Friday, July 29, 2005

A Bit of Book News

Throughout my week, I’m constantly reading different print magazines as well as online newsletters. As I read, I’m gathering information about the market. My news comes from a variety of sources.  As you are aware of these different outlets, you can increase the amount of publishing news you gather.  For many years, I’ve subscribed to Publisher’s Weekly which is about the size of a news magazine yet specialized in publishing.  If you haven’t seen one, go to any public library in the country and ask the reference librarian about it. It’s usually a heavily guarded publication in the sense that librarians don’t like to get it much out of their immediate line of sight.  Librarians use Publisher’s Weekly to advance order bestselling author’s books and other books. In the last few years, Publisher’s Weekly has added email newsletters and a lot of information online. Unfortunately most of this information is limited to subscribers. I understand the costly subscription to this magazine but it’s a huge publishing education for anyone who gets the magazine and faithfully reads it—even if your way of getting it is to go to the library once a week or once a month.

This week more than 2,000 writers are gathering in Reno, Nevada for the 25th annual Romance Writers of America Convention.  Yesterday I read this piece in the Reno Gazette-Journal by Siobhan McAndrew who interviewed Nicole Kennedy, publicist for the RWA. In case you don’t know, a novel is classified as a romance when a love story is the central theme and it has a happy ending. Here’s the statistic that jumped off the page from Kennedy who said “romance novels comprise 50 percent of all paperback book sales, and sales this year are expected to top $1.4 million.”

To write any type of novel takes craft and tremendous work. You can learn a great deal from organizations such as the Romance Writers of America or the American Christian Fiction Writers (which started as the American Christian Romance Writers and includes a lot of romance writing members).  I recommend writers constantly be monitoring various bits of book news—and use it as a bellwether for your own writing. What types of books do you like to read? What types of writing do you enjoy? Then take some active steps to consistently increase your wealth of information about the market and this area of the business while constantly looking to improve your craft. In the long run, it will pay off for you—not instantly but over the long haul.

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