The Publishing World Now vs When I First Started 📁
I didn't post this because I felt like I could go on with it forever...so I just stopped. I'm posting it now as an open list bc I'm sure others have great suggestions.
- •No e-books!My first novel was published in 2007. E-books were virtually non-existent. They started to make a tiny impact on my next one published in 2008 but the percentage was still relatively insignificant (I think 90% of those are hardcover or paperback) compared to now, which can be at least 50/50, if not more.
- •No social media!At least not in the way it is now. I think we had...MySpace...and you didn't use it to promote your work.
- •That meant that: the bulk of PR didn't fall on the authorThere wasn't much we could do besides email our friends! How fucking liberating!
- •This also meant that media mentions really matteredGetting hits in big outlets made a huge difference. My second book got picked up by People and the Today Show on the same week, and it hit the Times list. This is not a humble brag, rather an example of the media power at the time. Without either of these things, it never would have happened. Now, People can move the meter...sometimes...and the Today Show is still huge, sure, but their book coverage isn't as frequent as it used to be. :-/ In fact, review space is significantly less everywhere.
- •Now, you are told to tweet about itTweets really don't sell a quantifiable number of books
- •Actually, no one is really sure what sells a quantifiable number of booksSo maybe this hasn't changed. Ha ha, no. Back then People was king. It STILL matters, don't get me wrong but it isn't the guaranteed home run that it used to be.
- •Advances are lowerSix-figure advances are much less common. I don't necessarily have an issue with this because you can earn out much faster but IMO, royalty rates should then be raised.
- •No more Borders :(This was a toughie for me and writers like me bc Borders sold huge quantities of our paperbacks, and when they shuttered it was a blow to my sales and to others
- •You write faster and more often nowI think the pace of one book every two years was pretty common when I came up. Now, I have friends writing 2 a year: certainly one a year. For me, personally, this isn't creatively sustainable. My friends do it (and i applaud them) but I do feel like this is more onus placed on the author.
- •Authors do have more optionsSelf-publishing used to be a joke. It still can be but you can do it well- if you know what you're doing-and find success outside the traditional model.
- •AmazonI have nothing but positive feelings for Amazon. But they have, of course, changed the marketplace forever. They were a non-entity when I started, in terms of a huge market share. I think they sold about 10% of books. No longer. (see the bullet about e-books)
- •It's easier and harder to break-outI think that breaking out in hardcover these days requires the stars to align. It can happen but it is tough. But publishers have gotten savvy to price-drops, which means they can run a $1.99 promotion, and your book can soar to a best-seller list. Which leads me to another change: the notion that people buy based on price-point. Many do.
- •Goodreads and the likeOof. There is now a never ending stream of feedback about your work. Not so in 2007. For better or worse.
- •Author camradarieThanks to social media, many of us know each other and support each other. It's really lovely. This didn't exist much in the early days, simply because there wasn't a tool for us to find each other and congregate.
- •Anyone have questions? Happy to reply in the comments.