I don’t know why you write. I have only an idea of why I do. Most people are gifted in some area or another—having an innate knack for a certain discipline.
At the risk of sounding falsely modest, I believe I was bestowed with only one gift, and that was a bent toward writing. That doesn’t mean I was brilliant at it or didn’t require a lot of training and experience. In fact, I’m one who believes that no writer ever arrives.
I fear that if I’m not growing, I’m stagnating. Thus, I'm committed to remaining a lifelong learner.
My work, and my study of the craft, have led me to conclude that there are at least five qualities shared by successfully published writers. Here's my list. I'd love to see yours.
5 Traits Published Writers Have in Common
1. A love for reading. Writers are readers. Good writers are good readers. Great writers are great readers. Read everything you can about the craft of writing, but also read widely about virtually anything that interests you.
2. A reverence for listening. Be curious. Listen more that you speak. You'll naturally listen carefully to colleagues and people you respect in the field, but also listen to people from all walks of life and every socio-economic level. That's where ideas come from.
3. A devotion to learning. Commit to expanding your your knowledge everyday. Be insatiable about learning. A day without learning something new is a waste of 24 hours.
4. An impatience with the status quo. Never believe you've arrived. If you're not growing and improving, you're falling behind.
5. A fierce work ethic. The only way to write a book is with seat in chair. You can go to only so many writers conferences before it's time to put up or shut up. At some point, you need to do the work.
While I had a bent toward certain sports, and some people think I am instinctively funny, writing is my only gift, and so I have felt compelled to exercise it. I don't sing or dance or preach—writing is what I do.
Some say they write because they "can't not write." I know the feeling. Writers like us would write for free if we had to.
I have been asked when I knew I loved writing. I’ve never loved the writing itself. Writing is way too grueling to love. What I really love is being a writer, being known as a writer, and having written.
AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) announced the winners of the 2015 Golden Scroll Awards for Publisher, Non-Fiction Editor, and Fiction Editor of the Year as well as the winners of the Golden Scroll Books of the Year contests at the 2015 Golden Scroll Awards and Banquet, Sunday, June 28th at the convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Honored for outstanding ministry partnerships with their authors, the Golden Scroll Publisher of the Year went to New Hope Publishers. AWSA author Brenda Poinsett says of New Hope, “Their work isn’t just about publishing books; it’s about reaching men and women and boys and girls for Jesus Christ.”
Both Paul Muckley of Discovery House and Larry Weeden of Focus on the Family were named the winners of the Non-Fiction Editor of the Year. AWSA author Crystal Bowman says of Muckley, “I don’t know how he does it, but his editing is amazing.” Pam Farrel says of Weeden, “He is an affirming visionary, a godly man of both virtue and vision!”
The Fiction Editor of the Year was awarded to Andrea Doering of Revell of Baker Publishing Group. AWSA author Lynette Eason says of Doering, “She makes each of her authors feel special, not just because we write for her house, but because she cares.”
The Book of the Year Nonfiction Award went to Gayle Roper for A Widow’s Journey, Reflections on Walking Alone from Harvest House Publishers.
Golden Scroll Merit Awards for Nonfiction were also awarded to Shelly Beach and Wanda Sanchez forLove Letters from the Edge from Kregel Publications, Elaine Helms for Prayer Without Limits, Expanding Your Relationshipwith God from New Hope Publishers, Marti Pieper and Moria Brown for Out of the Dust: Story of an Unlikely Missionary from ANEKO Press, and Amy Simpson for her book Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry from IVP Books.
Silver Scroll Merit Awards for Nonfiction went to Cindi McManamin for When God Sees Your Tears from Harvest House Publishers, Marti Pieper and Walker Moore for Escape the Lie, Journey to FreedomFrom the Orphan Heart from Randall House, and Brenda Poinsett for He Said What?!: Jesus' Amazing Words to Women from New Hope Publishers.
The Novel of the Year Award went to Eva Marie Everson for The Road to Testament from Abingdon Press.
Golden Scroll Merit Awards for Fiction were also awarded to Cynthia Ruchti for As Waters Gone By from Abingdon Press, Lynette Eason for No One to Trust from Revell of Baker Publishing Group, and Firewallby DiAnn Mills from Tyndale House Publishers.
