The NY Times has an article up on what makes a bestseller. Kind of scary to read, but hey – that’s what you get for being in this business.
“Publishers do engage in limited numbers crunching. In estimating value, editors rely heavily on an author�s previous sales or on sales of similar titles. Based on those figures and some analysis � about the popularity of the genre, the likely audience, the possible newsworthiness of the topic of the economy � they work up profit and loss projections.
The advance payment to the author is often an estimate of the first year�s royalties, usually 10 percent to 15 percent of expected sales. The advance is a liability for the publisher because it is a fixed cost. It doesn�t have to be repaid by the author if it turns out to be an overestimate, which it usually is. But when earned royalties exceed the advance amount, the author is paid more.
Calculating the advance accurately would be a prized skill, but no editors claim to have a scientific handle on how a book will sell. Instead, they emphasize the role of intuition and say that while big unexpected losses and gains do happen, somehow it all works out.”
Or this gem:
“People think publishing is a business, but it�s a casino.”
Meg Cabot on Fame & Fortune via Bankrate.com:
In art school, they teach you to work on the whole, not the parts, because if you start with the details, something always gets messed up, so you make a rough sketch of your piece before you go in and start filling in the details. I find that the same thing works for writing—you need to have a rough sketch in your head of how the story is going to go, beginning to end, before you can go in and start writing it. Otherwise, it always gets messed up somehow.
And at the same site, http://www.bankrate.com/cnn/news/investing/20041115a1.asp”>Laurell K. Hamilton, merchandising, and her writing life:
I had put a vampire story and a horror story together to get into the writing program. It wasn’t like I hid what I was going to write. And what I learned in my junior year was that the head of the department thought she would cure me and teach me to write something worthwhile, and when she realized she couldn’t convert me, she decided to ruin me so that I would never write. She told me that I was a horrible writer and that I would never publish. She sliced me and diced me and served me on toast. She did her best to make sure I would never write. She told me I was a corrupting influence on the other students. So I had to leave the writing program, since she was the head of it.
Success is the best revenge. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
Finally, for all the Transformers fans, some interviews with the actors and director of the film.