I Read Dead People
They're dead. And they outsell you.
This is Sarah. Lately I've been culling my used books. That is, the books on my shelves that I need to get rid of if we ever (let alone this year, which we'd like to, though I'll admit is not looking likely) are to move.
Several things have changed, since the last time I've done this 21 years ago when moving from Columbia, South Carolina, to Colorado. First of all my son, who had to be put in a playpen to keep him from running around while I sorted books and teething on the Agatha Christies is now 22 and is helping me enter stuff for sale on Amazon. Second, we're getting rid of way more books, proportionally. (In total too, since it's a 21 year accumulation instead of seven.)
We're getting rid of almost everything except my research books (I can't do research on the kindle. It simply won't work.) signed books by friends, books which aren't available in e-format (Brother Cadfael, at least last I checked) and books which I'm likely to re-read at least once a year (so, all of Heinlein.)
I'm picking up every book and going "justify your existence to me, in this format." Because... in 21 years the world has changed and the ability to read on the kindle paper white means I don't have to have bookcases in every room and the attic and basement filled with boxes. I can carry my reading needs with me wherever I go. Even the research books are getting culled. I'm now fairly sure I will never write anything set during the Russian revolution, for instance. I just don't like the period enough.
Anyway, so as we're culling these books and putting them up on Amazon, my son first noticed something: some of the old writers still fetch a good price, even though you'd think the world would be flooded with their books: Agatha Christie, Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke.
Then I started noticing other patterns. It's gotten to the point if a book has a gorgeous cover and obviously got lots of publisher push, I know the hard cover, used, five years later, will be selling for one cent. OTOH you come across these books that look like they were thrown together with a clip art cover by an illiterate intern, and the paperback goes for $70 a copy.
The latter was a sign of how out of touch with what customers really wanted publishing got to be in the last few decades. They printed some books way too tight, thereby making their copies precious, while they pushed books that really had no market.
On the other hand, if you look at how the greats of the past and how they're selling, it proves that there is a deep market just waiting to happen.
It is a sobering notion that I'm being outsold -- massively outsold as my indie sales this month were painful -- by a bunch of dead people. But it is also an incentive to try harder.
The good thing about indie is that all your sales depend on you. That's the bad thing too of course. but over all, I'm glad of it. My own failures is something I can deal with. Other people's are out of my control.
Remember, tell all your writer friends to send the AUTHOR, TITLE, a SHORT BLURB, and an AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK to firstname.lastname@example.org to be plugged here on PJ Media.
Deadlines are flexible, but in general the deadline for Friday is Tuesday the preceding week. So, for example, the deadline for March 7 was February 22.
That said, last week was a really big one, so some books are being put off until next week. Hey, we said the deadlines are flexible.
It really helps if you don't bother with HTML magic at all, because we just have to parse it apart to put it into the template. The ideal submission is like
My name as it's on the book cover.
no more than about 100 words.
The Mountain at The End Of The World upon which a bird sharpens its beak is down to where one more beak-wipe will eliminate it, and thus bring about the end of the universe. The only ones who can save us are... a bunch of stray cats.
Does romance have a future? It’s the year 2165, and one man thinks so… As a pager, Peter Mandrin’s job is to track things down – criminals, shipments, missing transports, anything that turns a profit – and he’s just sacked the catch of a lifetime, infamous embezzler Roger Finlay. As a reward Mandrin wins Finlay’s vintage 1960’s four bedroom, ranch-style house, complete with sports court and old-fashioned swimming pool, on the most expensive planet in the universe, Earth. From low-life pager, he’s hit the sweet, sweet big-time. In Pager two hundred years have passed and a hostile, canyon-like divide has developed between men and women. Marriage is an arcane word, mutual suspicion abounds, and Wallys (artificial life) fill in the emotional void. Up to now, it’s just been Peter and his insouciant, sexy Wally, Debris, the replicant woman of his dreams. That is, until he meets the real woman who lives next door, the mysterious Wendy Roseland. In Wendy, Peter discovers that the human touch and passions it arouses are greater than anything he imagined. Unlike Debris, it’s Wendy imperfections that beguile him the most. In her arms, he suddenly feels the ticking clock of his own mortality -- and it frightens him. He wants to be with her forever. When Wendy suddenly flees the planet, Peter does what he does best: tracks down the truth behind her disappearance.
What price empire?
A genetics research team promised they could make the Azdhagi endothermic, larger, and perhaps telepathic. All they needed was permission to modify two little genes. But remaking the species triggered a crisis no one could have imagined, when genetic modification collided with greed and a touch of madness. As a generation of juniors begins dying, long-simmering disputes within the Azdhag Pack boil into near civil war. King Emperor Seetoh needs all his strength to hold the Empire together. Can Lords Tarkeela and Kirlin set aside their fight long enough to help reunify the Pack?
When disaster strikes, OutClan and PackLord must hunt together or the Azdhagi will perish.
A novel, set 400 years before A Cat Among Dragons.
Ever wonder what it feels like to have it all—family, career, health, money—and not be happy? Ann Olson takes her life for granted until her young son, Travis, disappears from the backyard one evening. Searching for her son, Ann throws caution to the wind. Soon, she finds herself enmeshed in the seedy world of Mexican drug dealers who operate just across the border in Tijuana. Does Ann, an atheist, embrace Christianity despite her husband warning that her pastor friend is more interested in converting her than in finding Travis? Does she make it out of the drug tunnel alive, or is her rashness her downfall? And is Travis's disappearance related to that of other recently missing children in San Diego? A story of a mother's love, courage in the face of evil, and her unexpected journey of self-discovery along the way.
It's August in Paris 1625 and Porthos, once a dancing and fencing master, has taken as apprentice a young nobleman, whom he's teaching to fence and ride. When the young man dies, poisoned, the stories of his ancestry and domicile unravel into layer after layer of deception and blackmail, involving Porthos's relatives and his own past.
Can Porthos, Athos, Aramis and D'Artagnan dodge the Cardinal's guards while finding the real murderer? Who was Guillaume Jaucourt, and who could have killed him? And why?
It's one for all and all for one with the swashbuckling sleuths, in a race against time and their own misgivings.
Article printed from PJ Lifestyle: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle
URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/3/29/i-read-dead-people