Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dispelling The Myths

Myth: "Once I sell a book I'll have it made…money will just roll in!"

Truth: I get this attitude from people a lot. A woman contacted me this past week asking me questions on publishing. She had this idea (a good one) for a non-fiction series but she'd made all her plans based on the first one gaining her enough money for her husband to quit work and them and their family travel around the US in a brand new RV. Mind you, she also expected this windfall to happen right now and huffed about the time it took publishers to go through manuscripts and time from acceptance to print.

Anyway, this woman fell under the common misconception that simply writing a novel and getting it published is cause for millions of dollars of royalties to flow your way. I can understand where they get this idea -- Hollywood promotes it and there are those 'over night' wonders that manage to hit on the right idea at the right time and make it big. But remember, Hollywood films are fiction just like any horror story (only scarier in how they function…) and while becoming an overnight success is possible, banking on it is like putting stock in winning 30 million in the next lottery game. More than a little unrealistic.

Here are the facts --

As a new author very few people, if anyone, will know your name. Therefore there aren't going to be swarms of people clamoring for stores to carry your book.

Booksellers are in business for themselves -- that is to make a profit. They will only carry titles that they feel certain will sell and thus give them that profit.

That taken into account and given that the average bookstore has limited shelf space and hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from -- take your own guess at how likely it is they'll order a book from an author they know nothing of when they can have almost guaranteed sales by stocking the 'big names'.

Given the stats that only 2% of titles sell over 5,000 copies and your average royalty is 5%…I think you'll see how this idea of publishing a book equating to instant millionaire is way off.

Don't get me wrong, a writer should want to make a profit, as much as they can in fact, just like any other professional. However, if you're writing ONLY for the money thinking that it's an easy buck -- go try something else. Play the stocks, play the lottery and you'll have better chances with a lot less work.

About the author -

Raven Bower is the author of the upcoming horror / suspense novel, Apparitions (ArcheBooks March 2007)

Apparitions Blog

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh yes, the myths about writers. Now those are thirteen in a dozen, like the feathers of birds and as thick as my pea soup.

You get the point.

When people hear that I'm writer, the first question they usually ask is - "Does it pay well?", and I always reply the same. "Nobody who's really good at it is in for just the money..." Even though, like all professionals, writers should make profit, I doubt any of the greats today would say that they got started because it sounded like a good way to make a quick buck.

If someone's after easy money, the get-rich-schemes that one invents after liberal consumption of alcohol have a better chance of success and are often easier...

Or the myth about publishing - that publishing houses compete FOR writers to sign up with them, not the other way around. Heh, that is my favorite thus far from numerous myths... :D

To dispell most myths about this most strange and eerie profession ( to some ;) ), I'd like to remind people that writers, at the end of the day, still have to eat and sleep and put on their pants one leg at a time, just like everyone else.

Despite what me would want... we're after all, only human.


Mon Nov 06, 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Raven Bower said...


They're forgetting obviously that only 1% of new writers get published each year. Give or take .5% in low or high years respectively.

And when you're dealing with the smaller genre markets -- horror, fantasy etc. you may as well drop that rate to .5%

Heck, I just dropped a ton of money at Staples today for the supplies to help promote my novel, Apparitions. And it's not even out yet! And I'm not even done shopping for it yet...gah. Doing it in small chunks so hubby doesn't have a heart attack seeing the reciepts.

Mon Nov 06, 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Raven Bower said...

Uhmmm and Mark...

You're pea soup isn't's burnt into round pot shaped bricks...

Mon Nov 06, 11:31:00 AM  
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Sun Nov 12, 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Raven Bower said...


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Mon Nov 13, 10:07:00 AM  

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