How Amazon Destroyed Publishing. Or Did It?

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Typewriter | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

Then, Amazon came along and turned everything upside down. Including typewriters!

In my previous post, How Amazon Destroyed Barnes & Noble, I explained how Amazon (alone) could not be held responsible for the bookstore’s troubles.

This post addresses another common complaint, that Amazon has destroyed publishing.

Again, things are not as black and white as that. Yes, Amazon is a shark. But it was the publishing industry which made blunder after blunder, allowing Amazon to take advantage of their mistakes.

Let’s take things from the start.

A Brief History of 20th Century Publishing

As Kristen Lamb points out in her must-read post, Goliath has Fallen & What This Means for Writers, publishing worked in a pretty standard way for over a century. Writers would take their books to publishers. If their pitch was successful, the publishers would then sign them on, publish the books, and distribute them to smaller chains and independent bookstores around the country.

The leaders in charge of the publishing business knew they had three jobs:

  1. Protect the writers, producers of the product publishers sold.
  2. Protect the bookstores, distributors of books.
  3. Protect the readers, consumers of books.

These are listed in order of importance. If there are no writers, then there is no content: no stories, no books, no movie rights, nothing. With no distribution network, even the most avid book readers will have no way of getting their hands on books. And with no readers, there’s no way to sustain your business.

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Amazon Advertising: The Definitive Guide

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Amazon Advertising | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookI was recently hired by SearchNurture to help them write a series of posts on Amazon Advertising. SearchNurture is a Digital Marketing Agency which matches specialized advertisers with companies and professionals. They also offer training in digital marketing and even help graduates find a job (and pay $6,000 upon placement).

I don’t like tooting my own horn, but anyone interested in how Amazon Advertising works should have a careful read, as this is the most exhaustive guide I have seen on the Internet yet–and I’m mighty proud of my part in creating it.

The following articles are available (this list will get updated on a weekly basis):

 

About this blog

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NicholasRossisPageThis is the mirror blog of author Nicholas C. Rossis. It is set up in order to provide an easy way for visitors to reblog posts and read them in WordPress Reader.

You can find out the reasoning behind the duplication in this post.

The primary blog is located on nicholasrossis.me and contains information on book marketingwriting; my fantasy series Pearseusmy short stories collections and my award-winning children’s books.

What Percentage of Novelists Earn a Living Wage?

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Of all the learned professions, literature is the most poorly paid.

—Dr. Edward Eggleston, 1890

Lately, I have taken to answer publishing-related questions on Quora. Yesterday, I came across someone who asked, What percentage of novelists earn a living wage (i.e. $40,000-$50,000 a year)?

After a little research, I came across some data that I think will be of interest to you, so I’m sharing here my response.

What Percentage of Novelists Earn a Living Wage?

Get paid to write | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Writing is typically a poorly paid profession—or so most people think. However, just how poorly paid it is, is a matter of some debate. Last year, the Authors Guild released an income survey with the usual “crisis” headline. However, a large number of respondents reported little or no income. Once you filter out these people, the numbers are quite different.

As Publishers Marketplace explains, the median income for full-time published authors, once you remove the people reporting nothing at all, was $20,857.

In fact, despite the Authors Guild study conclusions, full-time authors saw their median income rise 13 percent since 2013, and romance/romantic suspense authors also saw gains.

For the 63 percent of authors who reported receiving book-related income in 2017, the average total income was $43,247 (which, again, paints a very different picture than the Authors Guild headline of $6,080).

And three-sevenths of full-time authors with any earnings were making over $50,000 (source: Author Income Surveys Are Misleading and Flawed—And Focus on the Wrong Message for Writers | Jane Friedman)

So, with apologies to George Orwell, you can make money out of publishing even if you don’t marry the publisher’s daughter.

However, I should stress that full-time authors are usually those who have been at it for years, if not decades. So, if you’re asking whether a newcomer can make that kind of money in, say, a year, my answer would be, it’s highly unlikely.