Author Topic: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough  (Read 10241 times)

Offline Nostrabuttus

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A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« on: February 22, 2016, 09:25:28 AM »
I have a friend who was published by Dutton years ago. His debut novel sold 80 thousand copies. He could not get another deal out of New York for his second book. Here is another more recent example of the difficulty proven authors are having in today's industry.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/feb/22/i-didnt-want-to-resort-to-self-publishing-but-its-an-exhilarating-change
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Offline 24_Stars

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Re: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 07:10:15 PM »
There are so many books out there, so many agencies, and so many authors getting published unfortunately.

Offline violet

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Re: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 07:49:23 PM »
Nostra, this seems...odd. The average debut sells about 10k, and they sold 8 times that. Anything is possible, of course, but it feels like there's a missing piece in all of this. I guess if the advance was astronomical, even low six-figures, then 80k might not be enough.

This business. *smh* No one wants to invest in the writer anymore. You're as good as your last book, and that's all.  :sad2:

Offline Nostrabuttus

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Re: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 09:00:08 AM »
Nostra, this seems...odd. The average debut sells about 10k, and they sold 8 times that. Anything is possible, of course, but it feels like there's a missing piece in all of this. I guess if the advance was astronomical, even low six-figures, then 80k might not be enough.

This business. *smh* No one wants to invest in the writer anymore. You're as good as your last book, and that's all.  :sad2:

He is not the only one. I know a woman who had three books published in chick-lit ten years ago. She has not had a book published since. Her first advanced royalty was $170,000. From what I have been told by literary agents and publishers I have met with, those days are pretty much over for unknown authors, unless they are celebrities in one form or another and have a large following. There are always acceptions, but more and more writers are chasing fewer and fewer acceptions every day.

One writer friend, who was unable to land an agent, went with a small publisher. Her book is a best-seller on Amazon and is going to be made into an hourly true crime show produced by Warner brothers.

This is why I tell writers, if what you are doing is not working, try something else. You have nothing to lose.

The author referred to above came to me for help. I recommended she try a small publisher I know well that does high quality work. She took my advice.

Going with a small publisher or self publishing is not giving up. It is called trying something different. A manuscript that resides in a computer, accessible only by the writer, generates zero revenue.


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Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2016, 09:58:34 AM »
Nostra, this seems...odd. The average debut sells about 10k, and they sold 8 times that. Anything is possible, of course, but it feels like there's a missing piece in all of this. I guess if the advance was astronomical, even low six-figures, then 80k might not be enough.

This business. *smh* No one wants to invest in the writer anymore. You're as good as your last book, and that's all.  :sad2:

Yeah I mean, even with a low 6 figure advance, 80K would probably earn them out (assuming it was hardcover)
So this strikes me as strange as well. Maybe there were some burned bridges along the way?
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Offline gckatz

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Re: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2016, 11:38:24 AM »
So...am I the only one who thinks the author in that article sounds kind of entitled? She assumes her second book deal will be a shoo-in and expects a publishing house editor to do the work to transform what she admits is an early attempt into a workable book. She refuses to work on a third book when the second one strikes out. Any number of things could have been wrong with that second book that made it unworkable from a publisher's perspective. So no, being published does not guarantee you a book deal for literally anything you write.

I also notice you giving examples of people who were published years ago in a completely different market. Is it possible they didn't get another deal because they were unable to adjust to the market as it is today?

Offline Curious Author

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Re: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2016, 05:35:14 PM »
Well, I agree with your title and believe that, yes, a proven track record is no longer enough. But I don't think it ever was. There are so many parts to being an author outside of writing the book. As a result, I agree that it does sound like there are some missing pieces here... was this person difficult to work with? Did the second book have too competitive a market and needed a better time to debut?

Offline longknife

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Re: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2016, 11:55:54 AM »
It's all a matter of $

Publishers don't want to take chances on something that might not make them money. That is why the huge number of celebrity books - most written "with" - meaning someone else does all the work and the celebrity gets the credit.

It ain't fair. But neither is life in general.
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Offline AshK

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Re: A Proven Track Record Is No Longer Enough
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 06:41:32 PM »
Quote
Going with a small publisher or self publishing is not giving up. It is called trying something different. A manuscript that resides in a computer, accessible only by the writer, generates zero revenue.


Yes, indeed. The industry is changing and it makes sense to do what is best for the book, not what you have come to believe is the best.
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