Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Tobias Buckell

Blogging Authors


Words are used in so many weird ways.

Blogging Authors

Image Courtesy of Mikhail Popov ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/hoboton

Like the title of my post today—Blogging Authors.

As if writing a blog and being an author are inherently two different things.

Sure, I understand that blogging and fiction writing are usually very different activities but an author who blogs is still a person who uses words to convey thoughts and feelings, right?

I write this blog, so I’m the author of this blog.

I also am an author of fiction.

So, a blogger is a writer and, as I explained in a previous post, a writer is an author—so…

Is the term “blogging author” “Correct”?

Sure, if you want the general public to know that you’re going to talk about people they consider as authors who are also people who blog.

I don’t know about you but my use of words so far has been pretty weird :-)

I’m going to introduce you (and, me) to six authors who also blog—I’m not familiar with their work but they’re what could be called “Influencers” in the blogosphere.

My usual method for deciding what to blog about involves scanning lots of news and finding bloggable articles; but, I’ve found a new way to generate material for this blog of mine—Buzzsumo—plug in some keywords, select some filters, and see some cool stuff.

And, since I’m a fiction author who also blogs, I entered the words “fiction author” into Buzzsumo and found the following Blogging Authors (Caveat—Due to the vagaries of the algorithmic way Buzzsumo selects people, I had to ignore a few folks who didn’t actually fit the category “fiction author”—I also skipped a few people so I could get an equal number of men and women…):

~~~ Ben Collins-Sussman writes Interactive Fiction and blogs at IBanjo—here’s what he has to say about himself:

I’m a programmer and musician; I live in Chicago with my wife, kids, and cats.

“My friends tease me that I ‘collect hobbies’, but everything I do seems to have three common themes:

  • Art vs. Science: I like activities that require combining both technical problem-solving and artfulness.
  • Collaboration: If the activity isn’t social, I’m not very interested.
  • World-building: I like creating and exploring pocket universes.”

~~~ Tobias Buckell is a Science Fiction Author & Futurist:

“Born in the Caribbean, Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author. His novels and over 50 stories have been translated into 17 languages. He has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author. He currently lives in Ohio.”

~~~ Here’s Ed Gorman’s Blog and here’s a bit of bio for him:

“Crime Fiction author of 30 novels & 7 story collections. Often mistaken for Batman at a distance.”

~~~ Jackie Kessler is a Dark Fantasy and Paranormal author and says:

“Some kids want to grow up to be doctors, or movie stars, or political assassins. Me, I wanted to draw comic books….So maybe it’s ironic that the book I wound up writing had nothing to do with overly muscled men and everything to do with scantily clad women….Previously, I was the fantasy editor for Wild Child Publishing.”

~~~ Anita Davison writes Historical Fiction and blogs at The Disorganised Author:

“Most likely to be found working on my next novel fuelled by lots of coffee. Welcome to my window into the chaotic and frustrating world of a struggling author with a mention of some of the lovely people I’ve met along the way.”

~~~ Marie D. Jones writes fiction and non-fiction:

“Marie is venturing into fiction in 2014 with the release in Feb. of a middle grade ‘spy sci fi’ series called EKHO: EVIL KID HUNTING ORGANIZATION, written with her son, Max and based on his real-life spy group that he formed when he was bullied in grade school. The series focuses on the effects of bullying, one kid’s clever way of fighting back, and how we all just want to find our tribe in life and bloom where we are planted…with an extra added sci fi touch! Marie’s YA paranormal series, FREAK will be released in June 2014 and is already being looked at by motion picture companies. She also has other novel series in development and is repped by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo-Helin Literary Management.”

O.K., that’s the result of using a new tool to come up with blog posts…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

GRAB A FREE COPY of Notes from An Alien

 

Want To Be A Bestselling Author? ~ Don’t Read This Blog . . .


In fact, if you want to be a bestselling author, don’t read any blogs, don’t listen to any of the self-professed experts, don’t use social media, and don’t self-publish—just make a deal with the devil

There is no “path to success” as a writer.

There is no sure-fire way to sell lots of books.

Let me share some quotes from past posts to convince those who saw “Don’t Read This Blog . . .” and are still reading.

From Bad Advice for Writers = Most Advice for Writers:

“Someone is a writer and writes a book—no, wait—wants to write a book.

“That someone looks at the publishing landscape and realizes the intended years of effort to create the book could be followed by many more years of the book not selling, even if they self-publish, even if they spend every waking hour doing social media, even if they can afford to pay a publicist, even if they find a magician who specializes in spells woven ’round readers hearts

“Perhaps, to salvage the self-esteem of aspiring writers, there need to be other options than sales and money to keep their artistic boat afloat?”

I then go on to quote some of those options from electronic bindery.

From What Are A Writer’s Odds of “Success”?:

“Who made it seem success wasn’t merely the next stage, from which further action becomes possible, but rather a pinnacle of achievement that leaves all other contenders breathless on the sides of the conquered mountain? So, who did that? Businesspeople? Fundamentalist religious folk? Football coaches?”

“’Success’ comes from roots that mean ‘come close after’.

“Society has boosted its meaning to something like ‘beat all the odds…”

I share some interesting thoughts in that post from author William Dietrich.

From Lies Writers Tell Themselves (And, Each Other):

An article in grub street daily lists these lies:

1. You’re only a successful writer if you’re published by paying markets, such as the magazines that you can buy in Barnes & Noble.