Silver Scroll Merit Awards for Fiction went to Gayle Roper for An Unexpected Match from Harvest House Publishers, Deborah Raney for Home to Chicory Lane from Abingdon Press, and Sarah Sundin for In Perfect Time from Revell of Baker Publishing Group.
In addition, the 2015 AWSA Member of the Year Award went to Amber Weigand-Buckley who serves as editor for AWSA’s award-winning magazine, Leading Hearts. The Beyond Me Award went to Janet Perez Eckles. The prestigious 2015 Golden Scroll Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Chonda Pierce.
Chonda Pierce served as the keynote speaker with Thelma Wells as emcee. Authors Carol Kent and AWSA founder Linda Evans Shepherd presented the awards. Chonda Pierce also performed a parody written by Martha Bolton dedicated to editors and publishers.
AWSA, the sponsor of the Golden Scroll Awards Banquet, is an outreach of Right to the Heart Ministries and consists of over 400 top ICRS women authors who both publish and speak nationally. Seewww.AWSA.com.
Millennials are less likely to purchase e-books than any other age group, with 63% of 16-24 year-olds saying they have never bought one, according to a report from Deloitte. For its Media Consumer Report 2015, Deloitte surveyed 2,000 UK consumers about their media habits. It found that 25% of 16-24 year-olds had bought an e-book in the last 24 months, compared to 38% of 25-34 year olds. Millenials also say they are spending more time using other media, as only 14% of that group read books for more than an hour each day but 67% will watch up to an hour of short form video and 58% will spend more than an hour watching TV. Matthew Guest, Deloitte strategy director, said: “Typically regarded as the tech-savvy generation, millennials are actually quite reluctant to read books in electronic form. However, with such an array of media content vying for the attention of Britain’s younger consumers, it is no wonder that reading books is losing out as a form of entertainment. “With a number of influential vloggers having recently seen success in publishing, it is clear from our research that authors, publishers and retailers must do more to appeal to younger audiences in order to remain commercially relevant.” The report found that e-readers are the least popular device across all age groups. Only 41% of households said they owned an e-book reader, but 87% had a laptop, 83% had a smartphone and 71% possessed a tablet. Reading, however, is still a popular pastime because 80% of all respondents have purchased a book or e-book in the last year and 34% said they read now more than they did in 2010. Of those that regularly read books, 53% suggested their friends would describe them as reading more than the average person.
Q. Recently I heard someone talking
about “baby puppies” in relationship to writing—and how we
shouldn't use them. I have no idea what they were talking about. Can
you enlighten me?
A - “Baby
puppies” is simply referring to the use of two words that actually
say the same thing. The official name usually given to such instances
is “tautology.” The reference to “baby puppies” is an example
of a tautology since a puppy by definition is a baby, baby is not
necessary. A few other examples would be annual birthday, blended
together, cancel out, cash money, broken shards, close proximity,
correspond back and forth, dead corpse, equal to one another, filled
to capacity, free gift, kneel down, revert back, true facts, written
down, and totally abolished. You might want to edit your own work to
catch any such baby puppies, and then start your own list of them
that you find in your writing or in the writing of others.
I’ve been writing on and off for years but never seem to get over
the hump of actually getting anything published. Now I’ve decided
I’m going to make a real effort to become a selling writer. Do you
have any tips that will help me achieve success?
first thing you’ll need to do is set aside specific times to write.
If you wait until you have time, it won’t happen. That means a
number of things. You will need to determine where writing is going
to fall in your life. It certainly does not have to be a full-time
pursuit, but you do need to set aside specific blocks of time to
dedicate to your writing and related activities. Mark those dates on
your calendar, and honor them as you would any other appointment.
this means that in order to have sufficient time for writing, you are
going to have to give up something you are already doing. If God is
calling you to write, then He may not be calling you to do some of
the other activities that have taken over your time.
will also help if you have a place set up where you can do your
writing. Although you may work on a laptop—meaning you can write
anywhere—it helps to have somewhere to go where you can move out of
a casual setting to one where you are motivated to get down to
serious writing. This will also be the place where you keep your
market guide, style book, reference books, and other tools of the
trade. Make it a place you enjoy being in, not one you dread to
enter. Going to your special work place also serves as a signal to
family members that you don’t want to be disturbed unless it’s an
of tools of the trade, it is now essential that you work on a
computer. I don’t believe any periodicals or publishers will now
accept hard copies of your manuscripts unless you have an electronic
version as well. If you aren’t able to work on a computer, then you
will likely have to hire someone to type your manuscripts into a
computer, which may cost more than you’ll make on an article or
next step will be to determine what it is you are going to write. If
you write nonfiction, what topics interest you and are you qualified
to write about? If fiction, what genre or genres? Whatever you decide
to write, it is important that you write enough of one topic or type
of writing that editors and readers begin to recognize you as someone
who is well qualified to write that kind of material. Building that
kind of reputation leads to assignments from editors.
