A "bestseller "no more!

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SandChigger
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Postby SandChigger » 26 Oct 2008 22:46

I don't see the Hack going without a fight, honestly. I mean, he's wedged up their collective ass pretty tight now. I figure he's got something pretty big on them and probably wouldn't hesitate to use it. (There are no Notes, or Brian writes nothing...just for starters.)

Nah, he's got his sights set on at least five more "Dune" books after Jessica. After all, Dune IS Kevin J. Anderson. :roll:

And whether the books sell well or not, it'll be the fans' fault, not his. HE is a GREAT writer, a GENIUS writer. How could it be his fault?!
"Let the dead give water to the dead. As for me, it's NO MORE FUCKING TEARS!"

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Postby Hunchback Jack » 26 Oct 2008 23:33

Sorry to dampen the euphoria, but I'm afraid the books will have to sell a hell of a lot worse than they do currently before the HLP will abandon them.

For the books to appear on the NYT bestseller list at all - top 15 or top 35, they'd have to sell a bunch of copies. I don't know how many, but a bunch. Many successful novelists make a living out of books that never make that list.

So I agree with the point that PoD is doing worse than HuoD or SoD did, but I don't think that means the HLP will look for a new author any time soon.

HBJ

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Postby SandRider » 26 Oct 2008 23:37

I think the real source of glee tonight is Byron's complete
deletion of the NYT thread Over There, in the wake of ONE
little post saying that the book dropped like a stone off the list

real-time example of what an asshole he is.

loved it.

want some more.....

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Postby GamePlayer » 27 Oct 2008 10:27

Actually, the HLP does have a golden parachute, at least for the foreseeable future: the film adaptation. Whether the film is successful or not, the film should increase exposure/interest (the sickening HLP mantra) in the Dune books, which will lead to more sales. Plus, the HLP was likely paid a tidy sum from Paramount for the film rights. That's the HLP, "takin' notes" :)
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Postby loremaster » 27 Oct 2008 11:19

To echo what has already been said less concisely, and to make myself look somewhat pedantic.

Accepting:

Big Sales = Good Quality.

it does not necessarily follow that:

Small Sales = Bad Quality.

Given that ALL big sales must be good quality, does not preclude small/medium sales from being bad quality. Even assuming universal definitions for "Quality" and a standard method of assessing "Quality" could be derived. History is littered with no acclaimed artistry which was at first slated.

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The HLP hasnt released Frank's notes yet, Brian hasn't got the handwriting quite right!

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Postby SandRider » 27 Oct 2008 11:33

loremaster wrote:Accepting: Big Sales = Good Quality.


Ok, but who, other than Byron, is accepting that ?

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Postby inhuien » 27 Oct 2008 12:40

KJ arsin' A
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Postby Frybread » 27 Oct 2008 14:31

Hunchback Jack wrote:Sorry to dampen the euphoria, but I'm afraid the books will have to sell a hell of a lot worse than they do currently before the HLP will abandon them.

For the books to appear on the NYT bestseller list at all - top 15 or top 35, they'd have to sell a bunch of copies. I don't know how many, but a bunch. Many successful novelists make a living out of books that never make that list.

So I agree with the point that PoD is doing worse than HuoD or SoD did, but I don't think that means the HLP will look for a new author any time soon.

HBJ


True. I wonder if Kevin is guaranteed co-authorship (with That Other Guy) of all four of the Heroes of Dune books, no matter how well or bad they sell?

If that is the case, then he will be around for, what, another five or 10 years? Fuck!

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 27 Oct 2008 14:34

The likelihood of the sales dropping so much that the HLP would consider firing the guy who is (effectively) their leader is not high. Even without being on any of the bestseller lists the cash will still flow in copious amounts.
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Postby Frybread » 27 Oct 2008 14:39

A Thing of Eternity wrote:The likelihood of the sales dropping so much that the HLP would consider firing the guy who is (effectively) their leader is not high. Even without being on any of the bestseller lists the cash will still flow in copious amounts.


