The Business of Writing

Amazon Author Insights

24 March 2017

PG says you need to check out Amazon Author Insights if you haven’t done so already.

From Elizabeth Spann Craig via  Amazon Author Insights:

I used to feel like the sole, income-focused writer in any group I was in. I was the one on any panel hesitantly bringing up ways that writers could make money with their writing.

I’ve noticed now that there are more writers like me out there and I’m more relaxed about being a commercial fiction writer.

I’ve been asked by parents, college students, and high school students about what degree is needed for becoming a writer.

But that’s one of the wonderful things about being a writer. You don’t have to have a degree in anything.  I was an English major, but that’s as far as I went with it.  When asked for my advice, I ask what type of writing they’re wanting to do and what their end-goal/their child’s end-goal is.  If the goal is “a career in writing,” then I’ll go as far as to suggest that they don’t go the MFA (Master in Fine Arts) route. They should instead read as much and as widely as they can and start writing.

. . . .

Writers at the start of their careers should ask themselves: am I writing to please myself or am I writing to appeal to a broader market? My kids are older and if I didn’t make a living at this, I’d be getting a day-job.  Writing is my full-time job.  I’m not making a ton, but I’m making more than if I taught school and more than I’d make at any other job; I’ve been out of the traditional workforce since my first child was born in 1997.

. . . .

It’s better, in the current environment, to self-pub instead of trad-pub (most of the time).  I experienced first-hand cutbacks that publishers are employing to save costs.  When I started out, 3-book deals were the norm at Penguin.  That unfortunately changed.  The merger between Penguin and Random House meant a layoff for my editor. Now there are many stories about how difficult it is getting to break into the industry and the market. It’s obviously still possible to do so…but at what cost?  I made and make a good deal more from my self-published books than my traditionally published books.

. . . .

Write series.  Series are currently more popular with readers.  I’m wondering if it’s because readers, once they’ve spent the time investing in the story world and characters, want to read more in that same story world.  Lucky for us–because series are easier and quicker to write for the same reasons: the story world is established, as well as the story’s recurring characters (descriptions, traits).  Most of the work is already done.

Link to the rest at Amazon Author Insights

Data Diving

24 March 2017

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Once a month (more or less), we host a gathering of professional writers on a Friday night. The gathering is open to writers from our writers network, and other professionals we know. Most are from the Pacific Northwest, although folks who are traveling through often stop as well.

We have only one criteria: The writers have to be working hard at the business of writing. You’d be surprised at how many professional writers are ineligible just from that criteria. You’d also be surprised at how many writers who absent themselves from the gathering after attending once. We’re too intimidating, I think.

I mean that sincerely. I don’t think it’s because of the accolades in the room (multiple award-winners, New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, multi-published fiction and nonfiction writers). I think it’s because we’re all working hard at our indie publishing businesses, and we don’t dumb down the meeting.

One extremely prolific traditionally published writer showed up last year, and started asking basic questions (how do you format books?) and everyone shut him down before the meeting even started.

If you don’t know something basic, you can ask someone on a break, and more often than not, you’ll get weird look and a series of links. This is a serious meeting of hardworking, serious professionals who are bootstrapping each other into the ever-evolving new world of publishing.

. . . .

In the middle hour of our three-hour talk, the conversation went something like this:

my click-through rate is…

…I received 96,000 impressions…

…at least thirty-percent downloaded my…

Numbers, data, and more numbers. Writer after writer recited facts about their newsletters, their ad campaigns, their book sales, and all of those facts had data to back them up. These writers were often looking at phone screen or their laptop to give accurate information (as if the rest of us would shoot them if they reported wrong), and we were comparing performance, subscribers, money earned, and books sold.

I don’t think anyone mentioned craft except to acknowledge that a certain level of craft is necessary to get readers to return to the fold.

