although I had early acceptance in Hollywood, when trying to sell articles, stories, and books in the early part of my career, I received so many rejection slips (it was all print back then) I was able to paper one wall of my apartment with the letters and memos. Later, when I put on a comedic play I wrote about a struggling writer, I used those rejection slips as part of my set. The L.A. Times reviewer thought the play had great "authenticity." 

Use your barriers and setbacks, Mr. or Ms. Writer. Never let anyone, not even a relative, dissuade you from what you want to achieve. If you possibly can, associate with people who are similarly or more talented. Learn from the best, and never back away from approaching even a legend. I got an interview with Tennessee Williams once simply because I knocked on his door and showed him a magazine that wanted me to interview him. Later, a friend who starred in one of my plays got the lead role in the West Coast premiere of a Williams play, and I met my actor friend Michael York by striking up a conversation about Williams in a photocopy shop in L.A. Boldness and your own innate belief in your worth is highly necessary to achievement. 

And don't forget to have an A+ attitude - do a little more than you're asked to do, or that is expected of you. This will make you stand out. 

The story structure I teach, which encompasses many things, including quantum physics, is covered in a lecture I gave at Pepperdine University three years ago. You can watch it online at or locate it via the "Events" page on my site. And know this - I've been helping aspiring writers for decades and won't mind hearing from you. When I started out as a professional, there were any number of successful writers happy to give me advice. If I help you, I'm sure you'll do the same for someone else. 

For more information, consult:

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer.  You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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