Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Mr. Ellenberg, contrary to what we all hear, said he believes an author should spend 90 percent of their time writing, and 10 percent on marketing. That may be fine for Palin or King, but most publishers have cut their budgets and an author is expected to take an active part in marketing. In fact, most of the burden has now shifted to the author.
Someone from the audience asked how much of the print run needed to be sold in order to be deemed successful. He said that 50 percent of the print run was the usual dividing line. Less than 50 percent sales is considered unsatisfactory. Fifty percent is “okay”. If your book sells above the 50 percent mark it’s doing well.
Print runs are frequently between three and six thousand, with big houses printing fifteen to thirty thousand.
As for the demise of printed books, he believes there will always be physical books and readers to buy them. They make beautiful gifts, they stay on your shelves, and don’t get read and deleted. He emphasized that our goals as authors should be a presence in all markets: audio, print, and digital. Like TV and radio, the industry will evolve and thrive.