you determine what you want to write and who your potential audience
will be, it’s time to start identifying which periodicals will be
interested in what you have to offer. If you were planning to start
with a nonfiction book, don’t. It is critical that you build a
reputation in your field by writing regularly for the publications
interested in your topic. An editor is going to expect you to have
that body of work as preparation for doing your book.
if you are writing fiction, periodical credits are not that important
although you could start with short stories. Use the Christian
Writers’ Market Guide to identify potential
markets, get their guidelines and sample copies, and spend time
reading and studying them to determine how well your articles might
fit there. This step is critical. Don’t skip it.
order to stay on track, it will be important to set goals for your
writing output. Although it’s interesting to see what other writers
are doing in the goal department, it’s important that you set your
goals based on the time you have allotted, the type of writing you
are doing, and the amount of time needed for research or interviews.
Stay realistic, and only up the goals when you feel certain you can
meet higher ones. Mark each goal on your calendar, and work
diligently to meet each one.
Q – After getting a go-ahead from
an editor to submit an article, how soon will the editor expect to
A – Actually, if
the go-ahead comes as a result of a query, that query should have
indicated whether or not the article was finished, or how long it
would take you to complete it. If no such estimate was given, then it
will depend on the type of article. If it deals with a timely
subject, the turn around time will be fairly short, because it needs
to get out while the topic is still hot. If it is a piece that
requires a lot of research or a number of interviews, the editor will
understand that it will take longer than the typical article. If the
editor needs it by a certain time, or a specific issue, he will
likely indicate that. If the editor provides a contract for the
particular article, the contract will likely indicate a deadline. If
so, be sure you meet it, or it's possible it will never be published.
If no deadline has been given, you can give the editor an estimate on
your completion time and ask if that is acceptable. Just be sure not
to agree to a deadline you know you can't realistically meet.
Q – What does it mean if an editor
asks you to write an article “on speculation?”
A – It simply
means that the editor is interested enough in the topic to take a
look at your article, but not interested enough to commit to buying
it. That means you have no guarantee that the editor will buy it. In
most cases, if you get a go-ahead from the editor when you submit a
query, it will be on speculation. In some cases, even if the editor
contacts you to write a piece, he can also indicate it's on
speculation. That way the risk is all yours. Some writer's refuse to
write on speculation, but that would be your choice. Typically, if
you are a new writer, you would go ahead and accept those assignments
even without the guarantee, in hopes it will be the beginning of a
good relationship with that editor.
if an editor gives you a firm assignment, he can always reject the
final article. If that is the case, many editors will compensate the
writer by paying them a “kill fee.” That means they will be paid
to the “kill” the article. The kill fee ranges anywhere from 25%
to 100% of what they would have received if the article had been published. If you have a contract with the editor concerning this
article, it may make reference to the amount of the kill fee, if it
comes to that.
Finding an agent
can be both daunting and scary. As the pool of agents seems to grow
from month to month, it is important to know how to evaluate any
agent you might be considering—while that agent is evaluating you.
agents these days will offer you a contract—rather than taking you
on with a handshake. Although those contracts vary from agent to
agent, it is important that any agent contract you sign offer you the
protections you—and the agent—need to develop a successful,
working relationship. The following list will point out most of those
elements. (1) It will indicate that this agent is your exclusive
agent—or if some of your writings are to be exempt—will specify
what is exempt. (2) It should indicate exactly what services the
agent is going to provide for you—such as finding publishers for
your works, negotiating contracts, keeping you informed of any
activity on your projects—including sending copies of rejections,
making sure your publishers abide by the terms of your contracts,
accepting or rejecting offers as you decide after consultation with
your agent, checking royalty statements for accuracy, and making sure
payments are made on time. (3) The agent will expect you to inform
them and let them deal with any problems that arise between you and
the publisher. (4) The agent will expect you to inform them if a
publisher shows interest in one of your projects. You should not
enter into any kind of an agreement with a publisher on your
own—that’s what the agent is for. Your interference at that point
could jeopardize the agent’s opportunity to get the best deal for
you. (5) The contract should indicate what percentage their
commission will be (typically 15%). It is typical that the royalty
statement will go to your agent (so they can check it for accuracy),
the agent will deduct their percentage, and send you the balance.
