Book Signings

Adult fiction ebooks outsold hardcovers in 2011

19 July 2012

More on the latest sales reports released by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group from Reuters:

Net sales of e-books jumped to 15 percent of the market in 2011 from 6 percent in 2010, according to a report by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group. The groups compiled data provided by nearly 2,000 publishers.

Total overall U.S. book market sales declined 2.5 percent to $27.2 billion in 2011 from $27.9 billion in 2010, the report said.

While ebooks increased in strength, bringing in more than $2 billion in 2011, the majority of publishers’ revenue still came from print books, with $11.1 billion in 2011.

. . . .

“Ebooks have demonstrated unprecedented acceptance among readers but the various print formats remain dynamic as well, showing that consumers want options,” Vlahos said.

. . . .

[B]rick-and-mortar retail was still the biggest sales channel for publishers, representing 31.5 percent of total net dollars. However that was down 12.6 percent from 2010.

As a comparison, online retailers represented 13 percent of total net dollars, but grew 35 percent from the year before.

Link to the rest at Reuters and thanks to Eric for the tip.

Rethinking the Familiar Book Tour

30 November 2011

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Vivien Jennings had long noted the people fidgeting in their chairs, staring at their watches, playing with their smartphones—the silent scream of “when will this be over?”—as novelists, memoirists and historians stood behind a lectern and read a chapter or three from their latest work.

“We were just losing our audiences,” said Ms. Jennings, the owner of Rainy Day Books, an independent bookstore in Kansas City, Kan. Finally, several years ago she made a decision: The shop would sponsor only author events that featured a conversation or a minilecture, a PowerPoint presentation or perhaps a slide show, all followed by a question-and-answer session and—at most—the recitation of a paragraph or two from the book to illustrate a point. “I tell publicists ‘it’s no longer a reading,'” Ms. Jennings said. “If they want their authors to come here, they’ll go along with it.”

For decades, the bookstore reading was a given. It gave fans a chance to hear the cadences and inflections of a beloved author, and to decide if they wanted to lay down their plastic right then and there or maybe wait for the paperback. “When I first started, it was readings, readings, readings. Nobody considered that you could do anything else,” said Evan Boorstyn, the deputy director of publicity at Grand Central Publishing.

. . . .

Americans’ ever-shrinking attention span and an ever-shrinking number of leisure hours are also issues. “We’re asking for people’s time and we’re competing with other experiences they could use the time for. We want them to leave the event saying ‘wow,'” said Ms. Jennings, who’d like to say something similar when she looks at the cash register receipts after one of these events. One recent example: a visit from Vanessa Diffenbaugh, who spoke about the foster-care system—a theme of her debut novel, “The Language of Flowers”—and who gave a PowerPoint presentation about the significance of particular nosegays in the Victorian era.

. . . .

For his part, Brad Meltzer, the best-selling author of thrillers like “The Book of Fate” and “The Book of Lies,” stopped doing readings two books ago. “Jim Dale,” he said, referring to the voice of the “Harry Potter” audio books, “and all the audio-book stars made most of us authors look like a bunch of misfits. We can’t compete.” Mr. Meltzer instead regales crowds with background stories about his books, with tales of the 24 rejection letters he received at the beginning of his career and film clips of him folding his arms in assorted tough guy poses from his History Channel series, “Decoded.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire after a few days) and thanks to Abel for the tip.

Having suffered through about two trillion lame Powerpoint presentations, Passive Guy has his doubts about their attractiveness for today’s audiences. (Is there anyone outside of the publishing world who thinks they’re innovative?)

Unless someone is paying him to sit through a presentation, about three seconds after he begins fidgeting in his chair, staring at his watch or playing with his smartphone, he exits the premises.

Indie Authors Find Success by Going Local

6 May 2011
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GalleyCat has an interesting story about self-pubbed authors who stay local to sell books.


By covering topics of local interest and cultivating a readership that’s close to home, they can handle their own marketing and distribution – and maybe even quit their 9-to-5s.

. . . .

Jessica Vander Salm is making tracks with her Brooklyn-themed children’s app, Maid Marian Muffins. The app “is a light-hearted tale of a muffin fan’s journey from mere muffin admirer to Brooklyn baking sensation,” said the author.

Vander Salm, who is an elementary school teacher by day, was unable to find the perfect fresh-baked muffin in her neighborhood – so she decided to bake her own. After perfecting her recipes, Vander Salm started selling muffins off the back of her bicycle. She enjoyed the process so much that she decided to write a children’s story based on her adventures.

