Apropos of my Still Dreaming of Landing That Big Book Contract? is this, from the Association of American Publishers:
All major adult print segments—hardcover, paperback and mass market—showed a decline in sales in May, according to the AAP’s monthly sales report. While e-books showed a steep uptick of 146.9% for the month, bringing in $73.4 million in sales, adult hardcovers dropped 38.2%, adult paperbacks dropped 14.3%, and adult mass market fell 39.4%. For the calendar year, e-books brought in $389.7 million in sales, a 160.1% climb over the same period 2010.
To be clear: I take zero pleasure in the Titanicking of traditional book publishing. (Though I do like the way, what with book editors being hustled off stage and all, that we’re finally free to make up our own words.) How could I, when I’ve invested my whole life in getting well published? And I’m finally in the position to do just that: I have two top-tier agents (Deborah Schneider for the mainstream book market; Kathy Helmers for the Christian). Rob Bell’s editor at HarperOne — the most prestigious house in the world for exactly the kind of stuff I write — reached out to me to see if I was working on anything he might like to publish. (In a word: hell, yes, I was/am.) I was largely responsible for what may be book publishing’s last ever seven-figure deal.
I am in, baby. I finally got my linen, embossed invitation to the party. And just as I show up at the front door, tux and all, the party starts shutting down so fast caterers are asking me to help them load tables back into their trucks. It’s unbelievable.
So, trust me: I get no pleasure out of what’s happening to the book industry. It’s caused me some real and prolonged depression. I really have spent my life getting to a place that no longer exists.
On the other hand, I’m almost beside myself with excitement over what’s happening in publishing. It affords historically phenomenal opportunities for writers like me.
Anyway, we can talk about all of this any time anyone cares to. I just wanted you to know that I’m not cackling over what’s happening to book publishing, or anything like that. I’m basically just trying to alert my friends out there whom I know have aspirations to be a “published” author. I just want them to know — and I mean to really understand — that the word “published” doesn’t mean what it used to, at all.
(I certainly haven’t forgotten Your Inner Loser. I’ll be continuing that next time.)