Writing as Adria Townsend and J. S. Laurenz

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Two of Us! Or is it?

Bufo Calvin tracks trends in his well-established blog I Love My Kindle.  http://ilmk.wordpress.com/ 

He recently ran some numbers for me for the month of February regarding Indie Publishing.  Here are his results:  “The total number of books added to the Kindle store was 36,494.  I think you are safe in estimating over 20,000 independent books a month.”

When I first heard about the Indie revolution, I thought I was getting in on the ground floor.  But from what I’ve experienced so far, and according to Mr. Calvin’s statistics, the ground floor is already hundreds of thousands of stories up.  Pun intended.  This is huge in so many ways.  But is it really new? 

Here’s what Mr. Calvin had to say:  “When Penguin and Pocket brought paperbacks to the masses, that was a huge sea change, because it brought major books to cheap, mass distribution.  I think what we are seeing now is similar to that.  Initially where you saw the successes were with genre titles...and classics.  Why is that?  Since you don't start out experimenting with your major authors, partially because neither side knows what is a fair compensation, you need something like a genre work that can immediately reach an audience, even with an unknown author.  With classics, compensation is not an issue, of course.  Once the market proves itself, then the majors can get into it.  That's happened now with e-books.”

Mr. Calvin was a manager of an honest to goodness brick and mortar bookstore.  He knows his books, but other industries as well and had this comparison to make:  “I think the best parallel with the tradpubs (traditional publishers) is the movie studio system.  For decades, that was the way movies were made and distributed.  It was court action that dismantled that...and then there was no going back.   I think tradpubs continue to be around, but there is similarly no going back...independents are also going to be part of e-book publishing.” 

So where does that leave us?  Is this town big enough for the two of us—Indies and Tradpubs?  He consoled me with this:  “The other important point, though, is that I think the total market for books is growing.  I think the rise of e-books means that people will read more.  That increases the size of the market, which means there is more room for both tradpub books and indies.”

Here at the Dime Store, I like to compare the publishing landscape right now to that of the late 1800s when dime novels were exploding onto the scene printed on inexpensive pulp paper.  Here's to pulp fiction in any form!!

And here’s what’s up next on the Cowgrrl Blog:  I’ll share a conversation I had with Al Hyslop, the Executive Producer of Captain Kangaroo.  And I’ll tell you why I keep dropping these names…besides the obvious answer which is to keep you reading. 
Thanks for stopping by. 

And here’s the answer to last week’s teaser:  What did Clint Eastwood’s agent tell me?  First of all why was I talking to his agent?  A few years back when the Clint Eastwood/Richard Burton movie Where Eagles Dare turned 40, I wrote a travel article about the Austrian castle of Hohenwerfen that was the setting for that classic.  I had scored a quote from the movie’s producer, and thought a quote from Mr. Eastwood would add even more color.  So I picked up the phone and called his agent, Leonard Hirshan.  How’d I get his number?  I googled him and called him at home.  His home number was out there on the internet?  It sure was!  Believe me, I was surprised too when he, and not an assistant, answered the call.  

“Listen, sweetheart,” he said, and his voice was as gruff as gravel yet he still managed to sound sympathetic to my query.  “Clint is filming with Angelina Jolie right now, and he wouldn’t really be interested in talking about a movie he did so long ago.” 

It might sound like I didn’t get anywhere; I disagree.  Sure, answers are important, preferably affirmative ones, but developing a skill for asking is even more important. 

So, if you’re headed for Austria and want to avoid the throngs of Sound of Music and Mozart fans in Salzburg, I'll send you a link to the travel article I wrote called How Hollywood Lost a Castle.  When I get that Eastwood quote, I’ll edit it in.

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