Friday, January 27, 2006

A million little dollars

How about a quick P5 first:

(1) SUFFER IN SILENCE: 21,715 5
(3) GOLEM: 68,638 5
(4) CONVICTION: 83,777 6
(5) TECHNO-NOIR: 108,672 6


Okay, there is nothing little about a million dollars--even if it doesn't go as far as it used to.

However, it is extremely small if you split it up among the thousands of PublishAmerica authors.

Here is the latest from the PA management team (thanks to all those PA authors who passed this along to me):

"We have another milestone in our crosshairs: PublishAmerica is about to cross the "One Million Dollars Paid In Royalties" line. (Note: Why didn't they just wait until they had crossed the line to announce it??)

"Stop and imagine it for a moment: one million dollars that are finding their way to authors because others have decided to buy and read their books."

First of all, I don't know if crosshairs is as appropriate as short and curlies. One statistic curiously missing from the email is the number of authors in the PublishAmerica stable--which they never forget to mention. There can only be one reason for this: It makes division too easy.

$1,000,000 / 13,000 authors = $76.93 per author. But since they (like all publishers) probably have a handful of titles that comprise most of the sales, that is probably more like $10 per author--which when you factor in that it probably took a 1,000 hours to write the book in the first place, these authors have earned around one penny per hour for their labor.

Time to celebrate!

The real number worth noting is what PA has earned. Let's say the average price of a book is $20 (and I'm being conservative!) and the average royalty is $1.5 (again, conservative)--that means that PA has grossed around $18.5 million from these books. Not too shabby.

Though, sadly, not that great, either.

They would be much better off picking the top 50 - 100 books in their lineup--the ones that really standout--and starting a marketing department.

Of course, the email goes on to suggest authors buy their own books, blah, blah, blah--so nothing else new here. Like always.


Thanks for all the well wishes, everyone. They have made a huge difference. Also - I have a ton of new submissions from the interview on AbsoluteWrite, so give me some time to get through them all. I have over 500 new email waiting in my in box.

One other note: one more week delay in treasure. I'm just plain exhausted.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Final word on Frey . . .

Wow, even Oprah has seen the light, regretting her call to Larry King and admitting she has made a mistake.

Let's hope James Frey comes up with some good fiction. He, no doubt, would be able to produce it.

And, of course, the Times covers it here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

And you thought James Frey was a bogus writer!

Holy cow. James Frey looks like the most respected and truth-telling memoirist in history compared to this guy. If Nan Talese got duped by Frey, imagine how Anton Mueller (at Houghton Mifflin) must feel.

In this case, however, countless people told Mueller something was amiss in the memoir (or many things were amiss) and he chose to overlook them. From the LA Weekly article:

“I said, you’re going to pay for this later — this is not real,” Alexie says.

According to Alexie, however, Mueller was unmoved by their conversation. “Basically his attitude was that it’s a great book and the art is more important than the truth.”

And there is the rub. What is with Mueller's arrogance? (and Houghton Mifflin's for that matter, which was notified independently that the writing was full of untruths, yet they decided to publish anyway.) He's wrong. 100% wrong. If art is more important than truth then publish it as fiction. Everyone I know talks down about publishing: editors, agents, etc. Everyone says what a bunch of morons they are, and--even though I defend them--they tend to show us they are. Calling a book a memoir automatically instills a level of emotion that you must work ten times harder to acheive with fiction. And I am not saying I have mastered that, by any means--but at least I label my work as fiction and try.

The fiction market is far more difficult to enter than the narrative non-fiction market--and I know at least ten agents and ten editors who will back me up on this. That is why the Freys and the "Nasdijjs" enter the world of the memoir. Because the truth is neither of their books would have been published as fiction. I mean, even Houghton Mifflin realized the book would only work as a memoir. What does that tell you?

So, we have a new rule apparently: If you can't get published, go POD. Or write a bogus memoir.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Max exposed (to plug a book?)

In case you haven't heard, Mad Max has exposed himself. What--that's not right. Mad Max has exposed his identity.

So unless he calls his schlong identity--which might be a cool name, actually--I am in the clear.

Turns out our dear Max is actually Dan Conaway, Executive Editor over at the noble and highly-respected Penguin Putnam. What a coincidence. He has brought himself to light in order to plug a book (granted, one he discussed at length on his blog) that has just been released.

What a coincidence. Again.

Small publishing world we live in. Very, very small.

That said, Bowker says in passing that there are 85,000 publishers. Holy cow. I didn't know there were 85,000 authors. Kind of hard to imagine you can't get a book published somewhere, somehow. But we know the hard truth.

Almost home

Yes, I am almost home and a welcome site it will be! The folks who have come out to the tour are the best, but the constant changing of hotels? Argh.

Here's one more tidbit (among the thousands) of James Frey slammers. Now everyone at Hazelden is saying his depiction of the treatment is way off. See, that is what made it such a great memoir. Made.

In this case, the truth was not stranger than fiction.