Saturday, April 05, 2014

A Wake Up Call for Tracy Hickman by J.A.Konrath

A Wake Up Call for Tracy HickmanEd here:  J.A. Konrath is one of the genuine stars of the indie authors world. He was one of the early-promoted Amazon choices and he has sustained his popularity. His commentary here gives you a good sense of his philosophy.  Tracy Hickman is a true innovator in his chosen genre and a damned nice guy. 
J.A. Konrath: 

Via PassiveGuy, who was linking to an article from about a convention speech by bestselling sci-fi author Tracy Hickman to a room full of writers.

Quote Tracy:

“I have to do more now,” he said finally. A hush went over the audience as Hickman continued to describe the conditions under which authors are laboring under today. One can write 12,000 words and sell it for 4.95, he said. At that price point, his 120,000 novel would have be $49.50, which would be impossible to market.

“I’m fighting for my life as an author,” he admitted frankly, his voice solemn.

He then said that his audience of 6 million no longer find him because the book store is dying. A booksigning in older days would have fans lining around blocks just to have his signature, but a booksigning now might only get six people. “I have a 6 million following,” he said quietly, “and they don’t remember me.”

Now, he works 12-14 hours a day writing four times the books he’s comfortable writing because he makes a fourth of what he used to.

Tracy, I was really torn in how to respond to this when I read it. But I did feel compelled to respond, because I want to help you by offering some hard-won advice.

On one hand, I'm sorry the system that helped bring you fame and fortune can no longer do that for you. I was only entangled in the legacy system 1/3 of the time that you were, and it didn't treat me very well. But a look at the early years of my blog shows how hard I tried to be a part of it. I naively trusted those in NY Publishing to do their best for me, and I worked harder than any writer, before or since, to help my publishing partner sell as many books as possible. That including sending 7000 letters to libraries, visiting over 1200 bookstores, and doing events in 42 states.

for the rest go here:


Richard S. Wheeler said...

I'm glad I wrote when I did, when NY publishers offered me substantial marketing help, tours, signings, and publicity in all media. I wrote, and write, novels that won acclaim, stories aimed for a specific readership. Mr. Konrath succeeded in his own fashion, and I admire him for it. But even now, many fresh and bright people succeed through publication with traditional publishers, and those who don't may simply not have the right material to offer readers. Are NYC publishers failing? Well, Alfred Knopf had the most successful quarter in its history last year, and gave all its employees a five thousand dollar end-of-year bonus. I'd like to say that maybe "legacy publishers" know what they are doing when they reject most authors, or decline to promote many of those they publish.

Peter L. Winkler said...

Knopf is an imprint of Random House, which published Fifty Shades of Grey, which began as self-published fan fiction. It was the enormous success of Fifty Shades that enabled RH to give their employees the bonuses, not anything Knopf published. And Random's authors? Well, they got bupkes.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

Mr. Winkler, yes, that is Knopf's genius. You are right. A few years ago they took a self-published young adult novel, Eragon, written by a gifted fifteen-year-old Montana young man named Christopher Paolini, and turned it and subsequent novels into major best-sellers with film connections. In the process they cut and edited the novel, vastly increasing its marketability.