Saturday, March 21, 2009

Meeting with grownups

News for the last part of the week...

Mercedes Yardley talked me into going to the Las Vegas Writers Meetup, and I'm glad she did. 15 time bestselling author, very nice guy, (and, apparently, also a Las Vegan) Stephen Coontz was cool enough to come out and pitch his new project, Arctic Gold, give out free books, and provide his insight from a few decades of professional writing. Synopsis of his speech:
  • Paperbacks are dead; they have always been loss-leaders for bookstores and newspaper shops, but with newspapers going online, there is nothing left to lead. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.
  • Ebooks are the new black. No surprise there. But...
  • Hardcovers, he thinks, will make a resurgence. They've always been more profitable than paperbacks; not sure what that means for the longevity of a given novel...maybe more printings in hardcover, instead of selling the paperback rights? Or ebooks become the new paperbacks?
  • Audiobooks are a profit engine right now, and are going nowhere but up. That explains the brouhaha between the Writer's Guild and Amazon over text-so-speech rights. Doesn't justify it, but it does add color.
  • His crystal ball tells him that people are still reading, contrary to what the Endowment for the Arts says. 
  • Co-authored books are becoming more popular; I asked him why, and he said that the money generated by his name, coupled with the heavy lifting done by a no-name writer, is more than the amount of money they would have made writing two separate books. Who knew.
Also, I was able to meet the very friendly and very tall Mercedes in person, along with her friend Coffee, and a few other folks with whom I shared a table. We discussed the ramifications of a house being haunted by lolcats and people who can only write bloody warnings on the wall in texting shorthand (i.e., U R DED LOL!!!). And, as a bonus, I answered a quiz question correctly, and won an audiobook: Ted Dekker's Boneman's Daughter which, apparently, hasn't even been released to Amazon yet.
Writing: I'm approaching that 25k point on Aquarium where I tend to get stuck on novels (this will be my third to pass 20k to-date) far it's going well. I'm making an effort to think forward in the story and do mental outlines every day before I type to make sure I don't back myself into a corner. Ended tonight at 1400 words, and just wrapped up chapter 7.

Reading: I took Natalie's advice, and jumped from Gilead to a small market antho: Subterranean's Tales of Dark Fantasy. Got through one story so far, a good short by Poppy Z. Brite. Also, almost done with disk 1 of Boneman's Daughter. Iffy so far...not something I would go out of my way to read, but there are some good parts...and, to Jamie Eyberg's point, it helps me expand my literary (read: popular fiction) horizons.

Watching: just finished In the Heat of the Night. Good flick, actually holds well the 30-some year chasm since it was released (except the funky-ass music). 

Quarter to midnight. Time for beddie bye.


Cate Gardner said...

But I love paperbacks. Hardbacks are so, well, heavy.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I try not to buy paperbacks if I can help it but I do buy them if that is my only choice. It is interesting they are a loss leader, I considered them a, low profit, bread and butter. I guess you learn something new everyday.

Jameson T. Caine said...

Paperbacks are like my version of crack.

Robert said...

Paperbacks are loss-leaders because a) they make a small profit, and b) nobody gets money back on them. If bookstores can't sell them, they tear the covers off and basically throw them away (I forget whether they can get some credit back from the publishers or not). Unlike hardcovers, which can be remaindered for five bucks on that big table at every Barnes & Noble in the country.

Something else making a push now, I believe, are trade paperbacks. These are usually for literary books, however, but still ...

Coontz sounds like a cool guy, Jeremy. Thanks for sharing.

Fox Lee said...

That's right, lure them onto my blog. Thus, my dream of having the song "If You Were Gay" stuck in everyone's head will come to glorious fruition!

Then I suppose I'll take over the world or something, though I doubt I'll have the energy.

K.C. Shaw said...

The meet-up sounds interesting. I'm not sure I agree with the paperbacks are dead/hardbacks are the future thing. That's not what I've been hearing. Then again, what do I know? I think it's the returns policy that's killing the publishing industry, but maybe that's what he meant.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you could come! It was a great meeting. And I warned you before I stood up. I'm only 5'9" without the four inch heels.

Ghosts can has flavor, too!