Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Part 2: A Day In The Life of A New Thriller, Rogue Wave & It's Author, Boyd Morrison: Release Day of Rogue Wave

Continuing Our Coverage:

By Tom Dulaney, Editor

Part 2: We're virtually spending the day with Boyd Morrison, author of Rogue Wave, which released for sale today in print and eBook editions across the nation's bookstores, as an eBook in the Nook Barnes & Noble store, on Amazon.com as both a print book and an eBook in the Kindle Store.  For Part 1, click here.

Boyd has been through this drill earlier this year, where his first book backed by publisher Simon & Schuster, The Ark, went on sale on May 11. He expected a quiet day today, with few surprises, and time spent during the day mailing copies of Rogue Wave to supporters, authors who boosted it in print, and family and friends.

We last posted at about 11 AM East Coast Time where Planet iPad office is located, or 8 AM at Boyd's home on Seattle. At the time, the new paperback was ranked 29,568 on Amazon and the eBook stood at 8,985.  Things have changed.

4 PM New York, 1 PM Seattle: The eBook edition has climbed to 3,880th place in Amazon's rankings, while the print edition is currently bouncing around between the 17,000 and 20,000 marks.

Boyd texted Planet iPad several times in between, once from the post office where he was mailing off his book, once sharing his concern that Rogue Wave was missing from the Apple iStore. “Trying to figure out why Rogue Wave is missing from the Apple iBookstore,” he texted. “It was there yesterday!”

Later: “Just stopped at the post office to mail a dozen copies as a thanks to authors who blurbed and people in the acknowledgments.”

Later still: “Took at hour to work out at the gym. Spent my Stairmaster time reading a soon-to-be-published thriller for a possible endorsement. Enjoying it so far.”

Such is the mundane life of an author on the day his book goes on sale.

Earlier, he emailed that he expected to have a quiet day, mostly alone, followed by a gathering of friends this evening to celebrate the day, and thank them for the ongoing support of his writing. His wife, Randi, his “First Editor” and best friend, was away at a medical conference. She's an internist at a Seattle area hospital, and Boyd's most ardent fan.

For the romantics among us, the story of how Boyd set aside his writing for years to support her as she went to med school, is worth knowing.

We checked the Amazon rankings together during the phone call, him from his Seattle home, me from my suburban Philadelphia home.

We authors tend to obsess about Amazon rankings,” he confided in the phone call. In truth, he adds, “they are no indication of what the book is doing in the brick and mortar bookstores” where 96% of all books are still currently sold. Though eBooks grab the headlines these days, this year Forrester Research estimates eBooks will have a banner growth year and get 4% of all book sales.  That adds up to quite a sum:  $1 billion in sales.

Last year, book sales in all formats were about $24 billion, and there is no indication 2010's total sales in all formats will be significantly higher.

While Amazon recently reported that, title for title at all the top levels, eBooks in the Kindle Store outsell Amazon's stock of print books for the same title 2 to 1, in the entire scheme of US book sales the figure is this at the moment:  $1 eBook dollar earned for $24 printed books earn.

That is not to discount the impact and rapid growth of eBooks. They're hot, and growing by triple digit percentages. But there are still only part of a much larger picture.

But Amazon's figures are the only ones we can see instantly,” Morrison noted. “Royalty statements from the publisher will arrive in six months.”

It's becoming clear that the only immediacy of today's events concerning Rogue Wave will be the Amazon rankings, and that those are a small part of the picture. During a long phone conversation, Morrison talked about other aspects of the eBook revolution, its immediacy, and wider issues. For example: reviews posted online by readers.

"I stopped reading the reviews most of the time,” Morrison says. “It's human nature to fixate on the negative things we read. Most of the reviews posted have been very good, but we gloss over the praise and focus on critical comments.”

Other authors, including bestselling Bill Myers have shared the same sentiment with me.

It's all opinion, after all,” Morrison says. “Not everyone likes the same thing. For instance, my books were rejected by 25 publishing companies.” But opinions changed, at least at Simon & Schuster.

I'm satisfied that the book is the way I wanted it to be,” he says. How others view it—whether they are editors or individual readers—is something he acknowledges is beyond the author's control.

There's another divide between eBooks and print for the author:  “If you're self-publishing,” he says of the different worlds of eBooks and print, “you can see your sales from minute to minute.” And you can see the reviews the moment they're posted.

He detects significant differences in the eBook and print book markets, and points to the bestseller lists for both, which are usually quite different lists. “People with Kindles will want to buy eBooks,” he says. “Those without will want to buy print books. It seems that the eBook world is totally separate from the print world.”

Overall, Morrison puts eBooks and print books in their context, his ideas paralleling the size of sales of both. But, he explains, he's in it for the long haul. The success or failure of one book is less important when your long-term plan is to publish many books.

I now have two books out,” he says. “But I want to build a career at this. People you know about have 10 or 15 books out."  He cites his bestselling friends James Rollins and Douglas Prestons as examples.

Another perspective on today, release day, he givevs, “is that it's like your 40th birthday.” He's 43. “It's really just another day.”

In other parts of the conversation, he revealed that his third and fourth novels are scheduled for release, but we'll cover those in a subsequent post, along with Morrison's other observations about the nature of being an author under contract, the responsibilities, and more.

No comments:

Post a Comment