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Re: Personal Safety From Google

Posted: 27 Sep 2020, 16:19
by Kellemora
As odd as this may sound, the big publishers don't make much on the HOT Authors of the day.
Most of their money comes from all the little niche books they sell.
Some of them have been being published and republished for 30 to 50 years, and folks are none the wiser.
Each new edition takes out old stale data, adds a little new data, a new cover, and it gets republished again.
That is what most of my work involved when I was working for Hachette.
I know I mentioned the writing teams they use to produce a book and have it near finished long before they know what authors name will end up on it. But once they do know, they then alter lines in the book to make it sound like that authors work.

When you go into a bookstore, you will see all the HOT books on the front tables. Now look beyond that into the store at all the shelves. This is probably where you are heading to buy a book about something you went in there for. More than likely walked right past those front tables without giving them much of a glance.
Sales from those back shelves is where the bread n butter are in the industry.
Want to know how to build some neat kites. Or how to fold origami. What about tatting (making lace), or learning to Knit? Learn how to braid or do leatherworking. Obviously, there really isn't much of anything new in any of those categories, yet those books sell day in and day out, most of them unchanged for years on end. Add a few new pictures to replace old pictures, make a minor change to the format, stick on a new cover, and load those shelves back up again.
Takes a lot of people to keep all those back shelf books current so they move off the shelves.

Re: Personal Safety From Google

Posted: 27 Sep 2020, 17:07
by yogi
I have no doubt about what you say is the primary source of income for publishers. That leads to the question of what do they have in mind when they look at the work you submit. Are they thinking Hot List or back shelf material? You seem to be writing new material that has never been around before to regurgitate. If that is the case your books would never be on the hot list. So how do people get to know you so that they would come back and buy more of your work? I suppose if you are authoring "How To" books it doesn't really matter who you are as long as the pictures are pretty and the text large and clear. If you are writing a historical novel, however, how do I get to know how good you are if your editors are targeting you for the back shelf? LOL

Well, I've been to Barns and Nobel and Walden and any other book store you can find in the mall. I know exactly what you are talking about when you describe the book displays. My visits to the bookstore were not intended for perusing the hot list or looking over the back of the store items. In the middle of those two is a section of discounted books that vary in publishing date. Some are recent clearance items and others are dregs from some warehouse. They all go for $5 - $10 which is why I would spend most of my time in those sections. The times I was not looking for discounted books I was looking for highly technical books that not all stores carried. As I mentioned earlier, I never was an avid reader. :mrgreen:

Re: Personal Safety From Google

Posted: 28 Sep 2020, 15:32
by Kellemora
About 80 to 90% of the normal stock books are developed in-house, and/or an author who wrote a book and managed to get in the sort, he may be long gone, yet the book keeps getting republished with changes every few years. If the publisher buys the rights to it, which they usually do.
My name did not go on any of the Niche books I worked on.
And even the novels we wrote as a group effort of several authors, none of our names ever appeared in them.

Now, if you write a book and get it accepted by a publisher, then your name will go on it.
There are lots of authors who write back shelf books covering all kinds of things. Some of them do get well known, and if so will be around for years.

During my short time with Hachette, I probably worked on over 20 plumbing books, 30 electrical books, perhaps 5 each of painting, decorating, drywall repair, and minor woodworking projects. Only about 10 on carpentry. Most of the rest had to do with various hobbies, and collectibles, but not antiques, a group of three did anything associated with antiques, whether it was furniture, glassware, ceramics, or metal ware, plus they had appraisers on call if a book showed possible prices.
Another group handled sports and sporting activities, a couple were retired radio announcers.

My wife works part-time as a cashier at Ace Hardware. You don't seem to see all that many people going in and out of Ace stores, so I would never have dreamed what their average daily sales were. She only works 4-1/2 hour shifts, and her register alone averages over 1800 bucks. The store itself averages around 7 grand per say, which means some days sales are over 10 grand, some days just under 6 grand. I would have never dreamed that much in sales by those stores. It is probably a lot higher than what the register sales account for, since they do have commercial charge accounts to for dock pick-ups.

One of my aunts opened a small dime store and named it after my sister, Linda's Variety.
I will say it wasn't very well run, since my aunt was a clutz and not very business minded.
But she hired a good manager who used to be a manager for Katz Drug Store, but only of one department.
The years he worked there the store did great, and their quality of merchandise kept going up. So along with it, sales went up and customer count kept increasing. Unfortunately, aunt Muff got tired of it when her manager decided to retire, and had a big sale to get rid of the store. At first she leased the bottom floor out to a butcher, who managed to get Seitz foods to lease her upstairs offices, the whole floor. The butcher shop did not do well, and in the end she sold the whole building to Norge and it became a Norge Laundromat. This is the same one I eventually took over for a few years after the company was getting rid of company owned stores. I only did maintenance for them at first, but that got me in good with the Norge folks and they let me take it over without a franchise contract. But then after a few years, they got out of company owned stores. I moved on myself, and do not remember what went in after that. I had moved up north to Creve Coeur while still maintaining the place. I hated that brand of equipment, very hard to work on, and broke down all too often. Even so, it did make good money, but that was because there were no other laundromats near us. Only one other was in Des Peres and it was close to the southern border abutting Kirkwood's poorer area.

