Sunday, March 30, 2014

The self-publishing lottery

Digital Book World writer Jeremy Greenfield, who is also a Forbes contributor posted an interesting, and I think revealing list on Forbes.  DBW compiles weekly lists of ebook bestsellers, and Greenfield went back and compiled those lists into totals of bestsellers for last year.  Counting newly-merged Penguin and Random House as one entity, and all self-published authors as one entity, this is what he came up with:

1. Penguin Random House — 478 best-sellers
2. Hachette — 258 best-sellers
3. Self-published — 99 best-sellers
4. HarperCollins — 91 best-sellers
5. Simon & Schuster — 72 best-sellers
You might think this list reveals that self-publishing is going great guns, and I think it is. But what the list doesn't show is almost as important as what it does. It doesn't say how many books were published in total, by each publisher/entity. If a batter hits 100 home runs out of 10,000 times at bat, it's not that great a home run average. But if he hits 100 out of 1,000, he's doing a lot better, and 100 out of 500, he's probably in the majors. 

So, that's my point. The list looks great until you count the at-bats for self-published authors. I'm not pushing doom and gloom, mind you, just realism. Know the odds, but do it if you want it badly enough. My motto is, even a tiny chance is better than no chance. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hugo reminder!

The Hugos are prestigious awards presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention (aka Worldcon). If you are a member of the current Worldcon (to be held in London) or of last year's Worldcon, you can nominate your favorite book, short story, movie, TV episode, etc.  Nominations close on March 31, so don't procrastinate!

Note that you don't have to be an attending member. Supporting members can nominate and vote for Hugos, too!  The trophy is always a rocket ship, but the base varies from year to year. Can you tell where last year's Worldcon was held from this photo? I wonder if this year's will have Big Ben's tower or maybe St. Paul's?