BruceJ said:Please forgive my naivete, but why? Is this a statistical sort of thing, or just an impression? No shots being taken here, I'm genuinely curious.
Summonere said:Short answer: yes.
Long and ambiguous answer: depends on where you want to get published.
"nobody wants a series of books"That’s because, particularly from first-time authors, this is a bad risk. Go to Vegas with $50,000 in your pocket. Say that each $10,000 represents a book that you, an editor -- duly approached by an agent frothing at the mouth with “this is the best thing since sliced cheese!” -- could buy. Say the roulette wheel represents the market. Say that you put all $50,000 on one spin of the roulette wheel. If you win, you win big. But the odds are better that you’ll lose all $50,000. But if you spend only ten thousand, you’ve still got forty-thousand more that you can use to pick up books from four other authors in case that first one doesn’t work out, and maybe with one of those other authors you'll make back what you spent on giving them each a chance.
johnzakour said:Actually, one of the first things Daw told me when talking about why they bought my books is they were really attracted to the fact that they had the potential to make a fun series of stand alone stories.
So I guess it's different for everybody.
Toothpaste said:As to the whole 'series' question, I think most agents AND publishers balk at when they are presented with them because often the author hasn't written a self contained book to begin with, and it is very difficult to sell something when it ends with a cliff hanger AND you are a new writer. Think of all the popular MG series: Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, even Eragon. Self contained with the potential for more.
On the one hand, I'm grateful to have a last name that's smack-dab in the middle of the shelving unit. Er, alphabet.Tallymark said:I feel really bad sometimes, because in some cases I know the book doesn't have a chance--for example, in our store, the sci-fi rack is huge, and the top shelf is a good two feet over my head (you need to use a stool to reach stuff). When a new author gets stuck up there, it's a death sentence--no one will ever know it existed. Whereas an already successful author can survive up there, because people are intentionally looking for the book, so they will find it.
NicoleJLeBoeuf said:On the other hand, a new author could do worse than having a last name that comes right after, or near, Adams, Anthony, Asimov, or Asprin. A reader only knows he's seen all the Xanth novels on the shelf after he gets to the author shelved just to Piers's right.
Ouch.PeeDee said:On the other, OTHER hand, I don't know that I'd want to be shelved between "King" and "Koontz"
Jamesaritchie said:I don't think it matters much at all where you're shelved. Isaac Asimov did pretty well, and so did Roger Zelazny.
It's word of mouth that sells books, not the location on the racks.
Toothpaste said:Pitchbitch, you wanna share some of those techniques, I bet people would really like to read them!
Oh and if you are going to refer to me as an animal, I prefer foxy or vixen. Just for future reference.
Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie
And like it or not, readers are much more likely to hate a first novel than to love it.
Jamesaritchie said:It's statistics. On a percentage basis, not many first novels do very well at all.
miles said:This is more of a name recognition thing rather than readers not liking the work. If you look at reviews of most first novels, they're usually very high. Readers love them. Problem is, no one knows they exist unless they stumble into them. People generally go to stores to pick up the latest King or Rowling, not to find the debut novel of Jim Newauthor.
miles said:This is more of a name recognition thing rather than readers not liking the work. If you look at reviews of most first novels, they're usually very high. Readers love them. After all, there had to be something fresh about them to make a publisher take a chance on an unknown, whereas someone like King can take a break from originality for a year and still have a bestseller based on his name alone.
Problem is, no one knows first novels exist unless they stumble into them. People generally go to stores to pick up the latest King or Rowling, not to find the debut novel of Jim Newauthor.
PeeDee said:Interesting name choice. I always told me mam that no matter what, I was shelved between Asimov and Zelazny, and so I was doing fine.
Anyway, I'm not hugely worried about it (by which I mean, I really don't care).
Oh god. Another one of those "F*** you, you f***ing wannabe, if you sit at my feet I'll tell you how it really is, and guess what, it really sucks out there in publishingland" blogs.pitchbitch said:Oh yeah, the slush exists--just like dive bars and VFW wedding receptions exist.
You want to know why we're the Untouchables in the increasing boutique world of publishing? Same reason you didn't go up to Nick the Jock at the cafeteria in 9th grade where he was holding court among his cheerleading courtiers. Listen kittens, there are ways to bypass the slush pile.
Take it from an Editor on the Inside