This spring, best-selling thriller writer and former CIA agent Barry Eisler wrote a piece in the New York Times about why he turned down a half-million dollar advance from St. Martin’s Press to self-publish instead: He believes he can market his books better on his own.
Neal Pollack, author of several books, including “Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude,” wrote in another New York Times piece called “The Case for Self-Publishing” that “self-publication crackles with possibility as never before” and vowed to bring out his next book himself, as an experiment. He writes… READ MORE
“With the era of digital publishing and digital distribution, the age of author advances is coming to an end,” explained Ewan Morrison at the Edinburgh international book festival. “Without advances from publishers, authors depend upon future sales; they sink themselves into debt on the chance of a future hit. But as mainstream publishers struggle to compete with digital competitors, they are moving increasingly towards maximising short-term profits, betting on the already-established, and away from nurturing talent.”
The Bookseller claimed in 2009 that “Publishers are cutting author advances by as much as 80% in the UK”. A popular catchphrase among agents, when discussing advances, meanwhile, is “10K is the new 50K”. And as one literary editor recently put it: “The days of publishing an author, as opposed to publishing a book, seem to be over.”
The economics of the book business are changing so rapidly the publishing industry barely looks like it did just six months ago.
Divining the profitability of a book is a mysterious art. But basic book economics suggest an e-book is more profitable than a hardcover, even at substantially lower consumer prices, due mostly to the inventory and return costs associated with physical books.
Studying journalism in 1937, Roscoe Born never dreamed of seeing his own writing in digital format. But looking back now, the 90-year-old author said he is grateful for the technology advancement that has given him the ability to publish a roughly 95,000-word murder-mystery novel, which he started 15 years ago, in the form of an e-book.