It’s the rare book that is in more than one format at a time (not counting audio, large print etc.) so this gamble by Bantam Dell sounds on the surface to be a bit risky. But perhaps not. The logic has been that some people want to purchase a book at the lowest price while others want something more respectable or enduring on their shelves, or perhaps with slightly larger print. The price and quality gulf between mass markets and hard covers is huge, but not nearly as much between mass markets and trade paperbacks. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. For authors, it means two simultaneous royalty streams – 8% on $7.99 on the mass market and 7.5% – 8% on maybe $12.95 for the trade paperback. My publisher (speaking with my author hat on) Pocket Books of S&S, were the pioneers I believe of the split the difference approach with the premium mass market. These are taller than normal mass markets with heftier prices – $9.99. Publishing is roundly criticized for being resistant to change, so this experiment is noteworthy if for no other reason than they’re trying something different.
It’s a rainy evening here in the Big Apple so I figured I’d stay in and indulge in a little online narcissism and look up my name on the internet. In addition to apparently being an actor of questionable talent in the Fantastic Four movie franchise I discovered I’ve provided amusement with my recent book deal in an overview of the SF&F publishing genre here.
The article provides a lot of details that you may find interesting:
* There is a huge audience for “immersive” works of epic fantasy
* More and more SF/Fantasy titles are being released as original hardcovers
* Trend is away from mass market editions (and toward trade paperbacks)
* Fantasy outsells SF
* SF is a very conservative genre
* Romantic fantasies and other cross-genres are hot
* “Space operas” (SF epics) are becoming increasingly popular
* Genre novels are becoming more “literary,” with covers to match
* Global warming is hot (pun intended)
* Smarter, more empowered (aggressive) females drive fantasy chic-lit
* More tie-ins with games than movies
* SF “trending younger” with urban fiction and Manga
* Fantasy becoming darker and increasingly enamored of vampires
* Military SF continues to be popular
I’ve handled hundreds of book contracts in my career as an editor, but today was the first time I received one as a writer. It looks just like all the others except for one important difference, this one has my name on it. I thought I’d be blase about it, but you know, I couldn’t stop grinning as I read through all seventeen pages of it. What a neat feeling.
On the last page of each issue of Publishers Weekly is the Soapbox, a feature that allows anyone to write in with an observation about publishing. Inevitably the article ties in with an author’s book just going on sale (funny how that happens,) but there is usually a good insight thrown in on how to survive and thrive. I would recommend checking it out if you get the chance.
Editor stuff – Band of Sisters
The book continues to reorder and we’re now contemplating going back to press again. Kirsten has been working incredibly hard doing signings, interviews and other events which keep generating positive articles and overall awareness. I don’t know how well this translates for fiction, but Kirsten’s radio foray has paid huge dividends.
Author stuff – Iron Elves Series: A Darkness Forged in Fire
Originally, it was going to launch around the same time as another series giving Pocket a one-two punch next summer. The other series has been delayed, however, so Pocket’s foray into the SFF world will launch with mine. The result is my book will be getting a bigger push, just hopefully not off a tall cliff! They’re going to send me on a Canadian tour to take advantage of my foreign roots and fly me to the San Diego Comic Con next summer followed by a bit of a tour in California. I’ll also be attending Comic Con here in New York next April, but that’s just a short commute on the subway. Now if I can just talk them into doing a European leg…