Too Good Not to Share: On Being Skipped


Over at The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, blogger Andrew Wheeler writes about books being skipped, or passed over, by the major chains. Wheeler, a marketing manager for John Wiley & Sons with a long career in publishing (mostly in the science fiction arena), gives up some detailed numbers in this longish but extremely worthwhile post.

While it's a problem for the publisher to have books skipped, it's pretty much a disaster for the author. Sadly, I know this from my past writing life as historical romance author Gwyneth Atlee. Great reviews, endorsements, and awards notwithstanding, publishing, in the end, is a popularity contest. If your work isn't "popular" with your publisher (compared to other books on the list), with the chain's buyers, and ultimately with sufficient numbers of readers, you're going to end up experiencing a numbers "death spiral" that will eventually put you out of business.

So does that mean the end for you as a writer? It can -- or it may just be opportunity calling you to change and grow and reinvent yourself as a success. And you may be surprised to know that your "failures" give you a leg up -- as well as a depth of knowledge and experience -- that can serve you well.

So as the economy shrinks and the chains continue to face huge challenges, expect more books to be skipped and more authors to fall upon tough times. But don't count anybody out because people will always need stories to help them make sense of their world.

Comments

Suzan Harden said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzan Harden said…
Colleen, sometimes a bad thing leads to other great things. It's all in the perspective. If my husband and I hadn't both been laid off in 1992, we wouldn't have moved to the city where we met a little over a year later.

If Gwyneth Atlee hadn't died, Rita-nominated Colleen Thompson wouldn't have appeared.

(P.S. Nothing against Gwyneth, but I like Colleen's books a lot better.)

(P.S.S. I love it when I catch typos before the post becomes permanent.)
Thanks, Suzan. I learned a lot from Gwyneth, but I'm thrilled to be where I am now.

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