I agree that we're stuck with the Heroes of Dune tetralogy.

The only question is if the HLP will authorize any more novels after these four if sales are down.

Personally, I hope this series bombs so bad that the HLP shelves Dune forever, or at least until they can find a REAL writer and not some franchise hack.

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Postby TheDukester » 27 Oct 2008 14:48

I think you guys underestimate that chance, actually.

For now, KJA certainly has a lot of power in his corner, since sales and overall reception have been mostly solid up to this point. But PoD is tanking, both at the cash registers and with legitimate critical outlets, who aren't even bothering to review it. Not a good sign.

Much of my belief is based on future results (and, sadly, I'm not prescient), but I really believe that both Jessica and Irulan are going to bomb, big-time. If that's the case, then you'd have a string of four straight books that are shifting fewer copies than the previous effort:

Sandworms > Paul > Jessica > Irulan.

And, as brain-dead as they are, even the HLP would recognize that there are other authors out there.

Of course, this is all speculation of the highest order. For all I know, KJA signed an iron-clad guaranteed six-book contract with the HLP last week. Actually, that wouldn't be much of a shock, given that he's an aggressive Scientology drone and the HLP is made up of a bunch of spineless jellyfish ...
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Postby DuneFishUK » 27 Oct 2008 15:26

If the current run of new books get shut down it'll be by the publisher. They need to know a book is a) going to sell, b) sell sufficient copies to justify releasing.

The HLP will most probably shoot themselves in the foot by insisting on a minimum of copies to be produced. As soon as they're forced to sell to bargain basement publishers (IIRC Timeweb was published by some publisher no-one's ever heard of :P) and only get bargain basement profits... THEN the HLP might reconsider.

Hope eh? :)

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Postby SandChigger » 27 Oct 2008 17:57

It's funny you mention Scientology, Dukester.

I was wondering why Kevin hasn't marshaled the troops out to the stores yet. :shock:

(Or maybe he has and this is all they can manage? :D )
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Postby Hunchback Jack » 28 Oct 2008 12:29

TheDukester wrote:But PoD is tanking, both at the cash registers and with legitimate critical outlets, who aren't even bothering to review it. Not a good sign.


Is it, though? I mean, sure, it's not doing as well as the Dune7 novels, but it still made the NYT list, if only for a few weeks. I don't know much about publishing, but that's hardly "tanking".

Consider Star Wars books. They keep cranking them out at ridiculous rates. Most are paperback originals, but even the HC originals usually don't make the NYT bestseller list. And yet, we still see one or two Star Wars HCs a year.

My point is that a franchise can do much worse than Dune is doing and still be viable - even profitable. If The KJA hardcovers stop selling enough to justify the cost, the publisher can start doing PB originals, or the HLP can go the Star Wars route - more books by more authors at lower print runs.

Look, I don't want these books to succeed any more than anyone else does. But realistically, they have a long way to go before they fail. And the HLP haven't yet begun to exploit Frank's legacy if they really wanted to.

Be careful what you wish for.

HBJ

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Postby Omphalos » 28 Oct 2008 14:49

Like it or not, something with "DUNE" on the cover will always, always, always sell. If the hardback-blockbuster-introduction-complete-with-gummi-sandworms-and-travelling-nitwits thing fails to be economically feasible in the future, then all they will do is downgrade the money that they put into a release. That could be less ads, less travel, paperback originals, subisdiary publisher, lower print runs, less bookstores, etc.

Im sorry to say that this is not going to stop until the writers decide to stop it. Now, they could become insulted by lowered expectations and lesser investments from the publisher and decide to stop for that reason, but I doubt that Tor will ever pull the rug from under their feet wholesale. It just does not work that way with "popular" "authors."

But I think that they both see it coming (lowered expectations that is, not orders to stop) as they are both hard at "work" on Smellhole and other projects. They both see the need for other projects to replace lost income with diminished Dune income.