2. You’re only a successful writer if you’ve published a book-length work with a big publishing house.

3. It is hard to write a book, but if it is good, you’ll easily get it published and earn money from the royalties.

4. If you don’t publish a book, you can’t write very well and you’re certainly not a professional.

5. If you’re not earning large amounts of money, you’re not successful in terms of your career.

6. If you self-publish, it means you aren’t talented and/or professional.

From What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?:

Tobias Buckell says:

“Making a living off art is hard.

“But that isn’t a sexy sell.

“That isn’t to say you should give up. Fuck that. But I am going to say: get ready to work, don’t expect riches. Focus hard on the art….

“There’s a lot of snake oil sales going on. And a lot of well meaning people who won the lottery telling everyone to go buy lottery tickets while financial advisors shake their head.

“Pretty much the same as its always been

“PS: this survivorship bias also works for writing advice about ‘how to write’ if you think about it

So

If you got hooked by that part of the title that said “Don’t Read This Blog” and you’re still reading, I do hope you’ll check out those past posts and read them—cure yourself of dreams of having a bestseller and get to work on your writing—Your Writing, not what you think will sell

And

If you do write a book that becomes a bestseller, make sure you live through the experience without selling your soul

Now, for a QuizWhat’s Wrong With This Video? ~ (While there’s certainly some interesting information and, possibly, even some “valuable” information in it, What’s Wrong With It ?)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

GRAB A FREE COPY of Notes from An Alien

Select as many as you like:

What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?


An extremely small percentage of writers sell more than 500 copies of a book

books don't sell

One source I checked said this:

in 2004, 950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies.

“The average book in America sells about 500 copies” (Publishers Weekly, July 17, 2006). And average sales have since fallen much more. According to BookScan, which tracks most bookstore, online, and other retail sales of books, only 299 million books were sold in 2008 in the U.S. in all adult nonfiction categories combined. The average U.S. book is now [2011] selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.”

And, from ElectricLit, in 2016, we have: “…most fiction books published by a traditional publisher garner somewhere between 500 and 500,000 sales. Sometimes less, sometimes more.”

There are other sources of statistics and adding e-books would give yet different numbers but, to generalize the available data, most books don’t sell very many copies.

Yet, writers can find tons of posts and articles and web sites that are based on the mistaken conception that Any book can sell like hotcakes if the author will do X, Y, Z, and, if possible, D, U, and P

Cory Doctorow’s blog Boing Boing has an article called Survivorship bias and electronic publishing: practically no one is making any money.

Cory’s post is very short and is really a long, fancy link to a post by Tobias S. Buckell; but, I wanted to give Cory’s blog a shout-out :-)

So, Tobias Buckell:

“Born in the Caribbean, Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author. His novels and over 50 short stories have been translated into 17 languages and he has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author. He currently lives in Ohio.”

And, the title of Mr. Buckell’s post?

Survivorship bias: why 90% of the advice about writing is bullshit right now

The first healthy dose of reality in Mr. Buckell’s post is a quote from Smashwords Book Marketing Guide I’ll give you the link for a free copy right here :-)

So, here’s that quote from Smashwords in Tobias’ article:

“We cannot promise you your book will sell well, even if you follow all the tips in this guide. In fact, most books, both traditionally published and self-published, don’t sell well. Whether your book is intended to inspire, inform or entertain, millions of other books and media forms are competing against you for your prospective reader’s ever-shrinking pie of attention.”

And, Tobias, speaking about Mark Coker, who said “We cannot promise you…”, said, “I’m grateful to him for sharing some raw data, unlike the other venues which highlight, boost, and act as if the superstars’ stories are average.”

A bit later in the article, Tobias, talking about an interview he’d read, says:

in business school there’s this point made that if you interview rich people who have won the lottery, you might come to believe that playing the lottery is the only way to become rich. I thought that was interesting. One of the things I’m constantly trying to point out is that we’re not doing nearly enough to highlight both median and failure modes, because that’s where the real lessons lie. As for myself, I find message boards where new writers struggle to sell more than a few copies interesting, and where I harvest data about the low end.”

Then, Tobias quotes from an article (a very good article) called, Survivorship Bias:

“If failures becomes invisible, then naturally you will pay more attention to successes. Not only do you fail to recognize that what is missing might have held important information, you fail to recognize that there is missing information at all.

“You must remind yourself that when you start to pick apart winners and losers, successes and failures, the living and dead, that by paying attention to one side of that equation you are always neglecting the other.”

Are you catching the drift yet?

Perhaps, no matter what an author does (or, a publishing company), most books will still sell not so many copies?

Tobias also includes a number of interesting charts in the article to drive his points home

If you’re going to be publishing a book (or, have it published for you), I do hope you’ll go read Mr. Buckell’s article.

But, if you “don’t have the time“, here’s how he ends it:

“Making a living off art is hard.

But that isn’t a sexy sell.

That isn’t to say you should give up. Fuck that. But I am going to say: get ready to work, don’t expect riches. Focus hard on the art….

There’s a lot of snake oil sales going on. And a lot of well meaning people who won the lottery telling everyone to go buy lottery tickets while financial advisors shake their head.

Pretty much the same as its always been…

PS: this survivorship bias also works for writing advice about ‘how to write’ if you think about it

Still, want to publish that book?

Go read Tobias’ article :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Select as many as you like:

 

%d bloggers like this: