Monday, August 12, 2013

Hugh Howey the New 'Gangman Style'

Why are people posting articles on the decline of ebook sales? This article by Nathan Bransford doesn't really answer that question, but it does point out how faulty some of these articles are that claim ebook sales are slumping.

And even though 2013 has seen a plateau, ebook sales are still up in comparison to paper copies. The music industry came into the digital world of mp3 players kicking and screaming, and I don't see the publishing industry doing anything differently. Because the music industry's evolution was so incredibly recent, you would think the publishing world would realize what's happening to their books.


Interestingly, hard copies of music (read CDs) still come out on top of the sales charts in the music industry. Last year, 2012, CDs held the market share of music sales at just over 35%, according to Digital Music News. DMN’s Gif doesn’t take into account the increase in the overall size of the music industry though; or the music industry’s 1999 decrease in revenue; or the current plateau the music industry is predicted to have over the next five years (PriceWaterhouse Predicts Near-Zero Music Industy Growth Over the Next 5 Years, Digital Music News).


Seems like every time we had a new tech advance though, the music industry experienced an uptick in sales. Just over a year ago in June 2012 ebooks outsold the traditional hard copy paper book, and according to a 2010 survey people who owned a Kindle or Nook purchased more books than they would have if they did not own an ereader. This was all about the time I also decided to self-publish my Wasteland series, when a couple years prior (2009-2010) I made fun of people who self-published. But then came along authors such as Hugh Howey of Wool fame, who brokered an unprecedented print publishing deal with Simon & Schuster. Thanks to literary agents contacting him—not the other way around; not authors contacting agents, begging for representation—and Kristin Nelson was not the first agent to have contacted Howey.

Howey is not the only author to be contacted by Nelson. For example, have you heard of Jasinda Wilder? Wilder has sold 70,000 ebook copies of new adult romance Falling Into You, and Nelson picked her up sometime around April as a client. Wait and see: more literary agents such as Nelson will emerge, picking up indie authors who have made big sales on their own in the e-world.

The e-reader world has become the new proving ground for authors. Soon, novels will no longer be acquired by publishers or agents as they have in the past. The agent query letter may indeed soon be dead, perhaps replaced by the author query letter.

Which brings me back to music, and in the words of David Bowie, “The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it” (excerpt from the 2002 New York Times article “David Bowie, 21st Century Entrepreneur” by John Pareles). Music CDs certainly haven’t disappeared from the marketplace, but the way we discover our new pop idols has radically shifted. Think about Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Park Jae-sang—a.ka. Psy.


Eventually, the music industry embraced the new paradigm, but why hasn’t the publishing world embraced the emerging new paradigm of empowered artists/authors? Why are they running so scared they have to publish pieces concerning the fictional decline of ebook sales?



“I thought this book was beautiful. Having just finished it, I feel like I have just woken up from a really disturbing dream” – Rose Actor-engel, Amazon
Christine and Jack sat on the back deck of their cottage and watched the stars fall into the lake. They whispered to each other, "Beautiful." But Jack did not know his life was to forever change. A plague came. Christine died. Aliens landed and they put things in his food and soap. The sidewalks lit up blue to let him know when he was allowed to go to the store. Filled with drugs, sex, and cigarettes, the first of six inter-related short stories that make up the entirety of the Wasteland series all styled after Winesburg, Ohio and As I Lay Dying. Based loosely off T.S. Elliot's poem of the same name, The Wasteland is told from the perspectives of the people living inside Jack's head.
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Steve Bargdill writes “literary stuff” with the occasional foray into speculative fiction. Originally from Ohio, he has lived in Dayton, Columbus, Troy, St. Marys, and New Knoxville as well as West Branch, Iowa; Lincoln, Nebraska; Muncie, Indiana; and currently lives in Laramie, Wyoming. Bargdill is the author of The Wasteland Series available on Amazon. He’s written for several newspapers and is currently a first year English graduate student at the University of Wyoming. You can read his short stories for free on Wattpad. You can also like him on Facebook where he posts a daily poem, Monday evening writing prompts, hump day videos and more nonsense!

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