Scalzi's New Deal...

ratsy

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I would say that 80,000 copies in seven months for a genre fiction book sounds quite good, and as Nerds illustrated, the numbers make total sense. Again, he indicated he was making around half a million a year these days, so how much is the publisher making off each book still? I'm guessing quite a bit, especially since he is constantly gaining new fans, like me who are buying all of his catalouge.

I'm not sure who we are comparing him against to think those are not great sales figures. I think most authors would be happy to sell that many books over the course of their lives.
 

chopper

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Without any real specifics we really can't say anything for sure.
plenty of specifics in the blog post. though if you mean my not naming names, those authors haven't asked to be included in this argument.
ratsy, i remembered this particular deal last night for comparison, & that was back in '09!

by the way, Jaime, Redshirts was his "last prominent book"? what about The Human Division and Lock-In?
 

chopper

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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

.....

Let me repeat that: before the release of the paperback.
i'm going to assume that's why Tor are so happy to issue such a lengthy contract.
 

JaimeRetief

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There actually doesn't seem to be a counter argument here, aside from "I didn't like the book so..."

...which, of course, is a non-argument. I didn't like Interstellar, yet it still managed to make $665,417,888 wordwide.

So yeah.
One, the figure was for 8 months, not 7, two, 8 months is more like 70% of a year.
Three, I dothink the sales data from the redshirts blogpost mentioned paperback sales.
Four, who actually reads paperbacks these days, most of the "low end" sales are digital.
Five, I doubt that books sell that many copies after the first several months of their release, again I am comparing books and movies here, on the basis of what I have seen at sites like box office mojo, movies usually make one third of revenue in the first week or two of theatrical release, I doubt that books are that different.
Six, as stated before, I wish to see a comparison between Scalzi and the authors on various bestseller lists to put things in actual perspective.
 

Ursa major

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One, the figure was for 8 months, not 7, two, 8 months is more like 70% of a year.
It's 61%** of the year (in terms of days), as I posted earlier. Even in terms of months, it's less than 7.5*** months, so normal rounding rules would give seven months, not eight.


** - 223 days (inclusive) divided by 365 (no leap year involved) gives 61.09589041%.

*** - Seven months, 9 days.
 
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Ursa major

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Three, I dothink the sales data from the redshirts blogpost mentioned paperback sales.
On the assumption that you mean "don't think", the blog didn't mention them because the post was specifically showing the sales figures for the time when only the hardback and ebook versions were available. (It was posted just two days after the end of hardback, and the beginning of paperback, sales.)
Four, who actually reads paperbacks these days, most of the "low end" sales are digital.
I do. (I do both: if I see a book I like the look of when I'm in a bookshop, I buy that. If I'm at home at the time, I buy the kindle version.)
Five, I doubt that books sell that many copies after the first several months of their release, again I am comparing books and movies here, on the basis of what I have seen at sites like box office mojo, movies usually make one third of revenue in the first week or two of theatrical release, I doubt that books are that different.
I'm not sure you're giving the complete picture (pun intended) even for films, given the huge sales there at least used to be (before gross pirating) of DVDs. And films tend to be watched in their first few weeks because they're usually not on show on the main screens for very long.

Books are very different. Look at the sales of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons: they only really took off after the success of The Da Vinci Code**.
Six, as stated before, I wish to see a comparison between Scalzi and the authors on various bestseller lists to put things in actual perspective.
As has been pointed out a number of times already, it matters not two hoots whether Scalzi is a best seller in the mould of James Paterson or GRRM (whose own sales have been boosted decades after some of them were first published because of HBO's Game of Thrones); the point is that he is a solid good seller and has made To a lot of money; and he and Tor both hope to make a lot more form the thirteen books that make up the deal.

(By the way, what happened to your Point Two?)


** - From Wiki:
Brown's first three novels had little success, with fewer than 10,000 copies in each of their first printings. His fourth novel, The Da Vinci Code, became a bestseller, going to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list during its first week of release in 2003. It is now credited with being one of the most popular books of all time, with 81 million copies sold worldwide as of 2009. Its success has helped push sales of Brown's earlier books. In 2004 all four of his novels were on the New York Times list in the same week, and in 2005 he made Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the year. Forbes magazine placed Brown at No. 12 on their 2005 "Celebrity 100" list, and estimated his annual income at US$76.5 million. The Times estimated his income from Da Vinci Code sales as $250 million.
 

chopper

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Six, as stated before, I wish to see a comparison between Scalzi and the authors on various bestseller lists to put things in actual perspective.
so... who, for example? if we accept that SF as a specific genre doesn't make the broader Top 10 bestseller lists on a regular basis unless your name is GRRM, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb - and all of those being fantasy more than SF - then surely a comparison against true airport-style large-type thriller writers isn't going to prove anything. unless, of course, the point is that the comparison must be unfavourable to Scalzi. that's kinda zero-summing the argument, when in actual fact the deal between Tor and Scalzi actually benefits everybody - the two parties themselves, their representatives, readers, and other authors too. because as someone else pointed out somewhere (and if i could remember where i'd link to it) if Tor makes the money they are expecting to make off the back of this deal, they will have more money to invest in midlist and debut authors. it's not taking any money off anybody else.

who actually reads paperbacks
facts and stats, please? or is that opinion?
movies usually make one third of revenue in the first week or two of theatrical release, I doubt that books are that different.
no, they are very different. a lot of word-of-mouth happens for books after they are released. The Miniaturist, for example. or Assassin's Apprentice. or The Martian.
 

Hex

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Don't know exactly how relevant this is to the discussion but here's a blog post suggesting that you can get into the NYT best-seller list by selling c. 5,000 copies in a week.

