Tag Archives: sales

Read or Not Read

Did my title confuse you, dear reader? Don’t worry, I’ll explain. After my publisher launched my debut book, SHE HAD TO KNOW, in 2011, I gave a number of talks and signings for various organizations to familiarize people with me and my work. In addition, I was on several panels at writers’ conventions in which the subject of the panel had something to do with the panelists’ books, and a signing followed so attendees could purchase said books. For me, there were talks with signings at libraries, art galleries, and civic groups, but there was one thing in common with all these talks. No one had read my book yet. Of course, I’m referring to the public, not people who were associated with the publication of the book itself.

I had been attending writers’ conventions and conferences for a number of years before my first publication, so there were lots of writers whom I had met and also lots of aspiring authors like me with whom to share experiences. In fact, an author friend introduced me to her agent. Although my author friend’s agent wasn’t looking for my particular book, it was a good experience for me to have contact with her. I also did several pitches to agents and editors at these conventions and finally I acquired my agent at a convention. It was all so frightening, exhilarating, exhausting, energizing, deterring and inspiring, and produced both insecurity and later a bit of confidence and I loved most every moment!

In all of these instances people had not yet read my book, so in delivering my talk, I was always aware not to give away any important clue, or say too much about any character. My subject matter covered my motives for writing this particular book and what went into doing so. I talked about how I accomplished the research needed. Everything was general and somewhat vague, so as to not spoil the book for a new reader. I only realized this recently when I was scheduled to give a talk for a book club in which everyone had read my book.

The first part of my talk with this group was like previous ones since most of my audience didn’t know me, but I started seeing smiles of recognition as I went on. I was able to talk more freely, specifically about placement of red herrings, or why a certain character acted a certain way. During my question and answer period, I received some interesting questions that I was able to answer fully without having to be concerned that someone’s reading experience would be ruined by a spoiler. This was the first time since my book came out that I had specific feedback on it.

As an author, this experience was more helpful to me from a writer’s perspective. I guess one could call it a critique session from readers. I really enjoyed this. In this case, my audience was too kind to give me any negative feedback, but I would have welcomed that as well, because one learns from all criticism.

Reviews and comments on Amazon and Goodreads are good too, but in the case of the book club, I was able to interact with my questioners. That isn’t possible, of course, in a review.

The only drawback to doing a talk for a book club is that the author probably won’t sell many books, if any, because book clubs usually read lots of books over time and book stores and libraries usually don’t have enough copies for all the members to share. Since costs of books would get prohibitive, often the prospective readers will buy used books or ones from another vender than one that would provide a royalty to the author. I certainly understand that, but I have to say that’s not a reason for an author to not do book club talks, because I certainly learned a great deal from my experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Yes, we do want to get paid for our work, but sometimes the lessons we learn along the way can be much more valuable than the cost of a few books.

I’d love to hear what you writers feel about this subject.

 

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.

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Loyalty

Have you noticed that a characteristic such as loyalty seems to have vanished in our modern day world? It is a tragic loss if it can not be revived. Companies no longer seem to care about their employees and employees change jobs for a few dollars more in a pay packet.
In my parents and grandparents day, people got a job with a company, worked their way up the ladder and for the most part retired from that company after many years of loyal service. This is an out of date notion. Workers, for the most part, are no longer loyal to one employer. In recent times, there are those who job hop, hoping that the new company will offer better pay and benefits. Or they may play one company off the other to negotiate the best deal. However, this is not so prevalent anymore with the job market what it is now.
Employers do not encourage loyalty in their workers like they did once upon a time.
A friend of mine gave a company fifteen years of service and loyalty. Then she was let go along with three others from this same company. There were no satisfactory explanations for their terminations; just good-bye with no severance, no references and few prospects in the job market today. There are not many openings for jobs on that same managerial level.
Another friend recounted to me that her company wants people to start sharing more of their responsibilities because the company wants to eliminate numerous jobs. They have not said what jobs, or which employees will be released, so the sword of Damocles hangs over them all. The company also has offered early retirement sweet deals that are available to the first fifty of the one hundred and fifty that are eligible. Even with retiring fifty people, they still will cut jobs.
Another horrifying item that surfaced about this company: someone distributed a book about ~ how to treat employees so poorly that they quit, leaving the company without having to pay the unemployment fees.
I wonder what is happening in our world.
Where is loyalty?
I remember a story my dad told me about a friend and client of his.
Mr. Lubin loved to bake, and he was good at it. His hobby blossomed into a small business as he took over the family kitchen. Soon the demands for his baked goods grew, and he moved his enterprise to the garage. Orders came in consistently allowing him to first rent, then later to purchase a building of his own to keep up with the growing demand.
In the process of his expansion from the kitchen to the garage he needed proper packaging for his goods. He called a number of companies and met with their salesmen. He had a specific package in mind. No supplier had it readily available. The salesmen told him that his demands could not be met. His order would be too small to make it worth their while. Except for one young man who needed to establish himself with his company. He said it would be worth a try. He would do what he could to fill the order. A week later the man returned with what they company could do for Mr. Lubin. The men shook on the order, and the salesman got the ball rolling to create the packaging Mr. Lubin wanted.
Mr. Lubin’s business grew and grew over the years allowing him to build his own building to make all his bakery products. As his fame and fortune grew, the salesmen from the companies that told him he was too small to bother with began to come back, they offered sweet deals, they undercut the price of that first salesman who had taken the risk with Mr. Lubin’s order.
Mr. Lubin would simply smile; shake his head and say; “No thanks.” He let them know that he was remaining loyal to the man who had been with him from the early days. That the salesman who had had taken the risk to create his packaging needs deserved his loyalty.
Another facet of his loyalty was his constant ability to keep his promises. Mr. Lubin did business on a handshake and his word. His word was his bond. He did not need contracts or signatures. He never reneged on an agreement, if he told you something was going to be done, it was.
Mr. Lubin was also a devoted family man. We all have at some time heard of his company, many of us have enjoyed his products. He named his company for his daughter, because after all; Nobody doesn’t love Sarah Lee.
In this world where loyalty, honesty and keeping a promise means nothing, I am reminded of Mr. Lubin and his principals. An honest, hardworking man who built a multi-billion dollar business from something he loved to do. Mr. Lubin was a man who remained loyal to those who were with him from the earliest days, believing in him, in his product and his abilities. Loyalty was rewarded ten-fold.
My father spoke of Mr. Lubin with admiration and respect. I hope his story will empower you to take a look at where your loyalties lie, and create a better world, because you become a better person. Loyalty is a dying virtue. We can revive it by being loyal. I’m in…are you?

