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Old 04-03-2012, 08:16 PM   #16
cfrizz
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Originally Posted by crossi View Post
How many authors of classic books in the last 200 years made a living off their writing? I was under the impression that it was never very many (if any). One advantage of ebooks is if an author writes a good book it isn't going to be pulled from the shelves after 2 months never to be sold again. It gives the book much more time for word of how good it is to get passed around. Sales might start slow but if it is a worthwhile book they will grow over time and they have the time.
Precisely! All this doom and gloom about writers not making any money because of ebooks. When the truth is the MAJORITY of writers, actors, musicians, artists, don't make a lot of money and have to have another means of support if they want to put food on the table!

These proffessions have always been this way and always will be this way.

My dad was a professional musician, but he stayed employed at Harvard University for over 30 years. Even when he started teaching music in schools, he kept his Harvard job.

If there are writers out there who are delusional enough to think they are going to be the next Stephen King etc., then they are in for a rude awakening!
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:37 PM   #17
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Hasn't it always been difficult to make a living writing fiction?
Yes. I'd guess less than 1% ever have.

And I also can't help but wonder if a "beselling author" might possibly have something of a vested interest in convincing potential competition to not bother.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:11 PM   #18
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I know a few people who make a living writING, but not necessarily slaving away over a book that they've written. They write in real time on an ongoing basis, reporting, columnists, but it takes a while to find ones niche market for that as well.

I fully believe in buying work that I want to keep. However, I am still a huge believer in the library, it allows me to court and take a book out to dinner before I want to take the next step (buying). With entertainment being a subjective endeavor, it means previewing, much like I can hear music on the radio before deciding to buy a cd. But I have the luxury every book I own is a "favorite". I only buy what to me is "the best". If I go to the library and borrow a book, and think, I wish I didn't have to give this back, it goes on my "to buy" list.

However, becoming a novelist who can make a living wage off their work, it takes actual work. Being willing to promote yourself, making sure people know who you are, and your target market likes your product.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:49 PM   #19
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http://www.kindleboards.com/index.ph...cseen.html#new

This is an interesting topic at Kindle Boards.

Quote:
My first book, The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America, was published in 1996 by Putnam/Berkley (now part of Penguin USA). Even though it earned back its advance, and then some, they let it go out of print in 2000. I thought: well, that's that.

But in August 2010, after getting the rights back, I re-published it as an eBook. Sales were slow at first, gradually picked up, then surged after I enrolled it in KDP Select.

Anyway, I just realized that I've now earned more in royalties from the eBook than I did from the original, traditionally-published print edition.

Putnam/Berkley had to sell 20,629 books to pay me what I've earned from only 4809 eBook sales. I'm sure there is more than one lesson about contemporary publishing in that statistic. But right now, I'm just sort of astonished that I've reached this point.
I guess the point it that Indie authors can get paid and do well without a major publisher behind them. It is all about the marketing and how you promote your book. Mike McIntyre sold close to a quarter less e-books then he did traditional books and made the same amount of money as he did with the publisher.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfCrash View Post
http://www.kindleboards.com/index.ph...cseen.html#new

This is an interesting topic at Kindle Boards.

Quote:
My first book, The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America, was published in 1996 by Putnam/Berkley (now part of Penguin USA). Even though it earned back its advance, and then some, they let it go out of print in 2000. I thought: well, that's that.

But in August 2010, after getting the rights back, I re-published it as an eBook. Sales were slow at first, gradually picked up, then surged after I enrolled it in KDP Select.

Anyway, I just realized that I've now earned more in royalties from the eBook than I did from the original, traditionally-published print edition.

Putnam/Berkley had to sell 20,629 books to pay me what I've earned from only 4809 eBook sales. I'm sure there is more than one lesson about contemporary publishing in that statistic. But right now, I'm just sort of astonished that I've reached this point.
I guess the point it that Indie authors can get paid and do well without a major publisher behind them. It is all about the marketing and how you promote your book. Mike McIntyre sold close to a quarter less e-books then he did traditional books and made the same amount of money as he did with the publisher.
This is an interesting point, but something to keep in mind is back in 1996, Putnam/Berkley would have spent funds to have the book edited, typeset, and to have a useful cover created (I would assume anyway). They put funds into it the "indi" author didn't have to when he re-released it (unless he put a new cover on it).

