• A new Authors Guild survey reveals the majority of authors would earn below the poverty line if writing were their only income. The AG assigns some of the blame to “the rise of Amazon.”
Given that a single person earning less than $11,670 annually sits below the poverty line, 56% of respondents would qualify, if they relied solely on income from their writing. The survey also indicated that not only are many authors earning little, they are, since 2009, also earning less. Overall, the median writing-related income among respondents dropped from $10,500 in 2009 to $8,000 in 2014, a decline of 24%.
Ah, but there are other ways of looking at the AG survey data.
• And keeping in the same vein, the September 2015 Author Earnings Report has been published. Here is Hugh Howey’s summary, quoted from his Facebook page:
– 60% of ebooks sold on Amazon come from non-traditional sources.
– 40% of ebook earnings on Amazon now comes from non-traditional sources.
– The Big 5’s share of the ebook market on Amazon has plummeted from 45% to 32%
– Big 5 authors saw their share of market earnings plummet from 48% to 32%
Last year, publishers fought for price control from Amazon. The result has been disastrous for those publishing houses and even worse for their authors.
• Elizabeth Koch, daughter of one of the billionaire Koch brothers, has launched an online magazine and independent publishing house called Catapult. She means business. Catapult’s first book is Cries For Help, Various, by Padgett Powell. For the magazine they’re looking for short fiction and various kinds of creative nonfiction.
• And Elizabeth isn’t the only one. Cornelia Funke, bestselling author of Inkheart, has launched her own publishing company, calling it Breathing Books. Her former publisher, Little, Brown, had asked for changes to her new novel that she didn’t want to make—move the first chapter elsewhere, alter the ending. A Little, Brown spokesperson said, “Cornelia is a magnificent writer and LBYR is proud to have launched the Mirrorworld series to critical and commercial success. The decision for Cornelia to pursue independent publication at this stage was entirely mutual and we wish her the best in her new endeavor.”
Mutual? A publisher lets a bestseller go because she won’t toe the editorial line? The publishing industry just gets curiouser and curiouser.
“Little, Brown and others are like ocean liners that can only go to certain places,” Funke says. “I want to be a sailboat so I can fit into other places … And I can finally be a storyteller for all ages.”
• Fiction via Twitter? Well . . . okay.
• Author Solutions has survived a second class action lawsuit: “With two cases ended in their favor, it’s safe to say that Author Solutions either had the better lawyers or it’s being run by astute managers who know just how far they can take their tricks without being liable.”
• Should you cheat when submitting to literary magazines? No, of course not. On the other hand…
• As children age they turn away from books. No shock here, but it’s nevertheless disconcerting.
More than half (54%) of six to eight year-olds are frequent readers and read books for fun five to seven days a week, but this dramatically declines over the teenage years, research indicates. Around a quarter (24%) of 12 to 14-year-olds pick up a book this often, and this drops to just 17% of 15 to 17-year-olds.
It will therefore come as no surprise that iPads and computers may be harming performance in school.
• If you sell the book, will they read it? “At the IDPF/BE conference in May of this year, Kobo disclosed data that revealed only 60 percent of books purchased are ever opened. And that says nothing about whether they are even finished.”
• Finally, a Harry Potter-themed bar has opened in Toronto. Put your feet up and knock back a potion or two.
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