Monthly Archives: September 2014

HarperCollins to Sell Through Chinese Retailer

HarperCollins will now sell its English language ebooks in China through a local online retailer. The deal launches with about 800 backlist titles including Divergent by Veronica Roth and The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, and works by Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, C.S. Lewis and Beverly Cleary.

This is an important step for books in China. The country has a huge population that is driving publishing there; allowing U.S. authors to gain traction with that population can open new doors for authors of every type.

Since the country is one of the worst for pirating ebooks, it’s critical that publishers provide legal ways for readers to access the books they want. The music industry learned that lesson the hard way by trying–and failing–to stop digital pirating of songs. Only when the music companies began offering easy ways for listeners to get songs legally did piracy drop.

New York Times: New Monthly Bestseller Charts

The New York Times is adding 12 new charts to their usual bestselling chart lineup. The new lists include travel, humor, family, relationships, animals, politics, Manga, graphic novels, food, fitness, humor, business, celebrities, science, sports, and religion, spirituality and faith.

The new layouts will appear in different formats and on different publication schedules in print and digital. The amount of space for print editorial content including reviews, essays and features will be expanded as part of the move.

This is great news for readers, authors and publishers. After such a long and severe protraction in the amount of space given to books of all kinds, the Times is leading the way with a new Renaissance in publishing.

YA and the National Book Award

Ten titles classified as YA and middle grade books have been shortlisted for the National Book Award.

This blog has discussed the movement among adults to read YA literature even when they don’t have young adults in the household. That has made the category very popular, and one of the strongest in children’s publishing.

Recently, though, a new trend has developed with middle grade works, those targeting preteens. Adults are reading middle grade books for their own pleasure, whether they have kids of that age in their household or not.

All of this means that middle grade is poised to be the next big breakout category in publishing. It already ranks strongly in terms of profitability but is behind both YA and children’s picture books in terms of annual finances. That’s about to change. If you have been working on middle grade books or have an idea for one, now’s the time to start sending it out.

Book Review: Will Starling

I was provided with an ARC by the publisher, and have been captivated ever since.

Will Starling is set in London in 1816, a city supercharged on the one hand by scientific advances yet hammered by the recently ended Napoleonic War. Will, an ex-soldier, moves in the seedy neighborhoods trying to make a living working for a surgeon and educating himself through his experiences and any book he can lay his hands on.

The story is one of a love that was lost because it was never truly given, the Doomsday Men who rob graves to feed the rapacious needs of the surgical colleges for cadavers, and a woman sacrificed to one surgeon’s desire for fame.

You won’t find much of the pretty parlors and ladies that populate so many other books. This takes readers into the filthy streets and derelict houses for an unflinching study of the realities most people lived at that time. The language is accurate to the times without becoming overwhelming for modern readers, and everything about the settings enhances the dark intentions of so many people…not the least of which reside in the heart of a surgeon who reaps other people’s pain for his own gain.

Once you read Will Starling, you’ll look for other books by Ian Weir. I certainly will.

Polis Books Adds Children’s and YA Books

Polis Books is a digital-first company that blends traditional publishing experience and media techniques. When it launched, it focused on crime, SF/fantasy, and romance/erotica digital editions. The company is adding children’s and young adult to its offerings, and is expanding into print editions for all categories. This is a great opportunity to submit to a publisher that is moving into new areas with your YA or children’s books.

Advances for Adult Nonfiction #getpublished #pubtip

Because the publishing industry took two big hits over the past decade, the discussion of advances has included historical data. The same is true for a full understanding of advances for nonfiction books.

In 2010, during the economic downturn and digital disruption, advances for nonfiction books were about $40,000 to $100,000 for established authors. Those offered digital-only deals saw advances around $5,000, and debut nonfiction authors saw averages from all publishers (not just the Big Five) between $10,000 and $50,000 as an average.

In 2013, only 6% of nonfiction books received advances higher than $100,000. In 2012, the average was less than $80,000.

Why such low numbers? Nonfiction is bought in much higher numbers than fiction because the number of books sold is generally higher. However, most titles don’t sell very well. You could say the same about fiction but the idea here is that readers generally are more open to trying out nonfiction because it offers advice and insight into topics of interest. Fiction is more esoteric, and therefore a bigger risk for readers….and publishers. So there’s a numbers game at play: publish many nonfiction titles and see what sticks. That translates to lower advances in general.

Advances for Adult Novels #getpublished #pubtip

As noted in earlier posts in this series on author advances, in 2008 the publishing industry was impacted by the general economic downturn. At that time, advances for adult novels were averaging $120,000 for first-time authors. By 2011, the average had dropped to $60,000.

The industry began to rebound that same year. These days, advances are generally higher. Across all categories, the average is about $75,000 to $100,000.

General fiction tends to be the strongest. This average ranges from $50,000 to $120,000 for debut authors.

For genres, it’s a bit different. The sci-fi/fantasy, romance, and crime (mystery) segments see about $40,000 to $80,000 on average. Thrillers perform better and net about $75,000 to $175,000 to $250,000 for a first book.

Digital-only deals perform the worst, with most coming in below $50,000 and right around $20,000 to $25,000.