Re: Personal Safety From Google

Posted: 28 Sep 2020, 18:57
by yogi
You are right about underestimating the sales at many shops. There used to be a candle shop in the Woodfield Mall; it was a gigantic and very expensive mall. I guess the shops are leased out by the square footage so that a $100 lease was that much per square foot. Thus a 20' x 20' store would easily cost $40,000/mo in rent. Admittedly, being Woodfield Mall, there would be a lot of traffic in your store no matter what you were selling. But every time I passed by that candle shop I didn't see more than a couple people in there. And how many freaking candles do you have to sell to come up with $40k per month? Well, that's only $1333 a day to cover the rent, but still. Who in the world buys that many candles?

There is so much about the book publishing business that is unknown to me. Your details of how things work are amazing. I now have a better appreciation for the phrase, "don't believe everything you read." That's because the people who wrote it are a figment of some publisher's imagination ... usually.

Re: Personal Safety From Google

Posted: 29 Sep 2020, 15:22
by Kellemora
My fiancee Barbara did, and always had at least a half dozen burning in her house, and ten times that if she planned on having company. She died of Black Lung Disease, which we attribute to the candles she continually burned, since she never smoked and no one was allowed to smoke in her house either.

Some of those candles that look like hand-carved are quite expensive and bought as gifts.
The only safe candle is one made of beeswax followed by soy with no additives.
However 90% of the candles you buy are actually Styrene Candles. Some are even Polystyrene, aka plastic.
Scented candles, which is what Barb always bought use oils and other chemicals, which cause a much higher amount of soot to be emitted by the candles.

FWIW: A candle store need only sell about 20 to 30 candles per day to meet the rent, and utilities.

As far as books go. Let's look at a popular independent author, James Patterson.
He has a team of a dozen writers, and about six or more editors on staff.
Plus he has other writers who submit books to him, of which you will see their name along with his on the cover as a co-author. They use his name to make the sale, in hopes the co-author will get some recognition for him/herself.

It takes an author at least a year, often much longer, to write, polish, and hone a book, before a publisher might give it a chance, and then the publisher edits and hones it even further first. It may not be on store shelves for 4 to 6 years.
This is one reason so many authors publish independently and take care of sales themselves.
But with so many now doing this, and with the POD printing and e-Books, the market is constantly flooded with way too many books, which in the end hurts everyone.

Re: Personal Safety From Google

Posted: 29 Sep 2020, 16:35
by yogi
Candle and incense burning is popular among people who practice witchcraft. I only knew a few in my lifetime and lost track of them all so that I don't know how healthy they are. This lady in the Chech Republic I talk about once in a while claims to be a witch. I don't think she is as ritualistic as the mainstream, but she does have lung problems. Since witchcraft is supposed to be all about nature, it would surprise me that they burn candles made of anything but beeswax. But then, this is the 21st century.

I know there is a lot of competition among authors which is one reason I never pursued writing seriously. I can put together a 20,000 word report on some topic I'm familiar with, but writing a book to some editor/publisher's satisfaction would cramp my style. And without free use of my style I have no reason to write. Then, too, I'm not trying to pay any bills with the profits of my creative writing. I might change my attitude if I had to do that. :mrgreen:

Re: Personal Safety From Google

Posted: 30 Sep 2020, 16:50
by Kellemora
They way commercial beehives are run these days, there is really no wax to collect. The honeycombs are artificial and can be drained mechanically without disturbing the bees.
Styrene candles have been the mainstay in the candle industry since the mid-1950's if not earlier than that.
Basically there were only two choices for commercial production Paraffin or Styrene, and Paraffin was the only food safe one so was used a lot in canning and home candle making.
Dipped candles would use Paraffin for the first coats, then Styrene for the final few coats.
Mold cast candles were almost always Styrene, like those little white emergency candles you see for sale everywhere.

We have a few authors here in my area that write articles about the various mountains or places in the mountains.
Each has their own style of writing, and what they talk about. But besides the many articles, they each have books that are available at nearly every tourist trap around here, and priced fairly high too. Some of those books have been selling here unchanged now for the whole time I've lived here. A few have been updated with newer pictures or wording, and almost always with a new more appealing cover, which helps boost sales.
There are so many individual smaller mountains around here, one person could never write about each of them.
All to often though, on a popular location, like Klingman's Dome, new authors will come in and steal the show with a new book and the old authors books then quit selling, hi hi. Partly because newer books have color pictures and GPS coordinates while the older books are often just black n white or hand drawn pictures of areas.
Somewhere around here, I have the first small pamphlet sized book an author wrote about Mt. Conte. The original only sold for a dime a copy, then after he updated it a little, it jumped up to 25 cents a copy. The cover was drawn with a magic marker on the original. And the second edition wasn't much better. Now that little book is around 60 pages and sells for 5.99 with only 4 color images in it, but the cover now looks awesome too. I don't think he is working on a new one anymore because he too is old now, and probably don't want to fork over the money to have 10,000 or more printed.