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Are Book Sales on the Decline?

I have a real job. Yes, believe it or not, I don’t just sit around all day living the lives of my imaginary people. Shocking, I know. Yes, I have an actual job where I leave home every morning to go work for someone else and I come home at the same time every night. I fight rush hour and have more than one boss. Do I want to write instead? Absolutely. I’d gladly trade my eight to five job for ten hours of sitting at my computer clicking away at the latest story. The problem, of course, is that I have bills to pay. Oh yes, and children. Lots and lots of children. They like to eat… and argue. So even if I didn’t have to feed them, the chances of me sitting at my computer and clicking away at keys for ten hours is simply never going to happen until they all move away.

 

I know there are lots of other people out there who have the same desire to get lost in a good novel whether they are writing it or reading it. No matter which end of the spectrum you are, I thought I would share the Association of America Publishers sales reports for the month of December. You can read the whole article here: http://www.publishers.org/Dec08stats.htm

 

Oh, did I mention that in my real job, I’m an accountant? I have this ‘thing’ for numbers…

 

Check out the increase in ebook sales compared to the changes in the other categories. So what does this really mean?

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tina Jordan
212/255-0200 ext. 263
tjordan@publishers.org

AAP Reports Publishing Sales for Month of December

February 12, 2009, New York, NY: Book sales tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for the month of December increased by 9.7 percent at $1.5 billion but were down by 2.4 percent for the year.

The Adult Hardcover category was down by 10.3 percent in December with sales of $113.3 million; year-to-date sales were down by 13.0 percent.

Adult Paperback sales increased 12.5 percent for the month ($132.8 million) and increased by 3.6 percent for the year.

The Adult Mass Market category was down 8.3 percent for December with sales totaling $73.7 million; sales were also down by 3.0 percent year-to-date.

The Children’s/YA Hardcover category jumped up 124.6 percent for the month with sales of $115.1 million, although sales for year-to-date were down by 12.4 percent.

The Children’s/YA Paperback category was also up by 37.0 percent in December with sales totaling $54.4 million; sales increased by 6.4 percent for the year.

Audio Book sales posted a decrease of 11.7 percent in December with sales totaling $10.5 million; sales for the whole year were down by 21.0 percent.

E-books sales jumped up by 119.9 percent for the month ($6.5 million), reflecting an increase of 68.4 percent for the year.

Religious Books saw an increase of 3.5 percent for the month with sales totaling $49.3 million; sales were down by 7.6 percent for the year.

Sales of University Press Hardcover books were up 5.4 percent in December with sales of $7.1 million; sales decreased by 7.9 percent for the year. University Press Paperback sales posted a decrease of 3.8 percent for the month with sales totaling $9.7 million; sales were down 8.2 percent for the year.Sales in the Professional and Scholarly category were up by 11.4 percent in December ($110.3 million) and decreased by 0.5 percent for the year.

Higher Education publishing sales posted an increase of 5.6 percent for the month ($814.7 million) and increased 2.7 percent for the year.Finally, the net El-Hi (elementary/high school) basal and supplemental K-12 category posted a decrease of 14.4 percent in December with sales of $127.2 million; the category was down by 4.4 percent for the year.

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’smore than300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies—small and large. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services. The protection of intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of the freedom to read and the freedom to publish at home and abroad, and the promotion of reading and literacy are among the Association’s highest priorities.

NOTE: All sales figures cited in this release are domestic net sales

 

Claire Collins is the author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny

 www.secondwindpublishing.com

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