This is one reason you want an agent you can trust explicitly. (6)
You want an agent who does not charge set fees, but it is typical
that an agent charge for certain office expenses, such as phone calls
and photocopying. The contract should specify this, require an
itemized list of expenses, and put a cap on how much they can charge
for such expenses without getting your permission. (7) If your agent
involves a co-agent for selling such things as foreign rights, it is
typical that they charge a 20% commission that they split with the
co-agent. (8) And finally, you always want a clause that indicates
how either of you can terminate the contract—such as with 30 or 60
days written notice.
“The reason that fiction is more
interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really
like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell
the truth without humiliating himself.” Eleanor Roosevelt
I am starting to have more success with my writing and am concerned
about what I need to do—taxwise or businesswise—to call my
writing a business. At what point is my writing actually considered a
A. January is the time to start
setting up the business and begin keeping records the IRS requires.
Here are a few of the things you need to know to get started:
IRS will want to know if you are writing as a hobby or you consider
your writing a business—the difference being that you are either
doing it for fun or you have a profit motive. If you are doing it as
a hobby, you can deduct the expenses associated with your writing but
only up to the amount you actually made during the year.
you consider it a business, you can deduct most or all of your
expenses, even in excess of your income; but the IRS expects you to
make a profit three out of the first five years. For that reason, you
need to plan your switch to the profit motive when it looks like that
is likely to happen. However, you can get around that three-year
requirement if you can prove you have tried hard to make a profit and
have the evidence to prove it. Such evidence would include keeping
detailed financial records with receipts, submitting regularly, and
having the rejection slips to prove your submissions.
what the IRS considers legitimate deductions. These include such
things as postage, office supplies, business travel, conference fees,
and office equipment. For some of the trickier deductions, these free
IRS publications help you make those calculations: Publication 535,
Business Expenses; Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and
Car Expenses; and Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.
possible deductions have certain limitations on them, so checking out
these IRS publications is important. For example, some of the larger
deductions are allowed only if you make enough income to cover them.
As a self-employed writer, you may also be eligible to deduct a part
of your health insurance costs, as long as you are not eligible for
health coverage through your regular employer or that of your spouse.
of the more difficult deductions to claim is a home office. This is
one you will have to hold off on until your business is well
underway, and then you will need to carefully check out the
guidelines and restrictions for making such a deduction.
of the above are federal laws. State and local laws vary from state
to state, so check the laws for your city and state. Some states will
require a business license, payment of state taxes, etc.
the time your business is in full swing and you are making
significant income, you may want to hire an accountant to do your tax
returns. Just keep in mind that every accountant may not be familiar
with the tax laws as they relate to writing, so it helps if you can
find one who does tax returns for other writers.
Q – I am confused about
pen names. When would I use one—and why? Then, how do I let the
publisher know I want to use one?
There are a number of reasons: (1) If the subject is of a sensitive
nature and you want to remain anonymous, or need to protect the
identity of family or friends. (2) If you sell repeatedly to the same
publisher, they sometimes will either ask you for a pen name or
assign you one so it looks like different people are writing the
articles. (3) If you are writing in different genres and prefer to
use a different name for each genre to avoid confusing the readers.
(4) Or, if you are a man writing in a woman's field, or vice versa.
you will want to use your own name as you build your reputation and
following as a writer. If you are using a pen name on a book, it
complicates things when you have an opportunity to promote the book
personally. Do you do so under your own name or the pen name? It can
be particularly troublesome when you are using a pen name to protect
your identity or the identities of others. You never want to use a
pen name unless you have a specific reason for doing so.
