I read this morning that out of 1.2 million book published in 2007 only 25,000 sold more than 5000 copies.
200,00 sold less than 1000 copies and 950 000 sold fewer than 99 copies.
In the UK the average salary of a writer is £4000.

I just wondered how many crime spacers knew these ststs when they started out and if they would have bothered had they known?
HB x

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Maybe this should be a separate discussion, but how come no one ever mentions how much fun it is? We hear about compulsions, obsessions, "I must write the way I must breathe." It's a blast. You make stuff up, create entire worlds of people and events, mold and shape them however you want. Getting paid is the gravy, not the meal.
Yeah, between this and the, "Are webzines worthwhile," thead things are getting mighty dismal around here. We should talk about the positives once in a while.

Declan Burke interviewed me for his blog Crime Always Pays a while ago and one of the questions he asked was what's the best/worse thing about writing and I answered:

"The best thing is when a scene is really working, when all the parts come together and it reads exactly like I want it to. The worst part is when a scene isn’t working."

For me that's really true, when I write a scene that comes together the way I want it to, I'm in a good mood for days.
Just wondering here--would anyone know if books used to be promoted differently than they are now?
What I mean is, years ago--did publishing houses have a specified budget wherein they actively promoted and advertised books?
Can't answer that, but we have a very different world now where books compete with other forms of entertainment, and those other forms (which generally require less input from the audience) are very heavily advertised in media that now preoccupy our every waking moment and keep us from thinking about books or talking about them to our friends. It's got a lot tougher to sell a book. It is true that some books are promoted when most are not.

Back to dismal stuff. Sorry. There are other dismal matters to consider, but I won't trouble you.
Ooh, come on IJ , I'm dressed in black today.
HB x
Where would crime fiction be without dismal matters?
thanks I.J. what other dismal matters?! Come on, it's Friday!
You made me laugh. You have to be able to laugh in this business.
My problem is that I'm an instinctive "fixer." Show me a problem and I'm trying to fix it. I just read a blog where an editor talks about the fact that too many books are being published, and editors are expected to handle too many authors in order to be useful to the publisher, that therefore they don't edit (assuring their authors instead that their books are already brilliant), and that the acquisitions are tossed out there to sink or swim without care or promotion.
At the sales end, bookstores are swamped and make shelf space available only to guaranteed best sellers (or any titles the publisher will pay to display), returning everything else. And the publishers end up buying back and pulping the print runs of most releases. Clearly that's a lousy way to do business. So, publish fewer books and take better care of them!

The other "dismal matter" is the state of education. Most fiction readers belong to the "dying generation." The younger readers don't take the time to read a novel for pleasure. They like short books with pictures and practical advice on matters that concern them. Don't know how to fix that, but we could try turning off the T.V. for a part of each day.
With all the sales of Harry Potter, clearly there are still kids reading. The thing is, by the time they get to high school, they are turned off because they end up reading so much that they find to be dreck. Personal opinion, yes, but seriously, most high school kids, espeically those in this overstimulated media-crazed world are not interested in the literary merits of Romeo and Juliet or The Great Gatsby or others.

And if you have a kid read a FUN book, he might just learn that books can be fun. I teach Raymond Chander's Lady in the Lake and every time I do, EVERY SINGLE ONE of my students says that it was a good book. And I have trouble with kids trying to borrow my classroom set so they can read ahead. These are alternative high school kids who, by and large, have hated school for a while. These kids are more than happy to say something sucks to see what sort of rise it gets from the teacher. (I'm no fun... I say, "at least you read it" =)

I think it's important to get the good, fun books into the hands of kids. Make reading more interesting. Sell to them in ways they understand-- like on TV. And if a book was advertised on TV, it would sell BIG TIME. I'm sure of that.

Why aren't books advertised on TV, anyway?
That's why video games are so popular. You get a story, plus it's a more active interactive experience than reading.
just got back from long holiday weekend here--I am so glad to get educated on the subject of publishing. I appreciate your explanation. And thanks for part one of dismal matter answers! As for part two: I agree about young people and their lack of reading--I have a feeling (not based on anything much) that the youngest readers do read their picture books, it's the older younger readers (if you know what I mean) who want short bursts of action in a novel and practical advice on matters that concern them. I see that as a huge problem (which is rather dismal)! What with ginormous tv screens and such--when are they going to read? so true i.j, and thanks.


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