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Postby Omphalos » 28 Oct 2008 14:51

Baraka Bryan wrote:not to mention the fixed costs are peanuts when compared to margins on HC books. you've got some salary shit and equipment depreciation, and that's basically it. the variable costs (ink, paper, distribution) are virtually nil per book when compared to the $18 price tag so you don't even have to sell tons to break even, so unfortunately since they know there is a fan base out there that will make the books profitable, i think they'll continue dictating and printing the excrements :(


you are missing a whole lot there bryan. Publishing margins are quite tight. Paydays for authors may be big, but the publishing house makes its money of volume and diversity, and not often with one project like Judith Reagan used to do it. Publicity and distribution are huge costs. Especially distribution because it is largely handled by outside vendor with a contract. Publishers dont have their own distribution networks usually.

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Postby GamePlayer » 28 Oct 2008 14:55

I wonder if the recession will adversely affect the HLP sales. Imagine that; McDune brought down by the incompetence of Bush. Oh, the irony :)

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 28 Oct 2008 15:22

What kind of royalties are authors generally looking at anyways? Does anyone know some averages per hardcover/paperback? Obviously the more established the author the bigger the cut, and each publisher probably works out different deals for each book, but I am kinda curious just what % of a HC or PB book gets to the average author... maybe I'll check into this elsewhere too.
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Postby TheDukester » 28 Oct 2008 16:14

Hunchback Jack wrote:I don't know much about publishing, but that's hardly "tanking".

Versus expectations, though, it's tanking in a major way.

All of the Hiking Hack/Sidekick efforts have made the NYT list (as Kevvie has pointed out multiple times). But Paula was supposed to be special: "the direct sequel to Dune" and all that crap. There was also a fair amount of marketing/advertising done. In general, it seemed like TOR/HLP "got everyone on board" for PoD, and my contention is that the results have not been equal to the effort.

Hunchback Jack wrote:... or the HLP can go the Star Wars route - more books by more authors at lower print runs.

I wouldn't have a huge problem with this. My entire objective is to get rid of Kevin J. Anderson specifically. The HLP, as I've hammered on many times, could not possibly do worse by picking an entirely new author or authors. There's nothing lower on the scale than a guy who literally hikes out a "Dune" book once a month ... and then thinks he's hot shit for doing so.
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Postby Omphalos » 28 Oct 2008 16:22

Baraka Bryan wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Baraka Bryan wrote:not to mention the fixed costs are peanuts when compared to margins on HC books. you've got some salary shit and equipment depreciation, and that's basically it. the variable costs (ink, paper, distribution) are virtually nil per book when compared to the $18 price tag so you don't even have to sell tons to break even, so unfortunately since they know there is a fan base out there that will make the books profitable, i think they'll continue dictating and printing the excrements :(


you are missing a whole lot there bryan. Publishing margins are quite tight. Paydays for authors may be big, but the publishing house makes its money of volume and diversity, and not often with one project like Judith Reagan used to do it. Publicity and distribution are huge costs. Especially distribution because it is largely handled by outside vendor with a contract. Publishers dont have their own distribution networks usually.


typically though, publishers will have strong relationships with their distributers and the shipping on a truckload of books may be large, but when broken down per unit, it's peanuts. in fact some arrangements with retailers may have shipping terms of FOB (free on board) shipping point, which means the retailer incorporates those costs (hence the high shipping costs to consumers to recoup those costs)

as for publicity, often times, lots of the advertising is done by the retailers themselves and accomplished through reviews and 'top xxx' lists and the like, none of which cost the publisher (unless they're bribing to get on there :P ). how many actual publisher driven advertisements do you see? there are no tv commercials for individual books, rarely will the publisher take out a newspaper or radio ad, and if they do put out a magazine of new and upcoming books, you have to spread that cost across all the books in that publication (possibly allocating based on page area per book).

at $18 bucks a pop, the actual variable cost per copy is minimal to the publisher, and then the writers take their cut.


