(Cheri’s Note: Not only is Barry Eisler a successful author of an impressive stream of thrillers (traditionally published), but he also made publishing history in Maarch 2011 by turning down a $500,000 two-book deal with St.Martin’s Press in order, instead, to published his next novel electronically. That next novel, Detachment, was released in the fall of 2011, and you can read all about the story at: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/07/141116856/barry-eislers-detachment-from-legacy-publishing. Hearing him speak at the conference was a huge treat!)
Day #2, Keynote Address: The New World of Publishing, and What It Means for You–Barry Eisler (www.barryeisler.com— Eisler directed us to his Web site’s section “For Writers” and then to a sub-section “Resources for Indie Writers.” I checked this out, and the information is both useful, easy to reference, and comprehensive. Anyone considering launching out in the DIY direction would benefit greatly by visiting this site. Thanks, Barry!)
Despite all of the changes taking place daily in the publishing industry, one thing has not changed. Readers still love to read and are willing to spend some amount of money to get their hands on good books.
Writers are their own CEOs. And being your own boss carries with it the responsibility of writing the best book possible (and the best edited).
Even when they’ve written the best book possible, writers need to understand the realities of the publishing world in 2012.
- Even with a great book, making any measurable amount of money with the endeavor is not a good bet.
- 93% of all published books (and this includes cookbooks, self-help, history, politics–everything) sell less than 1000 copies over the life of the book!
- The average book only sells 83 copies over the life of the book.
The most important thing to Eisler is getting his books into the hands of readers as expeditiously as possible. (Traditional publishing can add years to this process, especially if the writer is new/unknown.) So, what has changed in the publishing world due to the onset (or onslaught) of digital publishing?
- Paper books require a distribution partner, and that role has traditionally been filled by traditional publishers, which is one reason why publishers’ contracts with authors typically specify an 85% take of the book sales for the publisher.
- Digital books, however, do not require a distribution partner. Consequently, Indie writers are now on a level plaing field with huge publishers.
- Amazon was the first company to offer authors a direct-to-consumer marketing plan.
- Writers now have choices regarding how they get their work into the hands of readers.
- This, according to Eisler, makes authors the number one players in the new world of publishing.
(Eisler’s remarks were relatively brief. You can find a ton of extremely useful information “For Writers” on his Web site: www.barryeisler.com. )