Scalzi's New Deal...

Nerds_feather

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I didn't love Redshirts, but it sold well, and the TV rights have since been acquired. And Scalzi is someone who not only earns out his advances, but sells incredibly well after the first printing--I understand that the Old Man's War series in particular acts as a sort of "gateway" series for a lot of new science fiction readers, and is one of the best sellers in Tor's back catalogue.

Tor is, in the end, making its decision based on considerations of revenue and profit, not on what snooty types on the internet (myself very much included) think about it. So that's what matters here.

(And, besides, SF/F publishers have and continue to publish much worse books than Redshirts. At least 80-90% of what they publish, I'd say--and that's spoken as someone who thought the book was pretty mediocre.)

(Plus the other five of Scalzi's books that I've read were all much better than Redshirts. Three were really good, IMO, and very accessible.)
 

JaimeRetief

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I didn't love Redshirts, but it sold well, and the TV rights have since been acquired. And Scalzi is someone who not only earns out his advances, but sells incredibly well after the first printing--I understand that the Old Man's War series in particular acts as a sort of "gateway" series for a lot of new science fiction readers, and is one of the best sellers in Tor's back catalogue.
Sold well, seriously?
 

chopper

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Here's the sales figures for Redshirts during its hardback run, with ebook and audio formats also included for that time period. bear in mind that this post is almost two and a half years old and that yes, Scalzi's backlist continues to sell. yes, there's a graph and statistics, and yes this is from the horse's mouth rather than a neutral third party. also interesting though is the paragraph where Scalzi indicates that Bookscan numbers doesn't always tell the whole story.

again, Redshirts for me wasn't all that, but it clearly did the job for many people.
 

JaimeRetief

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I've read Scalzi's blog on a few occasions, in my opinion he is something of a braggart, constantly in the need of validation, even if it is self-validation.
 

JaimeRetief

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So Redshirts did sell well (79,279 books in less than eight months)....
How does that work in perspective,I thought that you would need to sell at least 50 000 copies in a week to get in any US best-seller list for example?
 

Ursa major

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I have no idea, but it isn't really relevant, as MWagner merely claimed that it had sold well.

It looks like it had.
 

JaimeRetief

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I have no idea, but it isn't really relevant, as MWagner merely claimed that it had sold well.

It looks like it had.
I do not either, but if 50 000 copies a week is what you have to move just to get on the NY Times Bestseller list then those numbers sound quite modest by comparison.
Please keep in mind that the 50 thousand figure is something I read long ago, it might be a case of wrong information or bad memory.
 

Ursa major

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If you or I were to be selling 80,000 books in less than two thirds of a year, I wouldn't be calling those sales 'modest'.

You, obviously, hold yourself to higher standards.
 

JaimeRetief

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If you or I were to be selling 80,000 books in less than two thirds of a year, I wouldn't be calling those sales 'modest'.

You, obviously, hold yourself to higher standards.
Indeed, I really do not think that I denied that 80 000 books sold in about a year is bad achievement for a novice, can you point me to the post where you saw such a claim?

However we are talking about the "big fish" here, namely established writers that receive large advances and lucrative contracts, with existing fanbases of their own.
 

chopper

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yes, but surely the point would be whether *Tor* consider those numbers successful? (& as the signed contract shows, they do)

see also Scalzi's last point in the post:
Science fiction books often sell more in paperback. I won’t mind if that’s true here, too.
& as a "novice", i'd go wild for 80k sales in seven months (project upwards for your actual year, obviously).
 

Ursa major

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Indeed, I really do not think that I denied that 80 000 books sold in about a year is bad achievement for a novice, can you point me to the post where you saw such a claim?
Which would be relevant to this discussion how?

I didn't mention novices. Someone else must have.
 

JaimeRetief

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Which would be relevant to this discussion how?

I didn't mention novices. Someone else must have.
Oh, are you nd chopper per chance established science fiction writers with a dozen books behind you?
I certainly know I am not one.
 

chopper

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no, certainly not, chap, although as an organiser of events and a regular con-goer over the last few years, i do know more than a couple of established genre authors each with a dozen books behind them. without wishing to put words in their mouths, i think they would be more than satisfied with such sales numbers, particularly if they were in the position - as Scalzi himself was - where said book had already earned out its advance.
 

JaimeRetief

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no, certainly not, chap, although as an organiser of events and a regular con-goer over the last few years, i do know more than a couple of established genre authors each with a dozen books behind them. without wishing to put words in their mouths, i think they would be more than satisfied with such sales numbers, particularly if they were in the position - as Scalzi himself was - where said book had already earned out its advance.
Oh, I see.
Without any real specifics we really can't say anything for sure.
However I still wonder if 262 thousand per book is justified when you consider that the writer's last prominent book sold 80 thousand in about a year.
 

Ursa major

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Oh, are you nd chopper per chance established science fiction writers with a dozen books behind you?
I'm not.

But again, why is this relevant?
I still wonder if 262 thousand per book is justified when you consider that the writer's last prominent book sold 80 thousand in about a year.
Two points. Firstly, that's $262,000 per book over the whole period in which it's in print, not a year. I bought a copy of Old Man's War a few months back (26/02/2015, to be precise). It was first published in 2005, i.e. ten years ago. Second: in my calendar, a year is twelve months. The sales figures in question relate to less than eight months (61% of a year, to be more precise).
 
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Nerds_feather

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For the record,

26,604 X $25 (average price of a hardcover) = $665,100
17,008 X $20 (average price of new audiobook) = $340,160
35,667 X $10 (Average price of a new ebook) = $356,670

TOTAL: $1,345,420

Royalty rate estimate for veteran author: 12.5%
12.5% of $1,345,420 = $168,177.50
$168,177.50 = 64% of $262,000

Ursa mentioned that Redshirts sold 80,000 copies in its first year of sale--and actually it's in seven months, not a year. So in just seven months, Scalzi earned 64% of the per book advance in his new contract. Before the release of the paperback.

Let me repeat that: before the release of the paperback.
 
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