As I write this in early January, fourth quarter numbers for all big businesses are just starting to trickle in. The whining about 2016 has commenced, some of it justified, some of it not.
The numbers aren’t just in for the major publishers; the numbers are in for indie writers as well. And the writers who crunch numbers are having varied reactions, often depending on years of business expertise.
I have a hunch that when all of the numbers arrive toward the end of this month or so, we’ll find out that 2016 was truly a mixed bag….
I’m not here to discuss the merits or lack thereof of Booktrope or ARe. I did that in other posts. What I need to discuss here is the future.
You see, these closures were right on time. And several other closures will follow in the next few years.
Some of the upcoming closures will be predictable. And others will catch us all by surprise.
Why am I saying this?
So, given that it will take a huge fight to get paid, assuming that ARe will be forced into bankruptcy, what do I advise? I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.
I am, however, a small business owner who has lost tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of dollars as an unsecured creditor when other companies have gone out of business.
I’ve been there, folks, and I’ve see what it does.
Here’s what I think you should do…
Found lots of great reading in December. Here’s what I really loved.
I was staring down the barrel of 2017, trying to figure out my writing projects. And I realized on Tuesday that the reason I couldn’t just dive in on Monday was because I hadn’t…oh, crap…defined myself.
I had defined myself in general. That’s easy. I’m a writer first, and to me, that means all the writerly things I do and have done from the old Star Wars book to new fiction I’m writing (from the romance short to the Diving universe to the historical mystery I just finished for the next Lawrence Block antho) to this blog and all the nonfiction.
But I somehow did not handle the specifics of being a writer very well in 2016.
I had to start analyzing why I couldn’t pull the trigger on a Patreon account.
It came back to what I could comfortably ask for–and what I wanted the account for. Searching other people’s Patreons only confused me. Everyone had great ideas and did great things, but I couldn’t see myself doing things like that for long. Or if I did, I could see those things consuming me and my time…
In talking to hybrid writers, I did miss something. It only concerned a handful of writers, and most of them only wrote one series. These writers would email me after they had indie-released a new book or two in their existing series, and complain that the series wasn’t growing.
When these writers were traditionally published, the series grew well. Each book sold better than the last. Now, even taking into account the year or so of sales, the books sold at the same number of copies or less than the previous volumes had.
I couldn’t figure it out…
Here’s the heartbreaking part of this new world. Many long-time writers, who want to go full indie, are abandoning their series rather than put money into their traditional publishers’ pocket. The first time I heard a writer say he was going to do that, I was shocked.
The title of this blog is things I learned from my readers. The pieces below link to comments or websites.
The main thing I learned from you folks over the course of writing the contract series is this: Not only do you pay attention, but you use this information. Almost daily now, I get letters from a writer who used some piece of the contracts blog to negotiate a better deal or to get their rights reverted or to handle a foreign rights contract.
I generally post my recommended reading list a month or three after I’ve done the reading. Which means that all of the holiday stories that I read get recommended in January or February. In 2011, I decided to do a compilation of past holiday recommends so that you can get them for the appropriate season. (Please note: the stories might have shown up in other collections. I haven’t gone searching, but you might want to.)