next part of your question has to do with letting the editors know
when you want them to use a pen name on an article or book. Generally
speaking, most editors will not object to using a pen name for you as
long as you have a legitimate reason to do so. However, you may find
a few who won't do so because they feel it is dishonest, but that is
logistical standpoint, when you want the publisher to use a pen name
on your piece, you simply list the pen name in the byline (under the
title), and put your real name in the upper, left-hand corner with
your contact information. If you do so, it is also important to
include a cover letter with the submission explaining exactly why you
want them to use the pen name when the piece is published. Then if
they accept the piece, double-check to be sure they are agreeable to
using it. If it is a situation where you are protecting identities,
then it will be important that you have that assurance.
additional question that comes out of this is how the payment will be
handled. The check will come to you made out to the name in the
upper, left-hand corner, not to the pen name—at least in theory. It
sometimes happens that the check is mistakenly made out to the pen
name. In that case, you have two options: you can return the check to
the publisher and ask them to reissue the check in your name, or you
can let your bank know that you may receive some checks made out to
the pen name. Generally, they will honor those.
I am often amazed at
how timid some writers are when it comes to making themselves known
to editors they might write for. Once you identify your area of
expertise—the topic or type of writing you want to be identified
with—you should then identify which publications specialize in that
kind of material. Even if you are writing or are planning to write
books, getting your name out there in relation to your topic is a
critical part of building your platform and reputation.
Once you pinpoint
those publications, let them know who you are and what you can
contribute to their future needs. Send a query or complete manuscript
(whatever they ask for) clearly reflecting your ability to write on
that topic area. Also include your background or whatever it is that
qualifies you to write such material, plus ideas for additional
articles. Indicate your shared interest in and understanding of their
particular audience, and volunteer to write articles for them in an
emergency. Most publications are looking for qualified writers they
can depend on to meet their ongoing needs.
Even if you don’t
get an immediate positive response from an editor, keep submitting to
them and work at building that positive relationship. Some editors
may be reluctant to trust you until you prove you can write
appropriate material, meet their deadlines, understand their needs,
etc. Persistence is often the name of the game.
Never expect your
family to respect what you do. Don’t even expect them to read what
you have written or had published. They may only start noticing when
you make enough money to impact their lives.
Share with them both
your acceptances and rejections. At least they will know what you’ve
been up to. Celebrate the successes with your spouse and/or
children. If possible, involve them in stuffing envelopes, licking
established routine and schedule for your writing, and work at
sticking to it. Indicate writing times right on your calendar. If
you don’t honor that schedule they won’t either.
writers conferences/events a regular part of your annual routine so
they will recognize their importance to your writing career. Share
some of the highlights of your trip when you get back.
Don’t let guilt
take the joy out of those trips away for speaking engagements or
conferences. Getting along without you for short periods of time is
good for your spouse or children. (They will learn to appreciate you
more.) Keep in mind that they will survive intact and will not
starve. You’re the one who will likely have to deal with the
aftermath when you get home—so enjoy the time that will
immeasurably benefit your writing career.
important to keep your family first, you can do that by scheduling
family events and writing events so they don’t overlap. Don’t
let them talk you into changing your writing schedule or upcoming
event at the last minute because they want to do something
different. They will only honor your writing time as much as you do.
And, finally, don’t
fall into the trap of putting off your writing by waiting for the
ideal circumstances. I’ve watched very accomplished writers who
have decided to wait to write until the kids are in school or out of
school, until the kids all leave home, until they can get away by
themselves for uninterrupted blocks of time, or for whatever other
reason they can come up to delay the writing. As I remind writers
regularly—if you keep waiting for the perfect writing scenario,
you’ll end up being a waiter—not a writer.
A couple of things
happened this week that reminded me that I need to share some of the
personal philosophy that feeds into the development of the Christian
Writers’ Market Guide. From time-to-time I
hear from writers who want to know why a particular publisher or
listing has been included in the latest edition.
I had an e-mail
from a loyal market-guide user that suggested I shouldn’t include
publishers that also published New Age or other religious
philosophies that were not consistent with evangelical Christianity.
