Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Odds and ends

New site for young people

Inside a Dog is a new web site about books, aimed specifically at young people. You can read and write reviews, answer quizzes, read interviews, et cetera. Australian based but doubtless universal in appeal.

More misery

We noted a while back (in connection with Skye Rogers's book Drink Me) that the British bestseller list currently features a number of books in which children are revealed as having had a thoroughly miserable time through abuse of one sort or another. Now comes news of another book of the same type which will doubtless be heavily marketed.

Publishers Lunch reports that Duncan Fairhurst's Our Little Secret has been sold to Hodder & Stoughton for a sum in pounds which converts to over $400,000. Agent is David Riding at MBA Literary Agents. The (non-fiction)book tells the story of a young man who, having been subjected to abuse for many years by his father, eventually finds the courage to stand up and succeeds in getting his father jailed for rape and sexual abuse.

Well, somebody's buying these things.

John Sundman

Prompted by yesterday's Long Tail piece, John Sundman, also mentioned yesterday, writes to say that most of his sales come from (a) his website (b) personal appearances (at computer shows and similar), and (c) Amazon.

'Now that I have a third book coming out, demand is picking up for my first two again. One of the nice things about being your own publisher is that you can keep books available as long as you want. When Acts first came out and was getting a lot of notice in the geekoid world, I used to get a lot of individual orders from bookstores--sometimes fifty a month. That was gratifying, for it meant that the buyer had gone to a lot of trouble to seek out my book. But as I've said, "success" is a relative term. I'm not going to quit the day job anytime soon.'

The Long Tail revisited

Lots of comments appeared on yesterday's Long Tail piece, including an interesting one from Adam Powell, who has opened (with a friend) a bookshop specifically to deal in long-tail books. Take a look at their website.

Also on that subject, one of Andy Laties's comments reminds us of a statistic which I noticed last year, but don't think I ever mentioned here. It's a bit of a heart-stopper.

Jim King, senior v-p and general manager of Nielsen BookScan, noted that 93% of all ISBNs of books whose sales were tracked by the company during 2004 sold less than 1,000 units.... During 2004, 7% of ISBNs accounted for 87% of sales, prompting King to suggest that in 2004 the old 80/20 rule of 80% of sales coming from 20% of titles had become a 90/10 rule.
Now there, if you will forgive me for rubbing it in, is a statement which surely deserves to be printed out in large letters and stuck on the wall all over the house. It will console you when things go wrong, either when your book is rejected or it appears and 'doesn't do very well'.


Crumbs. And if that's true in the US market....

Lynne Scanlon interviews Ron Hogan

On the Publishing Contrarian (30 April), Lynne Scanlon talks to Ron Hogan, who is one half of Galleycat, a book blog which, as I remarked a while back, is now essential reading if you want to keep up with the US publishing scene.

1 comment:

John Sundman said...

"Fewer than"!

Lordy, what has become of the King's English?

(This battle has nearly been lost in the USA, by the way. I saw on the net a photo taken at a supermarket checkout: one lane had a sign that read "fewer than 10 items" and the other said "less than 10 items". You can guess which of them had been placed more recently. Although here on literate Martha's Vineyard, at Cronig's Market, anyway, the rigteous are making a last stand. When the sign for "Less than 10 Items" went up there was a popular outcry, and it now says "Fewer than 10 items".)