I sat back and absorbed this conversation, letting the words run over me a little, because I was surprised by it. Not by the conversation itself—we’ve had a variation of that conversation off and on for a year now—but by the complete acceptance of it. I was surprised by the way that no one, not even the newcomers to the meeting, seemed to think the conversation was out of the ordinary. We were comparing results of various marketing techniques, trying to figure out our way through the morass of data that’s being flung at us, and—most importantly—sharing what we had learned, what worked for us, and what didn’t.

. . . .

[In years past] At conventions, we writers discussed a variation of the same topics—agents, editors, marketing to the increasingly smaller and smaller subset of publishers, and the best way to handle the problems that came up in our various careers.

Not once did we mention data. We did discuss how to goose book sales, but based on the royalty reports. We tried to figure out how to get rid of our reserves against returns. We often argued about the value of book signings and book tours, but we never had data.

Because our publishers didn’t have data either.

Data is becoming the new religion at traditional publishers, but they’re the proverbial first-year English majors trying to understand an advanced-level Physics course. They don’t have the math skills, mostly, to understand, for example, why Author Earnings really is a good way to look at the entire industry.

(The responses to Data Guy’s presentation at Digital Book World, both live tweeted [live social media-ed?] from the conference and in private, were disbelieving. I’ve heard industry professionals say that the only accurate reports came from Nielsen later in the day. (I searched for someone courageous enough to write that in their blog about the event, and couldn’t find it. I don’t want to out folks who wrote me emails, so I’m afraid I can’t link here.)]

. . . .

But the one thing we didn’t discuss, something I hadn’t even thought of until Saturday morning, was how to manage all the data we were receiving. We joked about it a bit, about a writer we had been watching—a high-end marketer who reported that his well-known marketing practices were finally failing him, until he realized (hello!) that he needed to produce more product. Everyone he had reached had bought his five or six books. He needed to write another one.

That got a great laugh from the group, because the one thing we do, we all do is write the next book. We’re constantly trying to figure out how to write as much as we can, with this fire hose of information streaming our way.

And it’s not just the new programs, the new way to market, the new opportunities opening up each and every moment of each and every day. It’s also the changes in the data we receive.

. . . .

However, we are rapidly getting to the place, as writers, where we need to figure out how much of this data is relevant or useful. Just because I can find out that more people in Hong Kong open my newsletter at 10 in the morning on weekdays than on weekends doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to know that information. I might, if I’m looking for the best time to send a newsletter. But the service I use for my newsletter will aggregate that data for me, and tell me the optimum time to send a newsletter to that subset on my mailing list.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.

PG says anybody who doesn’t understand why Data Guy’s information is extremely useful shouldn’t be trying to run a business in 2017. With every passing month, the business practices and business savvy of traditional publishing are falling farther and farther behind both indie authors and the rest of the world.

When PG is negotiating agreements with traditional publishers, it’s an entirely different experience than negotiating IP rights agreements with tech companies or investment bankers. The publishers are so far behind and so unaware of things that are taken for granted in today’s business world, it’s almost laugh-inducing.

Just as one example, royalty statements every six months give rise to visions of row after row of ink-stained bookkeepers laboriously adding up long columns of numbers by hand.

Of course, Amazon pays every month and so does the rest of American business. The same people who don’t understand Author Earnings are the ones saying it’s impossible to calculate and pay royalties more than twice per year.

And this is a business which is heavily dependent on Barnes & Noble and similar organizations that are stumbling towards bankruptcy court.

In a near-future United States where 80-90% of all books are sold through Amazon, what, exactly will publishers have to offer authors?

 

Sci-fi author John Scalzi on the future of publishing: ‘I aspire to be a cockroach’

22 March 2017

From The Verge:

Two years ago, author John Scalzi signed a $3.4 million deal with leading science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor Books to publish 13 novels over the course of the decade. The novel that kicks off this new contract, The Collapsing Empire, is just now hitting bookstores. For Scalzi, there’s a lot riding on this book: it’s the start of a 10-year collaboration between him and his publisher, at a time when the publishing and bookselling industries have been undergoing significant changes.