I answered her query as I have often answered it in the past. It is
my belief that if these publishers are open to material written from
a Christian point of view (I don’t include them unless they
are)—along with whatever other points of view they include—then
we are missing the opportunity to spread the gospel to readers who
are looking for answers. I understand that not all Christian writers
are called to such a mission field or would be comfortable writing in
that venue, but I know from experience that many are and they
appreciate these opportunities. I am always on the lookout for
opportunities to help writers be salt and light in a world searching
I also read a
review of the market guide this week from a reviewer who claimed the
market guide was not Christian because the Resources Section for
Writers included references to general resources as well as
Christian. My belief is that because the process of being or becoming
a writer and honing our skills is the same for those in the Christian
or general market—only the message is different—we can benefit
from whatever resources are out there.
e-queries/e-submissions continue to increase in popularity, we may
need to be reminded of proper e-mail etiquette.
sure that the publisher you are approaching is open to e-mail
contacts. More are each year—but not all yet.
whether they want the query or manuscript copied into the message or
attached. Some don’t want it in the message because the material
loses all its formatting. Others won’t open attachments because of
the fear of viruses. The market guide or their guidelines will tell
you which they want.
subject line is also critical. You want it to reflect exactly what
you are sending. It might say such things as “Article Query
Enclosed,” “Requested manuscript: article title,” or “Article
for Consideration.” If you are known by the editor, it might say
“Article Submission from Your Name.” The important thing is to
make it very clear what is included in the e-mail and/or attachment.
letter itself needs to be the same type of formal query you would
send by mail. Make sure it is professional, well organized, with no
misspelled words, poor grammar , or the like. Always include your
full contact information—not just an e-mail address.
though it is sent by e-mail, don’t expect an immediate response.
Editors tend to handle e-mail queries/submissions in two different
ways. Some may shoot back an immediate response—or at least an
acknowledgment that they received it. However, others handle them in
much the same way as they do hard copy submissions. They will simply
print it out and put it in the same pile as other unsolicited mail
or e-mail submissions. In that case you can expect to hear within
their posted time limit for responses.
the length of your query letter. Unless there’s a good reason for
it to be longer, keep your letter to one page (meaning it won’t be
more than a page when the editor prints it out).
finally, don’t assume a No on this query is the end of your
relationship with this editor/publication. Many writers make the
mistake of trying a publication once and if they are rejected never
try that one again. Editors are looking for writers who want to
write for them. Writers who understand who they are, who their
readers are, and who share their vision for that audience or reader.
Your persistence in approaching that publisher will get their
The Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA®) recently announced on their website that Tyndale House Publishers (http://www.tyndale.com) author DiAnn Mills’ novel Firewall has been recognized as the Golden Quill Winner of 2015, voted #1 best book in the Inspirational category. Firewall‘s Golden Quill award will appear in the July issue of RWA Magazine, declared among all 2015 Golden Quill Contest Winners, as judged in each category by the official Contest Committee of RWA®, which acknowledges excellence in romance fiction.
Nielsen’s analysis of the US book market, presented at Book Expo America, shows that e-books have helped stabilize the industry during a time of economic upheaval - but it also reveals that e-book growth has halted for major categories such as adult fiction and adult non-fiction. But while the digital sales trajectory has dimmed for the major publishers, its overall impact on the sector remains undiminished.
Using data both from Nielsen BookScan (which tracks print book sales, but not digital sales, from sales made through retailers) and figures from its PubTrack Digital service (which collects e-book sales data from over thirty of the largest publishers in the United States), Nielsen contends that the decline in physical book unit sales (from 718m in 2010 to 635m in 2014) has been offset by the rise in e-book business (from 68m unit sold in 2010 to 223m by 2014).
E-books as a proportion of the market hit a high point in 2013 of 28%, and overall the US book market has risen at a compound annual growth rate of 2% over five years. As Nielsen puts it: “The physical CAGR = -3% has been offset by the e-books CAGR = 35%”.
In pure units sold, in 2014 858m books were sold in 2014, compared with 785m.
Nielsen also provided a five-year summary of e-book sales, based on the invoices of its major publisher clients. The stand-out figure, as reported at The Bookseller earlier this week, is that e-book volume sales fell 6% in 2014, compared to 2013. The actual numbers were 237,406,910 in 2013 against 222,985,471 in 2014, so a 6.1% drop in volume terms.
According to Nielsen the e-book curve looks something like this: “In 2010 PTD tracked 68 million unit sales . . . One year later it was over 160 million, and in 2013 unit sales equaled almost 240 million units. However in 2014 overall unit sales were down 6%. This resulted in a 2012 - 2014 CAGR of only 3%.”
Some have queried as to why the figures don’t match with the data provided earlier in the year by the Association of American Publishers, which reported e-book sales up 4.7% year-on-year to $1.58bn. The AAP bases its report on more than 1,000 US publishers, though since, like the UK, the big US publishers account for a huge proportion of the overall books market and all of the major players are included in this sample (Nielsen says it covers 85% of the e-book market), the panel is unlikely to be the reason why one measure is down, the other up.
