So I've no excuse at all for feeling down – and compared with a number of friends who are going through family traumas, business downturns and health problems, I really do have no excuse for feeling low. If only I hadn't chosen writing as a post-retirement career! Hitting the right place in a falling market is a real challenge. We're all being told, time and again, that book sales are dramatically down, and it does seem that publishers are fighting shy of taking on new names. However, I've got a number of friends who have been picked up recently (including our very own Linda Mitchelmore – hooray!) and I have a feeling the picture is not as clear as it might seem.
The hidden data centres round sales of e-books and the secrecy with which Amazon in particular seems to cloak sales figures. 'E-books are skewing the book ratings,' writes Jojo Moyes in The Telegraph http://www.telegrap
h.co.uk/culture/. The problem is that while hardback and paperback sales figures are collated and charted, only the author and publisher know the number of sales of e-books. Amazon now releases a chart of top sellers – but not numbers. For writers of 'women's fiction' in particular, this poses a problem. Many writers are reporting excellent e-book sales, but they are not necessarily being reflected in the bookstores. books/9138908/ How-e-books- made-reading- sexy-again. html
Last year, sales of e-books apparently rose by 500 per cent, and are expected to increase by a similar amount this year, with digital sales expected to overtake print for the first time in the UK. We really are in the middle of a revolution.
I don't believe that people are reading less than they used to. In fact, I think the opposite may be true. And there's a terrific article on the Bookseller blog about the role of authors (a forgotten breed of professionals) – see http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/agents-manifesto.html
So for all my friends who are still trying to break in to the market, I would say: Keep writing. Be Prepared. Be in the right place when the revolution settles.
And be happy – Spring is here and the long days are coming!