Set in a brand-new universe, the novel is about an interstellar human empire that faces a major upheaval when its faster-than-light transportation routes begin to vanish. Scalzi has been a rising star in the science fiction world over the past decade, bolstered by a popular body of work and a legion of devoted fans he built through his blog, Whatever. His latest book is a thoughtful, exciting read, and it’s a good indication that his career will continue to rise.

. . . .

Scalzi’s career to date has been a mixture of experimentation and practical market assessment. He wasn’t able to sell his first novel, a science fiction / humor book called Agent to the Stars, so in 1999, he published it on his website, asking readers to donate a dollar if they liked it. He earned around $4,000 before he closed donations. (Tor published it in 2005.) In 2002, he began serializing his next novel online: Old Man’s War, which attracted the attention of his current editor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and helped launch his career.

. . . .

Ten years is a long time for the publishing world. Since Tor first published Old Man’s War, the industry has seen huge shifts. Ebooks and audiobooks have exploded in popularity. As Amazon has expanded, brick-and-mortar bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble have suffered. But Scalzi remains upbeat. “I think the people in publishing do feel optimistic that not only are they going to be around for the next 10 years, but that they are actually going to still do what they have always done, which is to bring exciting stories and people into the market, to keep people engaged in the genre, and to be a presence.”

. . . .

How does this 10-year deal weigh on your shoulders looking forward? By the time you’re out of it, it’s going to be 2027, the future.

It doesn’t weigh on my shoulders at all. The whole point is that novelists do not have job security, right? You go from book to book, or you’ll sometimes get a two-book contract, or maybe even, “Oh, I’m going to write a trilogy.” But at the end of it, you have to go out into the market and prove yourself again.

In this particular case, literally for a decade, I don’t have to worry about whether I’m going to sell my next book. I don’t have to worry about whether the publisher is going to make a good-faith effort to actually sell the book, that it’s not going to get shoved down a hole somewhere. Rather than a burden of, “Oh my God, now I have 10 books to write” — or 13 books, because it’s 10 adult and three YA — it’s, “Oh boy, now I can write my books, and I don’t have to worry what happens to them from there.” Until 2027, I don’t have to worry about whether I’m going to be able to pay for my daughter’s college, I don’t have to worry about if I fall down a hole, whether I’ll be able to afford my medical insurance, so on and so forth.

. . . .

With concerns about publishers dying off, it’s intriguing that Tor is making this long-term commitment.

I think there’s a number of things going on there. I do think it was signaling. It is Tor and Macmillan saying: “We’re going to stay in business, and we’re going to do a good job of it.” This is part of an overall thing going on with Tor. Tor recently reorganized; brought in Devi Pillai [from rival publisher Hachette]; moved Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who’s my editor, from senior editor to associate publisher; brought in some new editors and some other new folks; and Macmillan basically gave it a huge vote of confidence.

It’s been fun and fashionable to talk about the death of publishing, and certainly publishing has had “exciting times,” I think that’s the euphemism we want to use, over the last decade. But the people who are in it do feel optimistic that not only are they going to be around for the next 10 years, but that they are going to do what they have always done, which is to bring exciting stories and people into the market, to keep people engaged in the genre, and to be a presence.

. . . .

So Tor saying, “We will be here in 10 years, so will John Scalzi,” is for me, very reassuring, obviously, but also a signal of intent that no matter what happens, they’re still going to be a player. This is just one part of an overall puzzle piece.

 

Link to the rest at The Verge and thanks to Sean and others for the tip.

PG always hopes for the best for authors. He sincerely hopes that John Scalzi’s ten-year contract works out wonderfully for him.

However, a publisher that is owned by large media conglomerate like Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck doesn’t control its own destiny. A small group of managers in Stuttgart controls the destiny of Tor, its employees, its authors and their books.

