Scalzi's New Deal...

JaimeRetief

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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.
Will you buy a paperback as a gift or as a keepsake for yourself?

I certainly would not, as I said, and as the survey I linked to shows, paperbacks are going the way of the dodo.
They are good impulse buys, but with physical bookstores closing in favor of internet ones their days are numbered.
 

Ursa major

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Will you buy a paperback as a gift or as a keepsake for yourself?
Regarding keepers -- I'm guessing buying physical books as presents is quite a small part of the market, except for children -- I only buy hardbacks when no other form is available. So my copy of A Dance with Dragons (which weighs far too much for my liking) is a hardback, as I bought it near enough the day it came out; my copies of the previous volumes in the series are paperbacks, including the two that between them contain A Storm of Swords. (This is much more based on considerations of usability than on price.)
 

Brian G Turner

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Will you buy a paperback as a gift or as a keepsake for yourself?

I certainly would not, as I said, and as the survey I linked to shows, paperbacks are going the way of the dodo.
They are good impulse buys, but with physical bookstores closing in favor of internet ones their days are numbered.
I get that you personally don't like Scalzi's books. Or that you prefer formats other than paperbacks. And that if you ran a publishing company, you wouldn't invest in authors with proven sales records. It's fine for you to hold those opinions.

But arguing that your personal preferences should serve as an objective standard to the publishing industry is simply disruptive to this thread - please stop. Scalzi sells, and will sell more - end of argument.
 

Ray McCarthy

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I buy books as presents. Whichever edition is cheapest, except for one son, who unlike everyone else I know likes HB editions. But sometimes he gets a paperback.
I don't think very many books are presents, book tokens would be more common as you need to know someone intimately to safely buy a book. It's nearly as bad as buying someone perfume (when you don't know what they use) or underwear.

I was shocked to discover that some people don't eat chocolate.

So of course I only buy people very close, whom I can unobtrusively check, that the book is safe to buy.

All retail, except food and maybe very large items, is under a lot of pressure from Online sales.
 

JaimeRetief

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I get that you personally don't like Scalzi's books. Or that you prefer formats other than paperbacks. And that if you ran a publishing company, you wouldn't invest in authors with proven sales records. It's fine for you to hold those opinions.

But arguing that your personal preferences should serve as an objective standard to the publishing industry is simply disruptive to this thread - please stop. Scalzi sells, and will sell more - end of argument.
Again Brian, with respect, sells well in comparison to who?

That has been my question from the start, if someone can actually answer that question I will be more than glad to shut up.
 

Brian G Turner

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sells well in comparison to who?
Someone who sells tens of thousands of books per month is considered successful in genre publishing - I've already mentioned figures for UK debuts.

I don't keep a file handy of everything I read on the industry, though, so I can only suggest you keep an eye out for such figures when and where they may actually be presented. Which is not going to be often, as authors and their publishers tend not to talk exact figures when it comes to book sales and advances.

One of the more interesting points for this discussion was actually raised in the Washington Post article - normally, authors are contracted for a few books at a time - often just one, or two (even in a trilogy), or a full trilogy - if lucky.

What we've seen with the Scalzi deal, and Alistair Reynold's 10 book deal a couple of years earlier, is a possible change in mindset - of publishers offering their more successful authors long and larger deals, where that author feels that they can easily deliver the volume of novels as required (Scalzi mention's in the WP interview how there is a lot of flexibility to allow for changes in story and scope, to react to changes in market conditions).

Of course, it all depends on the author being confident of being able to deliver both a number of different stories, and also within a reasonable time frame. JK Rowling and Steven Erikson were able to get deals for their full series - but AFAIK it's rare.
 

chopper

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i noted that Bookscan/Neilsen weren't tracking ebooks in 2013. Nerds' post quoted numbers from 2014. that sounds fair enough to me. you seemed to ignore the point about consistent sales vs peak & plummet bestseller listings though. you also ignored the point about Tor's investment being good for all of their authors, present and future. as i said earlier, this shouldn't be a zero-sum game. nobody has to lose so that someone else can win.
 

Ursa major

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Again Brian, with respect, sells well in comparison to who?
Not that your question has the least bit of relevance -- none of us here are the ones who've decided to offer Scalzi the contract, although I'd guess that just about all of us would have done so if we worked for Tor -- but the answer is: 'all but the tiniest fraction of published authors, whether in SFF or otherwise'.
 

Nerds_feather

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Also worth noting: after the 7-month period Scalzi details (and for the pedantic, June 4 to January 13 is a period of exactly 7 months and 11 days), Redshirts also:

Won the Hugo Award for Best Novel
Won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Came in #4 for the Goodreads Choice Awards for Science Fiction

Whether these awards actually reward quality is one thing. But they undoubtedly provide cachet--Hugo and Nebula awards are used as marketing tools for paperback sales, while the GR Choice Awards are thought to be among the awards that are most reflective of popular opinion.
 