The simpler reason is that one is based on volume, the other on value—and that in itself signals a shift in the market, and how we must now think about it. It seems likely that, as we saw in the UK, US publishers are now prepared to eschew volume market share and instead focus on value sales, i.e. higher value sales at the expense of the number of units shifted. Other reports, such as those put out by Author Earnings, have suggested the same phenomenon, but while AE sees this a a weakness, it may simply be a strategy that will become further pronounced as the big publishers move back to full agency.
There could be a number of reasons why traditional publishers are adopting this strategy:
First, they simply don’t believe Amazon when it says that lower price points guarantee greater volumes that offset the decline in price, an argument it raised during its dispute with Hachette Book Group USA last year;
Second, either way they don’t they can counter what threat there is from self-published titles by trying to price-match them - it’s a battle they can never win since their overheads will always be much greater;
Third; their own experimentation has shown that consumers are simply not as price sensitive as has been suggested. The Girl on the Train, a massive UK e-book bestseller has been priced at around £6 for much of its success;
Last, they believe a mix of print and digital remains the most helpful balance for the overall marketplace, allowing high street booksellers to survive while curbing the growth of Amazon.
There are other nuggets in the Nielsen data:
* adult fiction e-book volumes have risen massively since the turn of the decade, but since 2012 growth has slowed, andin 2014 adult fiction e-book sales fell 9%, so they are now only marginally ahead of 2012’s figure;
* but, in general fiction, romance, suspense, mystery , fantasy more than 50% of unit e-book sales are digital;
* in adult non-fiction e-book sales has “stopped” - though in reality they grew by 0.5% but are still only 15% of total sales;
* sales of juvenile e-fiction are on the rise: the last three years show a 12% CAGR, and in 2014 juvenile fiction e-book sales grew 10%;
* on average, book buyers have bought 5.3 books in the past 6 months, 45% of which are e-books. However, those who buy only eBooks buy more than twice as many as those who only buy print;
* if an e-book and print book are the same price, 32% of respondents to Nielsen’s consumer panel were more likely to buy the print book, 31% were more likely to buy digitally;
* e-books are less seasonal, this past December e-book sales were roughly 20% the size of physical sales, in November of 2014, they were roughly 33% the size of physical sales, and in October 2014, they were 40%. While print book sales peak during holiday seasons, e-books do not - and even the post Christmas surge has become less pronounced.
* people who buy print and digital spend more each month ($37.63 than those who buy just e-books $18.70);
* when asked, “Which of the following have you done in the last 6 months” 64% of respondents bought one or more books or any kind – while 10% took out a book subscription. But AmazonPrime (as well as Kindle Unlimited) are the prime movers;
* as will no doubt shortly be noted in the comments section (or on Twitter), Nielsen’s analysis tells us less about the overall e-book market in the States than we’d like, primarily because it doesn’t include sales from self-published — or non ISBN publishers — or as Hugh Howey would have it the "35%+ of the ignored/silent market". Nielsen does give some indication that it is aware of this grey sector, reckoning that 42% those who have downloaded e-books are sure they have bought a self-published book. I don’t know how useful that knowledge is, except that it perhaps indicates how widely accepted self-published writing now it (but we knew that anyway, right?). However, as with previous surveys it seems likely that our understanding of the overall e-book market would improve considerably were good data available from this sector.
writers, dealing with and meeting deadlines is just a part of the
business. But I’m afraid that often we tend to treat them too
casually. In reality, we should regard each of those deadlines as a
the years I’ve only missed a few deadlines—and always because of
circumstances beyond my control. The first one was a book deadline
that coincided with my mother’s death. Although I knew there was a
good reason for missing the deadline—and that my editor would
surely understand—I also knew that I had a responsibility to inform
my editor as soon as I knew I was going to miss it. It’s best not
to wait until the deadline is upon you, or already past, which puts
the editor in a position where they have to scramble to make the
was reminded of all this when my husband fell off a ladder a few years ago and came away with 9 rib fractures and 6 pelvic fractures. Although
being there and caring for his needs during the next several weeks
meant I was going to be hard pressed to meet upcoming deadlines, I
never totally abandoned my concern for meeting them as soon as it was
at all possible. I felt strongly the responsibility to meet that
commitment and let my editor know I would be late—asking when the
latest I could submit and still not put her behind schedule.
like to remind all of us how important it is to meet those deadlines.