A brief history of Tor shows it was founded in 1980 and sold to St. Martin’s Press in 1987. St. Martin’s was and is owned by Macmillan. In 1995, controlling interest to Macmillan was sold to Holtzbrinck.

Control of Tor changed hands every seven years during its first 15 years of existence.

PG suspects that most, if not all, of Tor’s publishing contracts required that authors grant Tor rights to their books for the life of the copyright of those books – the life of the author plus 70 years.

Since 1980, employees of Tor have come and gone. Some almost certainly severed their ties with Tor in order to pursue better opportunities elsewhere. Tor never asked any of its executives or employees to commit to lifetime employment contracts.

Employment contracts are generally governed by state law in the United States. PG is not an expert on the employment laws of all 50 states, but he is confident in saying that no state would enforce an employment contract that prevented an employee from ever working for another company.

If management or ownership of a company changes and one or more employees don’t like the way the new people do business, they can quit and go somewhere else.

PG has never seen a publishing contract that permits an author to do the same thing with the author’s books. For better or worse, the author is stuck with the acquirers, whoever they may be. The fruits of more than ten prime years of Scalzi’s writing career will be staying with whoever owns Tor in the future.

Amazon’s relationship with indie authors is revolutionary because the author controls the book. An author can end the business relationship at any time. The author can then do whatever he/she desires with their books. The relationship continues so long as both sides think it’s a beneficial business deal.

PG can’t predict what Amazon or Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck will be doing ten or twenty years from now. He can predict that KDP authors will be able to do whatever they want with their books in ten or twenty years while Tor authors will not.

Writers’ Earnings in New Zealand

14 March 2017

From Horizon Research:

Writers’ earnings

On average, writers in the survey earned $56,900 per annum. Writers’ average personal
incomes were 56% of their average household incomes.

Writers earned an average of 24% of their personal income, or around $13,500 per annum,
from their writing.

While female writers in the sample had total personal incomes 10% below male writers in the
sample, they earned 10% more per annum from their writing (an average of $13,800 per
annum) than male writers ($12,600 per annum).

Income earned overseas from writing averaged 14% of total writing earnings, around $2,000 in
the past 12 months.

Overall, 27% said their income had increased in the past 12 months, while 32% said it had
decreased. 34% said their income had remained the same over the past 12 months.
Royalties were by far the most common sources of writing earnings. Around half of those
earning royalties for printed books received them at 10% RRP or 17.5% of publishers net
receipts, while nearly 4 out of 10 received less than that.

More than half of the writers in the sample had never received an advance and 27% of those
who had said the value of the advances received from publishers had remained the same over
the past 5 years.

Half the respondents said that in addition to any income they earned from writing they relied on their partners’ income, and nearly two-thirds said they relied on having a job. For nearly half of the writers, the employment they had was unrelated to being an author.

Nearly a third said they relied on National Superannuation; this reflects the age distribution of the respondents, with 32% aged 65 years or over.

Link to the rest at Horizon Research and thanks to Erica for the tip.

Here’s a link to a discussion of the study on Radio New Zealand

Author Overhead, Pt. 1

10 March 2017

From the Draft2Digital blog:

One of the burdens shouldered by indie authors is the overhead of the business. With a traditional publishing contract, some of that overhead is mitigated. The author isn’t asked to pay directly for cover design, layout, or distribution—though ultimately the cost of these services is factored into the royalty deal between the author and the publisher.

Having those expenses covered up front can be one advantage of going traditional. But as an independent author, all those expenses and more may fall on your shoulders alone. In this two-part series, we’ll look at some of the expenses and overhead you’ll take on for your indie author business, and those you should avoid.

First, The Unavoidable

Death. Taxes. Overhead for your author career. There are some things you just can’t avoid.

