Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

#Publishing ~ Good and Bad


I’m going to report on three articles today—three views into the workings of today’s Publishing Industry… 

First, David Gaughran‘s piece, How The London Book Fair Helps Vanity Presses Exploit Newbie Authors.

An excerpt:

“The most prestigious event in the UK publishing calendar, the London Book Fair, welcomes predatory operators with open arms, deliberately positions them opposite author events for extra cash, and then helps to whitewash their reputation – even running misleading interviews and puff pieces on its own website to help them get more leads.”

David’s talking about what are called “Vanity Presses”.

They pretend to be regular trade publishers; but, they lure a writer in then attempt to trick them into paying exorbitant fees to publish their book.

This is extremely different from a writer who chooses to pay certain fees for services to help them Self-Publish.

It’s also very different from Traditional Publishing, where the writer (if providentially accepted) pays no fees; in fact, is given a cash advance

Two more excerpts:

“I’m sure many of you are angry about this – and you have every right to be. This is the leading event of the UK publishing industry, and one of the most prestigious in the world. And the London Book Fair is not just allowing these guys to appear, but it’s actively generating leads for exploitative services, and directly engaging in PR efforts on their behalf to make them seem like legitimate publishers.”

“The deeper I dig – five years of this, let me remind you – proves that these guys are central to the industry, and that whole swathes of the publishing establishment is geared towards separating inexperienced writers from their money in incredibly dishonest ways. And we never even talk about it, let alone take action.”

That’s the Dark Side

Now, for Jane Friedman and her article, The Publishing Industry in 2016: A Status Update.

“According to Nielsen Bookscan, for print book sales (primarily traditional publishing sales):

  • During the first quarter of 2016, frontlist adult fiction sales were down by 17% compared to 2015
  • During the second quarter, they were down by 4%
  • First quarter backlist sales were up by 4% compared to the prior year
  • Second quarter backlist sales were up by 9%”

Then, this:

“…the picture became more clear when the biggest New York publishers released their financial results for the first half of 2016—compared to the prior year:

  • Penguin Random House (PRH): sales down 10.7 percent
  • Hachette Book Group USA: sales down 6.6 percent
  • HarperCollins: sales down 2.5 percent
  • Simon & Schuster: sales down 3.5 percent”

One more excerpt:

“For Penguin Random House, the CEO said the shortfall was related to ‘the absence of newly published megasellers’, as well as the  poor performance of ebooks in the United States and UK. Helping make up for the losses: steady print book sales and audiobook sales.”

There’s a lot more in Jane’s article (especially about Amazon…); but, I’ll leave it to the folks who Need To Know to go read both Jane’s and David’s full articles

Finally, there’s an interview between Jane and Joanna PennPublishing Trends In 2016 With Jane Friedman—where Jane talks about “empowerment”; which, to me, clearly means Self-Publishing:

“There is a class of author who I think is more empowered. But I don’t think the emerging writer, the person without any credits to their name, are they more empowered? Not necessarily. But there are lots more options and paths for them if they educate themselves.

“But in that first book contract, if they choose traditional, it’s hard. It’s as hard as it’s ever been.”

So, three articles, lots of opinion, some facts—just like Life-in-General—Some Good, Some Bad, Educate Yourself………
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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