Our client Jim Hines has been surveying authors on how they sold their first novels, and he's put out his first set of results here. There are two main takeaways. First, the odds of your novel being the next Eragon are not very big. Self-publishing your way to a major publishing house is far and away the least likely route to success. This is one of those myth paths that will never go away because we'll always hear about the Eragon story, but we hear about them because they do't happen very often so it's newsworthy-ish the rare times it does happen. Jim also says "totally busted" on the idea that you have to sell short fiction before selling a novel, which I've known and said for 20 years. The split is 50/50 or so on the JABberwocky client list. But this myth will never die. It will be alive and well in some back corner of the room at the meal after my funeral. But I'll say it again: if you want to write a novel, write a novel. If you want to write a short story, write a short story. Do not feel in any way, shape, manner, or form that writing short stories is some kind of necessary apprenticeship to writing and selling a novel.
VOYA and Teaching Librarian are the latest old-line review publications to change hands.
On the e-reader front, the Alex Reader from Spring Design, which is similar enough to the Nook that Spring Design, which had consulted with B&N and then sued B&N, is now taking advance orders. The Plastic Logic Que reader announced this week that it would be delayed in getting to market. One stays, the other goes...
We at JABberwocky met this week with Steve Saffel, an experienced hand in sf/fantasy (w/ Del Rey) and graphic (w/Marvel) publishing who is now working for Titan, a British company with operations in both areas which seems like an excellent fit. Steve is very excited about the e-book thing. He feels it gives us the opportunity to sell way more books to casual, infrequent, maybe even heretofore nonexistent, book buyers, especially because of the ability for people to buy a book instantly when it comes to them virally. i.e., your friend says "you've got to try this," and you can try it in a minute from wherever you are in the world, you're a lot more likely to try it. I don't know if he's right or wrong, only time will tell us that. I do know publishing is inherently gloomy in its prognostication. I've been in the business 25 years, it's been dying for that entire time, and it's many years ago that I started telling people that if that's what it was really doing it would need to have actually died by now. It's therefore unusual enough to here his optimism on e-books that I thought it would be nice to offer a tiding of joy to tide you over from the Ides of March to St. Patrick's Day.