Well, that may be the case, but that doesnt mean that publishing margins arent tight. The market is glutted with them, so if they dont compete and lower their price, then they lose out. And distributers typically screw publishers right and left. They know that if they somehow do something so eggregious that they lose a contract, there is always someone else out there to contract with them. As a matter of fact, there are way too few distributors out ther, and that is one of the reasons book prices are so high, and its the main reason that there is so much consolidation in the publishing market these days.

As for publicity, Im not talking about hanging cards in bookstores. I mean national radio/TV/Magazine ads, which are not cheap, and are handled by publishers.

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Postby Sole Man » 28 Oct 2008 18:38

I walk back and fourth in front of me house every day at 5:00 to 6:00 P.M. a

Does that mean I'm qualified to write some kind of "Quel" to the greatest Sceince Fiction book of all time?

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Postby SandRider » 28 Oct 2008 18:54

more than qualified

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Postby Frybread » 29 Oct 2008 11:51

A Thing of Eternity wrote:What kind of royalties are authors generally looking at anyways? Does anyone know some averages per hardcover/paperback? Obviously the more established the author the bigger the cut, and each publisher probably works out different deals for each book, but I am kinda curious just what % of a HC or PB book gets to the average author... maybe I'll check into this elsewhere too.


It depends on the publisher. Some pay a flat rate to their writers, while others pay an advanced sum and then royalties on future sales.

For royalties on HC, I've seen 10% to 15% based on how many are sold.

For paperbacks, I've read about authors getting 7.5% to 10% based on sales and if it is trade or mass market.

Being a hack who has a lot of experience writing in (messing up) other franchises, my guess is Kevin knows how to get a good deal that ensures he is guaranteed to come out on top.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 29 Oct 2008 12:34

Frybread wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:What kind of royalties are authors generally looking at anyways? Does anyone know some averages per hardcover/paperback? Obviously the more established the author the bigger the cut, and each publisher probably works out different deals for each book, but I am kinda curious just what % of a HC or PB book gets to the average author... maybe I'll check into this elsewhere too.


It depends on the publisher. Some pay a flat rate to their writers, while others pay an advanced sum and then royalties on future sales.

For royalties on HC, I've seen 10% to 15% based on how many are sold.

For paperbacks, I've read about authors getting 7.5% to 10% based on sales and if it is trade or mass market.

Being a hack who has a lot of experience writing in (messing up) other franchises, my guess is Kevin knows how to get a good deal that ensures he is guaranteed to come out on top.


That's actually quite a bit higher than I was expecting.
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Postby Omphalos » 29 Oct 2008 13:21

Frybread wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:What kind of royalties are authors generally looking at anyways? Does anyone know some averages per hardcover/paperback? Obviously the more established the author the bigger the cut, and each publisher probably works out different deals for each book, but I am kinda curious just what % of a HC or PB book gets to the average author... maybe I'll check into this elsewhere too.


It depends on the publisher. Some pay a flat rate to their writers, while others pay an advanced sum and then royalties on future sales.

For royalties on HC, I've seen 10% to 15% based on how many are sold.

For paperbacks, I've read about authors getting 7.5% to 10% based on sales and if it is trade or mass market.

Being a hack who has a lot of experience writing in (messing up) other franchises, my guess is Kevin knows how to get a good deal that ensures he is guaranteed to come out on top.


True, but most of that is paid up front, and is used to live on while producing the next work. Look at Orson Scott Card. In his book about how to write SF he said that he has only gotten one subsequent royalty check in his life. In every other case the advance royalties more than paid for any subsequent sales. It may be true that he can command six or even seven figure advances (and that is what they are: advances on royalty payments), but even with a top selling author like him the publisher never really has to pay any more. What does that mean? That publishers are probably overpaying their authors.