I'm not saying that negates the difference, but it does offset some of the difference. And that's not even talking about the difference between the 1996 dollar and today's.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:15 PM   #21
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If I ever write a book, (and while I like writing, I don't see myself realistically writing). I plan to promote my book thusly: I'll create an epub, sign up on a place like the pirate bay or something, upload my book to it, then scream my head off that my book has been pirated
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:15 PM   #22
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very good idea...spindlegirl.....that would be a great way to start the marketing ball rolling...
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:07 AM   #23
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I always thought that fiction writers REALLY make money on movie options. I'm not saying all fiction writers write with the eventual movie in mind, but if it happens, that's where the cash cow is. What writers are making a good living, and have never had any of their books optioned?

eP
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:13 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by carpetmojo View Post
".....In fact, he says writers have to give up on the idea that they can or should make a living directly from their writing and instead look at other ways to monetize their work..."

In other words ............ ummm............ get paid for their work ?
I've always wondered about that when the anti-copyright folks bring it up. If there were really ways to make money from writing, other than being paid for it, wouldn't most writers already be doing these things to "monetize their work"?
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:44 AM   #25
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I suspect Godin has things entirely backwards (based on the blurb--I haven't listened to the audio). If anything more people are making more money writing than ever, and having an easier time finding an audience. It's still a major challenge to establish oneself, but technology has only made it easier to produce, distribute, and collect payment for written work, and trade on the reputation one gains by doing so.

If writers and publishers focus on what they can control--producing good work and making it as easy as possible for readers to get it, pay for it, and read it--rather than wringing their hands over increased competition and sharing, the opportunities are immense.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:26 AM   #26
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I've always wondered about that when the anti-copyright folks bring it up. If there were really ways to make money from writing, other than being paid for it, wouldn't most writers already be doing these things to "monetize their work"?
The folks who bring it up are rarely "anti-copyright." The position that authors and publishers should be pursuing new business models has nothing to do with one's stance on copyright. Copyright only comes into it when media companies try to aggressively expand copyright as a shield against progress.

Also, the whole discussion revolves around new opportunities created by evolving information networks, so by definition they are not things writers or publishers would "already be doing." There have always been a number of ways that authors monetize their work other than accepting royalties and advances, though: teaching positions, speaking engagements, guest columns, and various forms of sponsorship, fellowship, or patronage, for a few examples.

Some authors, publishers, and booksellers are making innovations and profiting, but others are throwing tantrums or wringing their hands while money sits on the table.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:57 AM   #27
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Anyone got a link to how the total number of full-time fiction authors changed over time?
Just a couple of weeks ago I came across a Larry King USA Today column from twenty years ago in which he said that Kurt Vonnegut told him that there were only 300 full time authors in America supporting themselves writing.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:25 AM   #28
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Just a couple of weeks ago I came across a Larry King USA Today column from twenty years ago in which he said that Kurt Vonnegut told him that there were only 300 full time authors in America supporting themselves writing.
Hmmm.....
300 seems a tad low IMO, maybe 300 SF authors? Still seems a bit low but I am pretty sure that even 20 years ago their were 300 authors who made a living at writing in a lot of smaller countries than the US.

Helen
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:09 AM   #29
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New tech always encourages new players. In time, people will leave the market once they realize that there will never be enough paying readers to make the investment in time, effort and emotion pay off.

Then, people will make money again!
Nah, they will just be replaced by an ever growing army of new amateurs, like the people on Ebay who sell things for less than it will cost them in selling fees.

I think if anything you're more likely to be able to make money writing now than you ever have in the past, which is probably why you only ever see the old-timer writers complaining about it.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:18 AM   #30
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I'm going to answer by saying that except for a very select few, writers are not going to be paid for writing much longer.

They will be paid for selling.

There is a huge difference. The days of the mid-list and debut novel advances are numbered.

I admit I kind of wince whenever I see the "nobody will want to write anymore arguments." I just don't see it. There are already hundreds of thousands of authors out there writing with absolutely no promise of ever seeing a payment.

To me the biggest problem facing the industry today is NOT the willingness of writers to take a chance of coming up empty. The problem is the decreasing availability of reliable gatekeepers that find and promote the best of the slush piles to readers. In my mind, if Publishers and Agents and all the rest want to protect their piece of the book selling pie they need to stop fussing so much about Agency Pricing and Amazon and beef up their roles of selection, editing, and promotion. Quit just scooping up bucketfuls of recycled plot line crap, throwing it up on Amazon at $12.99 and waiting for the readers to tell you which one was a good book.
There are millions of people who never wanted a gatekeeper and who are resolute in their intent that there not be one. Many of us post on these forums.

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