JaimeRetief

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Also worth noting: after the 7-month period Scalzi details (and for the pedantic, June 4 to January 13 is a period of exactly 7 months and 11 days), Redshirts also:

Won the Hugo Award for Best Novel
Won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Came in #4 for the Goodreads Choice Awards for Science Fiction

Whether these awards actually reward quality is one thing. But they undoubtedly provide cachet--Hugo and Nebula awards are used as marketing tools for paperback sales, while the GR Choice Awards are thought to be among the awards that are most reflective of popular opinion.
The Hugos are a joke, as the Sad Puppies and the invasion voting of Potter fans showed that award is too easy to game with someone with even a small following and some internet clout.
The goodreads choice awards similarly are not that hard to game if your fan base is determined enough, and the actually gave 1st place to The Martian of all things.
Amazon sales rankings and bestseller lists are at least in my opinion better indicators of the profitability of a book.
 

JaimeRetief

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Ah, but will that be good enough? Should we begin preparing a comprehensive list?
Maybe, a comprehensive list would be excellent, along with sales figures and advances per book is something I have wanted from the start.
 

ratsy

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Tor locked up Scalzi from leaving to another publishing house. He could have effectively chosen to move to any press, and sell each book at a time for a lot more money, I'm betting. It's like a sports team taking a gamble that their star player will be a star still in ten years, and giving them a big contract.

You may say the Hugo's are a joke, but I'd still take one ;)
 

Brian G Turner

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Maybe, a comprehensive list would be excellent, along with sales figures and advances per book is something I have wanted from the start.
For the past few years, Werthead has been compiling reported lifetime sales figures to date, for various SFF authors - most recent thread on that here:
https://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/551775/
http://thewertzone.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-updated-sff-all-time-sales-list.html

Information on advances is notoriously hard to come by, but for a fantasy debut the ordinary advance seems to around £3,000-5,000. For SF and horror it can be as low as a few hundred pounds.

I only tend to see extraordinary advances reported - such as Sclazi's and Reynolds. Authors, agents, and publishers will sometimes mention "five figure" or "six figure" deals, rather than exact figures, and it's important to note how many books this is actually for - the higher the figure, the more likely it's for 3+ books.
 

Ray McCarthy

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the Hugos are a joke, but I'd still take one
Fixed it. Me too. :D

"five figure"
10,000 is five figures*. But I'd not turn it down. They like saying five or six figures because people unconsciously count the digits after the first one? Five figures hardly ever means 90,000.

Mentioning and "bigging up" an advance for an author already known gets newpaper, radio, web coverage for free. Part of the marketing.

It's like a sports team taking a gamble that their star player will be a star still in ten years, and giving them a big contract.
I'm sure this is sometimes true.

[* so is 100.99, but I don't think many marketing depts are that cynical]
 

JaimeRetief

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For the past few years, Werthead has been compiling reported lifetime sales figures to date, for various SFF authors - most recent thread on that here:
https://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/551775/
http://thewertzone.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-updated-sff-all-time-sales-list.html

Information on advances is notoriously hard to come by, but for a fantasy debut the ordinary advance seems to around £3,000-5,000. For SF and horror it can be as low as a few hundred pounds.

I only tend to see extraordinary advances reported - such as Sclazi's and Reynolds. Authors, agents, and publishers will sometimes mention "five figure" or "six figure" deals, rather than exact figures, and it's important to note how many books this is actually for - the higher the figure, the more likely it's for 3+ books.
Thanks again, why are publishers and writers so stingy with the sales and compensation data, are they perhaps afraid of the rank and file going up in arms because of the compensation of the more lucrative writers, or are they just fearful of discouraging new writers from coming into the field?
 

JaimeRetief

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Tor locked up Scalzi from leaving to another publishing house. He could have effectively chosen to move to any press, and sell each book at a time for a lot more money, I'm betting. It's like a sports team taking a gamble that their star player will be a star still in ten years, and giving them a big contract.

You may say the Hugo's are a joke, but I'd still take one ;)
Perhaps we can form a committee and get you one, next year we will give it to Hex, or Ray, we should call ourselves the snobbish Koalas.
 

ratsy

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I just looked back to see what Tor had given Brandon Sanderson on that big contract, and it was 2.5 million for the first 4 volumes of the Stormlight series. Now that is a big deal! But since these books are 1100 pages each it is probably for the same word count as Scalzi's deal. :sneaky:
 
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