Author overhead can be a bit tricky, though, when it comes to the ‘unavoidable.’ Because for the most part, there really are no barriers to entry in this business. Anyone with access to a public library’s internet connection can write and publish for free. Whether that book becomes a success, however, comes down to pure luck unless there is an investment on the part of the author.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to a successful author business is to accept that there will always be a cost to pay. You may pay that in dollars, as we’re discussing here. Or you may pay it in time—whether that means taking the time to do all the work yourself, or enduring the time it takes for your book to reach an audience without any investment on your part. One way or another, Overhead takes her due.

In that sense, it’s easier to just think of any money you spend as a shortcut for time. If you can pay for services to be rendered, you’ll save both the time to do the work yourself and the time spent waiting for readers to look past the flaws of your book and give it a chance. Overhead may be unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to be a burden.

. . . .

It’s true, you can edit your work yourself. Particularly if you are skilled at copyediting—finding typos, grammar gaffs, and logical omissions in writing. If you are meticulous enough, you can certainly find and fix any errors that appear in your work.

That’s good news for many authors, who pride themselves on being savvy perfectionists. But the truth is even the keenest editing eyes among us have trouble objectively reviewing their own work.

Editing your own book can save you a few hundred dollars, but what it doesn’t save you is time. The fact is, when you edit your own work you spend more time reading and rereading and re-rereading. It can slow down the release of your book by weeks or even months. This is due to a bit of hardwiring in the human brain.

Humans are wired to look for shortcuts. Think of stereotypes: If I say ‘doctor’ or ‘nurse,’ there’s a very good chance you pictured a man first and a woman second. Never mind the fact that in our much more enlightened age women can be doctors and men can be nurses. There’s a pre-wired pattern (learned from years of cognitive bias) that makes you fall back on a stereotype in the absence of any other evidence. The stereotype is a shortcut for you brain, so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to create a mental image.

. . . .

The way this impacts our editing is simple: We wrote what we wrote, and we know what we meant.

When we’re reading our own work again (and again, and again) we’re often seeing our intention rather than the actual words on the page. This is how you can read the same sentence a dozen times and never realize you left out a “the” or even a noun or a verb. You have a built-in expectation of those words being there—your brain is biased to expect them so the sentence will make logical sense. As you read, your brain fires up its shortcut and inserts the missing words into the flow, even though they do not appear on the page.

Link to the rest at Draft2Digital and thanks to Alexis for the tip.

Why I’m Turning Trad-Pub Deals Down

27 February 2017

From author Elizabeth Spann Craig:

I’ve been asked by writers and others if I’d ever query traditional publishers again.

As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten queried by traditional publishers a couple of times in the past year.  I’m not really sure why, since there now seem to be many cozy writers out there. I’ve politely rejected them.

It’s not that I had a bad trad-pub experience. It’s just that I’ve had a better self-pub experience.

Reasons I’ve decided to stick with self-publishing:

I make more money writing independently of a publisher.  This is by far the top reason. I even made more self-publishing a few books than I did with more traditionally published books on the shelves.

. . . .

I can make changes to my online profiles at the retailers and distributors I deal directly with.  I had to deal with a lot of red tape to even get my photo up on Penguin Random House’s site last week. I was stunned to find it wasn’t up there. After all, I’ve written for the publisher since 2010 and my photo was available to them for the backs of the books.

. . . .

I can run promotions on books with lagging sales. I can make a book free. I can give a book away to gain newsletter subscribers (and then inform them of new releases for later sales gains). I can run quick weekend sales to make my books more visible on retail sites.

. . . .

I don’t feel the need to prove anything. Originally, it did feel good to be validated by a gatekeeper…I was a newer writer and I needed that. Now, I prefer reader validation. It’s ultimately more valuable.

Link to the rest at Elizabeth Spann Craig and thanks to Deb for the tip.

Here’s a link to Elizabeth Spann Craig’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Writer Finances Versus The Paycheck World

23 February 2017

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

 Here’s a piece of advice you don’t hear very often:

Pay off your house.