(depending on the time of year and where things sell etc)
 

Brian G Turner

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Scalzi's sales stats are impressive, and a welcome window on what the best selling novelists can generate. IIRC, in the UK, a debut science fiction writer would be looking at a first print run of around 1,000+ books for the opening year, with fantasy as around 3,000-5000.
 

chopper

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and here's a new interview in the Washington Post that just popped up in my feeds. quoted for relevance.

I think the real advantage to this is to some extent we can let the books find their audience. We don’t have to worry necessarily about hitting the New York Times bestseller list with every single outing. Some of my most successful books have never been anywhere near a New York Times bestseller list. “Old Man’s War” has never been on the New York Times bestseller list or the USA Today bestseller list. All it does is week in, week out, year in, year out, sell tons of books. And so the thing is to some extent, the performance anxiety that you have to go out and you have to immediately hit it big is alleviated. … But quite frankly, because we are looking at this thing as a long-term project, and that we are assuming that backlist is going to be a significant reason for this contract in the first place, it really does mean that we have flexibility. …
 

JaimeRetief

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Scalzi's sales stats are impressive, and a welcome window on what the best selling novelists can generate. IIRC, in the UK, a debut science fiction writer would be looking at a first print run of around 1,000+ books for the opening year, with fantasy as around 3,000-5000.
With all due respect, the UK is just one third of the size of the US market, and then there is the fact that Scalzi is internationally known.
Again, these sales are impressive in relation to what, how many books does Baxter sell?
How many books did Pratchett sell when he was still with us?
Bestseller lists are a more objective way to measure the popularity of certain writers' books with the reading public, and Scalzi is not very prominent among those, as evidenced by his own comments in the press quoted here.
Then there is the actual quality of his writing, which is dubious at best.
Honestly, I do not see him is a great investment, or think that such a long contract is warranted.
 

chopper

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Bestseller lists are a more objective way to measure the popularity of certain writers' books with the reading public
only those writers on those bestseller lists, however.

as you may have already noted from the links i posted last night, Bookscan & Neilsen (who collate the numbers that the industry itself uses) do not take into account e-sales or audiobooks (or at least they did not when that post went up in 2013.)

and if 5000 hypothetical sales got you to #9 for a week on a bestseller list, before vanishing entirely from view (the Iron Maiden singles chart method), wouldn't it be far more profitable to have 800 sales a week every week across multiple platforms and formats? you may not be in a bestseller list, but imagine the positive word-of-mouth that you must be getting to sell 800 copies of a book a week, every week.
 

Ursa major

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Honestly, I do not see him is a great investment, or think that such a long contract is warranted.
I hope, for your employer's sake, that you don't work for the marketing or commercial arm of a publisher of SFF.

And it isn't as if Tor has to pay Scalzi the full amount if he doesn't end up writing all thirteen books: if he dries up, so do Tor's contractual obligations to pay for those non-existent books.
 

Nerds_feather

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One, the figure was for 8 months, not 7, two, 8 months is more like 70% of a year.
Three, I dothink the sales data from the redshirts blogpost mentioned paperback sales.
Four, who actually reads paperbacks these days, most of the "low end" sales are digital.
Five, I doubt that books sell that many copies after the first several months of their release, again I am comparing books and movies here, on the basis of what I have seen at sites like box office mojo, movies usually make one third of revenue in the first week or two of theatrical release, I doubt that books are that different.
Six, as stated before, I wish to see a comparison between Scalzi and the authors on various bestseller lists to put things in actual perspective.
This is non-support for your non-argument. But I'm sure you know that.
 

JaimeRetief

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only those writers on those bestseller lists, however.

as you may have already noted from the links i posted last night, Bookscan & Neilsen (who collate the numbers that the industry itself uses) do not take into account e-sales or audiobooks (or at least they did not when that post went up in 2013.)

and if 5000 hypothetical sales got you to #9 for a week on a bestseller list, before vanishing entirely from view (the Iron Maiden singles chart method), wouldn't it be far more profitable to have 800 sales a week every week across multiple platforms and formats? you may not be in a bestseller list, but imagine the positive word-of-mouth that you must be getting to sell 800 copies of a book a week, every week.
If the Amazon numbers I posted are anything to go by I'd wager that the e-book sales for genre fiction are better than the paperback or hardcover sales.
Truth be told, I think that the paperback is dying, hardcover books have more gravitas, they are as much an item of some sentimental value as they are books, e-books on the other hand are quick and dirty, cheaper, but likely note lucrative since they buyer can't resell them.
The 5000 in sales also sounds quite inconclusive and circumstantial.
As to book recommendations, I do believe that the various recommendation and review sites are gaining more and more traction with readers, like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.
I do not think that selling books is all that different from selling movies as some posters here try to make it to be.
 

Ray McCarthy

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I think that the paperback is dying, hardcover books have more gravitas,
The supermarkets have loads of best seller books. I've never seen them sell hardbacks recently other than for perhaps less than four year olds.

Unless they sold the Lemony Snicket books? But I don't remember seeing those in HB outside a bookshop. Now about six years later they are in paperback. But they are hardly titles with gravitas.
 

Nerds_feather

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Fans of print books, who have long lived in fear that their neighborhood bookstore will be rendered obsolete by the ubiquity of ebooks in a matter of years, can take comfort in new numbers from Nielsen Books & Consumer showing that ebooks were outsold by both hardcovers and paperbacks in the first half of 2014.
According to Nielsen’s survey, ebooks constituted only 23 percent of unit sales for the first six months of the year, while hardcovers made up 25 percent and paperback 42 percent of sales. In other words, not only did overall print book sales, at 67 percent of the market, outpace ebook sales, both hardcovers and paperbacks individually outsold ebooks.
Source.
 
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