Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Email, Blogs, Skype and Face-Time: We authors must talk among ourselves.

By Judith Yates Borger
I had my two best e-selling months ever in July and August. I suspect that was because there was a lot of non-epublicity, mostly TV and newspaper, about the launch of my second book in paper, Whose Hand? A Skeeter Hughes Mystery. In another post I'll talk about how I guess -- no one knows for sure -- that paper publicity can work for ebooks.

But for now let's discuss the Kriswrites blogger, who says paper authors who have been fairly successful in the last five to ten years did not do well at all in August. Kris writes a lengthy piece to explain that some authors are thinking hard about ending their writing careers because of the terrible state of paper publishing. Here's an excerpt:

"The editor must do her publisher’s bidding or lose her job. And eventually that wears the editor down. Either she doesn’t care any more or she gets angry at the writers (and their agents) who are the only people she can safely get angry at and still have a job.

But the editor can talk to her colleagues and realize that they’re going through the same tough times. The agents see this happening to client after client and know it has nothing to do with the agenting, so it must be the writers themselves.

But the writers—oh, the writers—they work alone. And often they have no one to talk to. Many writers don’t tell their writing colleagues because these writers don’t want to be perceived as failures. When the writers tell their fans that the next book in a series won’t appear, the fans blame the writer."

It's a fascinating piece and I recommend it. Kris makes two key points: Writers need to talk to each other, honestly, even if they work alone in coffee shops, the library or at home. Being alone doesn't have to be ALONE. There are emails, blogs even Skype and face-time. Writers just have to take advantage of the technology.

But not just in communicating among themselves. Epublishing, Kris points out, may be wrecking paper sales, but boy is it good for authors who embrace it.

Like I said, I had a great July and August.


  1. As a fellow crime writer, I thought you might like this humorous take on our trade.Only other crime writers can truly understand. The Best Way to Dump a Body:

  2. Congratulations, Judith, on great summer sales. I think all book sales, print and digital, will see some increase this fall/winter when the retail season kicks in. Meanwhile, communicating with each other about the financial details of the business is a new aspect for writers, but it is slowly becoming more accepted.

  3. As a person who pretty much wears her heart on her sleeve, I'm comfortable with the open discussions beginning to take place among writers. The willingness to talk about what works and what doesn't can really help an author who is experiencing disappointing sales—even more so when that author expresses a need. But we all need a soft place to land. A place where we feel safe and un-judged.

  4. Funny this post came up... I had a rough end of August. ROUGH. It started out great but literally hit a brick wall around August 15th.

    I was down on myself, wondering what the heck I could have done wrong. Worst yet, I felt alone.

    But this weekend I had the chance to speak with a well known indie thriller writer. She offered me to "pick her brain" and I did! By the end of the conversation, she was picking my brain, and we were brainstorming on the future... her projects, my projects, what works, what doesn't, etc.

    It was great to speak with someone who knew how I was feeling - and who knew what to say!


  5. The publishing industry is in such a state of flux and will continue to be for quite some time. As promotional responsibilities continue to fall more on the authors, I think we will all begin to see the benefits of keeping the information channels open among us, rather than closed. As they say, there is strength in numbers


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