Seriously, my writer friends. If you get a lump sum of money, pay off your house.

Or your car.

Definitely pay off your credit cards, and take them out of your wallet. Use them only when you travel to a conference or plan to make a big purchase.

If the indie writers who made a lot of money in 2012-2014 had followed that advice, they’d still be writing and publishing. Sure, their incomes would still be down, along with their sales, but their careers would continue.

How do I know they didn’t do that?

Because they’re gone. Mark Coker commented on it in his year-end blog. Writers in the comment section on this blog have mentioned that they’re leaving the business. The Kindle Boards discuss all the writers no one hears from any more.

And if you go to writer website after writer website, many of them for successful indies, you’ll see sites that haven’t been updated for a year or two, or you won’t find any site at all.

What happened?

Well, those writers will say that their sales went down to unsustainable levels. Those writers will say there’s no point in continuing now that they can’t make the same kind of money they made in 2013. Those writers will say that writing, as a profession, is impossible.

And it is, if you don’t understand money management.

. . . .

I’ve never had a traditional job (for long) or a traditional attitude (ever).

And therein lies the heart of this blog post.

Because if I had had a traditional attitude toward money, you would not be reading this blog. You would never have heard about me. My career would be over now.

Money management is a crucial part of running your own business, and in the Survival stage, it’s all about cash flow.

Cash flow, for those of you who don’t know (and in the U.S., I’m assuming that’s two-thirds of you reading this blog) is about the way money flows into a business and flows out of it. In a business, cash doesn’t arrive at predictable intervals or in predictable amounts—such as $2,000 every two weeks. Sometimes a business is lucky enough to have a predictable payment cycle (for example, Amazon KDP pays at the end of each month), but not a predictable amount.

Even when a young business has a predictable amount of money headed their way—say, a client who agrees to pay $1,000 every month until a bill is paid off—that client might pay $1,000 one month, and then pay the entire amount the next.

The problem is that the business might have planned for the $1,000 per month, but not the entire payment. That entire payment (let’s call it $4,000) might seem like a windfall, but it isn’t. Instead, it’s money that was expected and should have been used in the succeeding months.

How many writers would parse out that “extra” $3,000 at intervals of $1,000 per month? Not many.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch and thanks to Anthea and others for the tip.

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.

The €500 a year career: do Irish writers get paid enough?

6 February 2017

From The Irish Times:

Donal Ryan’s literary success story is one that most up-and-coming Irish authors – and many established ones – would love to emulate. How sobering it must be then for them to learn that the author is having to return to his full-time civil service job at the Workplace Relations Commission to pay his mortgage.

The arc of Ryan’s story has a fairytale quality – the 47 rejection letters from publishers before his novel The Spinning Heart was finally rescued from the slush pile in 2011 and went on to win a host of prizes including the Guardian First Book Award and Dublin Book Festival’s Irish Book of the Decade as well as being longlisted for the Booker and shortlisted for the Impac Dublin Literary Award.

Despite following up with three critically acclaimed and bestselling books in four years – The Thing about December, A Slanting of the Sun and All We Shall Know – the author revealed in a newspaper interview yesterday that his literary career has not had the traditional happy ending one might have expected.

“It’s nearly impossible to make a living as a writer,” he told the Sunday Independent. “You need to have something else on the go. You could take a chance and scrape a living through bursaries and writing books, but I’d get too stressed out. It just isn’t worth it. I have two kids in school and I have a mortgage to pay.”

“I reckon I get about 40c per book. So I would need to sell a huge amount of books to make a good salary out of that. I can’t complain. My publishers are fantastic. I have just signed a contract for three more books and my advances are really good but, still, I have to look at the long term and the fact that I have 20 more years of a mortgage, so you would need to sell a lot to earn a living from that alone.”

. . . .

