Happy Labor Day! I thought it an appropriate day to discuss the fruits of labor—or sometimes lack thereof—in the book publishing industry.
Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
First, the good news. I recently found out that Confessions of a Middle-Aged Runaway was a finalist in the Non-Fiction – Travel category of the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Not a winner, but still, I’ll take it. It’s a little boost that makes the hard work of the business of writing feel worthwhile. It’s a lot of work to write, publish, and promote a book, and getting even a little recognition such as this assists with the most difficult task for authors: helping readers find your books among the millions of other books.
One of the perks of being a finalist, honorable mention, or winner of the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards is that they publish the results in Publishers Weekly. In case you’re not familiar with this publication, it’s an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers, and literary agents and is also read by wholesalers, distributors, and educators. It’s the place to be mentioned if you’re in the business of producing books.
The book awards results are sent out to 100,000 industry professionals through two Publishers Weekly e-newsletters, plus a press release that goes out to 250,000 subscribers. The press release is also sent to more than 35,000 journalists including the Associated Press and top US newspapers like USA Today, search engines like Yahoo and Google, and popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In other words, it’s a lot of exposure!
There is also an awards ceremony in Miami that takes place during Miami Book Fair International that all finalists and award winners are invited to attend. All finalists are brought on stage to be photographed and media attends the event. Learning sessions are also provided following the Friday night Meet and Greet. It sounds like a fun event.
Book Sales Figures—Penguin Random House/Simon & Schuster Antitrust Trial
Now for some discouraging news. I saw a post about the Penguin Random House/Simon & Schuster Antitrust Trial where someone testified that out of 58,000 trade titles published per year, half of those titles sell fewer than ONE DOZEN BOOKS. It was also revealed that 90 PERCENT OF TITLES SELL FEWER THAN 2,000 UNITS. That’s pretty astonishing, and you wonder how they stay in business with those kinds of figures, but they apparently make so much money off the bestsellers, they can still be profitable. Jane Friedman speculated that those figures were from Bookscan, which only reports print retail book sales and not ebook or audiobook sales or sales outside of retail stores, but still. Wow.
I guess I’m doing better than most with my book sales. My book is far from a bestseller, but the recognition and sales it has received are still something to celebrate. Still, knowing there are people out there who read and enjoy my book is the biggest reward of all. I thank all of you who have taken the time to email me or have posted a review letting me know you liked it. It means a lot to hear from you.