Vander Salm and her brother Jamie Vander Salm collaborated with New Jersey artist Ana Banamya on a storybook app with beautiful illustrations and a self-record mechanism. Maid Marian Muffins was met with rave reviews from critics and kids alike. To help sell her books, the author passes out flyers advertising the app while she sells her muffins. If you hear a bell outside, that might be her.

Link to the rest at GalleyCat

This isn’t Joe Konrath scale, but it demonstrates there are lots of different ways to be an indie author.

Going the local route makes it possible to visit local bookstores, particularly indie bookstores, to pitch and stock your hardcopy book, do book signings and other marketing events that will draw more people because you’re local, etc. Passive Guy has had a couple of book signings alongside cookbook authors who provide samples made with their recipes and those always bring people into the store (and keep PG’s blood sugar in the red zone).

The story is also a reminder that a whole lot of self-pubbed books are used to help market the author’s services, products, etc. Some purists may object to this approach, but if it floats your boat, Passive Guy thinks its fine. There are way worse things you could be than a muffin-lady author.

My First Book Signing

4 April 2011

Do you remember your first time?


Yesterday was my first signing at a book store. But not the fancy kind. Not big hardwood table in the center of a massive Barnes & Noble, with a complimentary cappuccino and a line of fans waiting outside in the cold. Rather, it was a little Waldenbooks in a mall.

. . . .

  • 3 different people asked me where the restrooms were. Apparently I looked like a mall information specialist.
  • One older gentleman talked my ear off about the many manuscripts he’d written over the years, including one where teenagers dig tunnels under a cemetery to rob the caskets from beneath of jewelry and other valuables. He was a nice enough guy, but he pretty much blocked my table from other passers by.
  • A lady asked me where they had the store “with the massage type chairs”.
  • Another lady asked me if she could use her debit card at the ATM around the corner.

. . . .

But worse than any of those annoyances was the Nailpro nail salon across the aisle. The fumes emanating from it were so bad that I had a headache by 12:30, and even the mall patrons who walked by all made faces and looked around for the source of the stench. I shudder to imagine what those fumes are doing to the poor souls that actually have to work in that store day in and day out!

Link to the rest at Ferret Press


Want to be a Famous Author? Check Craigslist

31 March 2011

I haven’t read anywhere that one of the benefits of being an indie author who sells ebooks and POD is that there are no book signings.


Book signings happen in book stores and, indie boy and indie girl, you are anathema to book stores.

For non-indie authors, book signings happen.

Some authors like ‘em. Some authors hate ‘em. Alexander Greenwood described them as “lonely after school detention for grownups.”

But you don’t have to go to all the trouble of writing a book to sign books like a famous author does.


To some authors, the book-signing is a curse. What could be more excruciatingly dull, to the sensitive creative mind, than to sit for hours in a festival tent or bookshop, inscribing your name on several hundred copies of your new masterpiece? This isn’t a proper display of your writing talent – a baboon scratching the dirt with a stick could do it just as well.

To other authors, signing books for the public is a sacramental act, a talismanic ritual in which the bond between writer and reader, expressed in a few words of warm mutual stroking, is sealed by the seminal squiggle of ink.

Between these extremes of attitude lies the truth: book signings are a repetitive chore, mitigated by the pleasure, for authors, of meeting their buying public, and the joy, for readers, of meeting the mind that dreamt up an imaginative creation which lives in their heads. But such is the demand for signed copies that authors often have to sign several thousand books in private, to be sold later.

. . . .

Now, though, an American publisher is short-circuiting the process. His company has posted an advertisement on Craigslist, the internet listing site, asking for 14 volunteers who can fake the signatures of two big-name authors of a forthcoming book; each successful applicant will be paid $25 for every 200 books signed. “You will need,” reads the advert, “to be able to copy the look and style of both authors’ signatures.” It must be some book: the ersatz signings are scheduled to last 16 hours: with 14 people signing at a rate of four books per minute, that suggests more than 50,000 copies will be processed.

The identity of the publisher, and the co-authors, remains unknown. Their signature scam is a clear case of fraud, or “passing off,” but is being greeted in publishing circles as an enterprising answer to a problem. And it throws up some long-overdue questions. Such as: Why would you want an author to scribble her name in your book? Does it increase its value? How can best-selling authors sign books for seven hours at a stretch? Why do readers want to meet writers anyway?

Link to the rest at The Independent



If that’s your real name on the book cover, what’s your pen name?

30 March 2011
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10 Strange Things People Said to a Writer at a Book Signing.


This is a free sample, isn’t it? (Asked while the writer was inscribing the book.)

. . . .

Did Oprah like it?

Link to the rest at The Brimstone Murder’s Blog