“I thought Donal Ryan was incredibly brave to come out and lay out the realities of being a writer – because the public often has a very skewed view,” said author David Gaughran. “But I would like to talk about the publisher in this scenario. I’ve no issue at all with Lilliput Press, I actually like them a lot, but the system as a whole needs to be examined.

“Everyone in the publishing chain claims to be broke. Publishers always say this is a low margin business. Agents have greater and greater trouble placing books. Booksellers, of course, are constantly feeling the pinch. But publishing as a whole is huge, generating $125bn in global sales every year. Where does all that money go? Why are authors paid so poorly? Contracts are terrible across the board – the system is designed that way. But it can change and it has to change.”

Link to the rest at The Irish Times and thanks to Alexis for the tip.

Publishing Predictions: What will happen in 2017?

6 February 2017

From MacGregor Literary:

So a new year is here, and it’s time to make some predictions about what will happen in 2017. I do NOT have the gift of prophecy, but that doesn’t stop me from pontificating and making wild surmises, all while not really having a clue about much of anything beyond the concept that “books are good.”  So with that as an introduction, here are one agent’s thoughts on what will be happening in our industry during the new year:

1. We’re going to see huge growth with audio books. It’s clear that alternative forms of books are part of the growth pattern in publishing, and audio is the next big thing with the under-40 crowd. (The only downside? Amazon has bought up every audio book company, so they’ve basically cornered the market.)

2. All the talk about growth potential with US publishers is going to be on rights sales. In other words, subsidiary and derivatives are going to play a MUCH more significant role in every contract negation you have this year. Expect every conversation you have with a publisher to explore dramatic rights, foreign rights, greeting cards, plush toys, and board games. Another reason to go on living!

. . . .

5. More mid-size publishers will be bought by Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster. In fact, with those first three all making major purchases over the last two years, I expect we’ll see S&S follow suit by trying to snap up some struggling houses with strong niche markets.

6. Everyone is going to start bundling ebooks. It’s been a growing movement among ebook publishers, and this year we’ll see major houses begin to do it… and thus shrink author earnings even more.

. . . .

8. We’re going to see a group of successful ebook authors quit indie publishing. For the record, I am NOT opposed to indie publishing, and have been very vocal in encouraging the authors I represent to consider doing some of their titles indie. But with declining indie sales, we’re now going to start seeing a migration of big-name authors back toward traditional publishers. Have a look at the news so far this year, and you’ll see the movement has already begun.

Link to the rest at MacGregor Literary and thanks to Sariah for the tip.

Untidy desk, untidy mind? Time to call in a professional declutterer

27 January 2017

From The Guardian:

Receipts hidden in bags, a desk overspilling with stacks of dusty books, boxes full of random paperwork and an inbox with more than 1,000 unread emails. A busy entrepreneur knows better than most that clutter can quickly build up. Ronit Knoble’s home office was all over the place until she hired professional declutterer Juliet Landau-Pope last year.

“There was paper everywhere, I was drowning in admin,” Knoble says. “I work from home and there was too much of everyone else’s admin around – I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. I needed someone to help me organise the films I was making.” Landau-Pope helped her categorise the paperwork in her office, get rid of clutter she doesn’t need (such as receipts), and make time every week for filing.

The founder of Fantastic Films says her appointments with Landau-Pope are “almost like a therapy session”. She adds: “[Now] there’s a clear divide between my children, me, the house and my company. I often think, why did I used to keep all of this crap?”

Knoble is part of a growing wave of small business owners enlisting the help of a professional declutterer. The president of the Association of Declutterers and Organisers (APDO), Ingrid Jansen, says the success of New York Times bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, has raised awareness of the sector as a whole. APDO’s membership numbers have almost doubled in the past three years to 200 coaches.

. . . .

“I see clutter as a habit and it’s a habit that can be shifted. It’s not about having a perfect space or being minimalist. It’s about doing the best you can within the space you have, and making the most of your work and your environment.”

Link to the rest at The Guardian

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