The wheels of publication—both with books and periodicals—run
like a train. If even one writer misses a deadline it throws the
whole train off the tracks. With magazines it may mean that the
publication will have to substitute another piece for the one you
didn’t produce in time—and may give the editor pause before
giving you another assignment. With books, it is even more serious.
Because all the steps of the publishing process are based on you
meeting your deadline, being late often means that your project goes
to the end of the line (often meaning they won’t meet your
projected publication date), and you may even lose the interest and
attention of the editor who has championed your book from the
beginning. The writer who doesn’t pay close attention to deadlines
is destined to lose the interest and respect of the editors.
we move into the summer months, finding time to write always seems to
be a problem. We all tend to think that if we just had the right time
and the right place we could get so much writing done.
remember when I was younger—much younger—with kids at home,
that I always dreamed of going away by myself to
a wonderful retreat and just writing. At one point I actually
arranged such a week-long retreat alone on the Oregon coast. I packed
up my typewriter and notes and settled into my
cozy cabin to just write. The first day went
pretty well, but by the third day I was so lonesome I could hardly
concentrate on the writing. I ended up having my husband put my
daughter on a bus to come and spend the week-end with me. So much for
All that to say that waiting for the perfect time and
place to write is counterproductive. I came to realize that if I
really wanted to write I could sit down even in the midst of my
family chaos and just write—which is what I
We write because we have to. I remember a conversation I
had with a former pastor’s wife who had talked for years about
writing a book for pastor’s wives. After they retired, I asked her
about the book. She assured me she was working on it, but had decided
she’d only write when she felt inspired. I wanted to say something
to her at that point, but I bit my tongue. Now, 15 years later, the
book is still not finished. What I wanted to tell her is that
writing—though often inspired—is not as much about inspiration as
it is about discipline. Inspiration is often fleeting—it’s
discipline that gets the job done. I hope your summer is productive.
TORRANCE, Calif., June 5, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- Rose Publishing announced today its acquisition of Rainbow Publishers and Legacy Press. For over 30 years, Rainbow and Legacy have been award-winning industry leaders, specializing in reproducible Bible lessons, devotionals, and fiction books for children and teens. Rose Publishing will acquire over 180 children's titles from Rainbow Publishers and Legacy Press.
"We are excited to know a trusted company like Rose Publishing will be carrying on our vision," says former Rainbow-Legacy CEO, Dan Miley, "Rose is already a leading publisher in reproducible Bible study material and shares our passion for creating easy-to-understand, Bible-based teaching material."
Rainbow Publishers develops age-appropriate, flexible teaching material, including the series Instant Bible Lessons, Five-Minute Sunday School Activities, and Favorite Bible Stories. Awarded Best in Christian Education by Christian Retailing in 2011 and winner of numerous awards (Retailer's Choice Finalist, Gold Medallion Finalist, CBA Bestseller), Rainbow Publishers produces all-in-one Bible lessons and like Rose Publishing it focuses on reproducible Bible material.
Legacy Press is best known for its God And Me and Gotta Have God series of devotionals for girls and boys; both of which are national best-sellers. Its devotions, journals, and Christian fiction books, including the "Mom's Choice" award-winner, Bill the Warthog, help kids grow in their faith.
CEO and co-founder Gretchen Goldsmith expressed her enthusiasm over the new acquisition and what it means for Rose Publishing.
"Rose Publishing was started by a public school teacher and a Sunday School teacher in 1991 with a passion to make easy-to-understand Bible material," said Ms. Goldsmith. "We've always admired the integrity of Rainbow's leadership and the quality of their reproducible teaching material. We see this acquisition as a way to combine two family-owned companies who share a joint vision for quality Christian education material."
Ms. Goldsmith added that she was eager to focus on Christian children's titles: "Although Rose has created popular kids products before, we've never had a full product line devoted just to children and teens. As a Christian educator, creating products that develop and nurture a Christian foundation in the lives of children is close to my heart," she said. "We know this line is meeting the needs of churches and parents who want practical, easy-to-use Bible curriculum. We look forward to serving children-and all who love them-as we continue to expand this product line."