Ep 29: The State of the Industry (with J. Scott Savage)

Rob is gone this week, off being sick, and he’s replaced by J. Scott Savage, who recently sold a MG series, The Grimville Case Files, to Harper Childrens.

First, Marion gives us a rundown on the latest news in the publishing industry, highlighting the latest developments in lawsuits, ebooks, self-publishing and more.

Then, we talk about the state of the industry–what’s healthy and what’s not; where are we seeing growth; what should authors do to prepare for the future.

Finally, we play Bad Romance, and Sarah, Marion, and Scott all miss a fantastic joke opportunity that Rob was screaming at them while he edited later. See if you can guess it.

Also, you may notice that the sound is funny sometimes. We were recording off Google+ VOIP. Either that, or Scott is a robot.

To listen, use the media player below, or download here, or subscribe to us on iTunes.

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17 Responses to “Ep 29: The State of the Industry (with J. Scott Savage)”

  1. Michelle Knowlton
    August 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Love the industry news update segment.

  2. Heidi
    August 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    When I hear industry professionals discuss self-pub vs. traditional pub, it seems that they seldom address one of the central issues: as an aspiring author who is NOT writing in a niche market, I feel that if my book is unable to find an agent or publisher, it’s probably because my book is simply not very good. And if I choose to self-publish it, it will still not be very good.

    What do you guys think of the role that publishing offers as indicators of book quality play in an aspiring author’s decision to self-publish? I’m not referring to niche books like Eden’s regencies at the beginning of her career or Correia’s MHI. I’m talking about book whose genres are doing well in the current market but are still not selling.

    • Rob Wells
      August 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

      Hey Heidi,

      I wrote a whole blog on that very topic: http://www.robisonwells.com/2011/02/self-publishing-be-wary-of-the-hype/

      I think we also talked about the issue a little in Episode 8. (We talked about making bad decisions because you’re desperate to be published.)

      • Heidi
        August 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

        I remember that. I’d like to hear even more about that. For instance, how can you truly know if your book is unlucky or just bad? What are the REAL percentages, do you guys think, of books that aren’t selling because the big ol’ gatekeepers are oppressive as opposed to those that aren’t selling because they stink? What do you realistically need to plan on doing to promote your books if you self-pub? What do you need to be aware of, like that many of the promotional venues (bookstore readings, newspaper interviews, blog reviews, and conventions) aren’t open to self-pubbed authors? I’d just love to hear some really blunt, candid talk addressing the reality that most books just aren’t ready for print. It seems like most people who discuss self-pubbing dance around this idea.

        • Rob Wells
          August 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

          It would definitely be a great topic, and I’ll add it to the list.

          Personally, I’m still really leery of anything self-pubbed; if I don’t personally know the author, or have the book recommended with glowing five star reviews by someone I trust, I won’t ever give a self-pubbed book a chance. Maybe that bias is getting outdated, but I’ve been forced to read so much self-pubbed junk (as part of various awards juries) that it’ll take a lot to change my opinion.

          And, as always, the caveat: I absolutely know there’s some great self-pubbed stuff out there. I just still think if I pick up a random self-pubbed book and a random trad pubbed book, the odds are still heavily in trad pubs’ favor.

          • Heidi
            August 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

            Rob, I feel the same way about reading self-pubbed material. I want some way to know that what I’m about to read is awesome. It either needs a really good endorsement from an INDEPENDENT and credible source or a decent mix of Amazon reviews with real discussion. (I’m always suspicious of self-pubbeds that have six five-star reviews. I always think they’re parents, siblings, and RS presidents). At least with a conventionally published book, I know that someone besides the author and his/her immediate cadre thinks the book is at least worth literally the paper it’s printed on.

  3. Heidi
    August 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Another podcast I think your audience would love one with genre definitions and examples. F’rinstance, what’s the difference between horror and thriller? Between supernatural and paranormal? How do you know if you’re writing paranormal thriller or supernatural horror or psychological something else? Also, examples of books one might read if one thinks one’s writing in various genres would be fabulous.

    • Heather Moore
      September 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      In episode 28, Dan Wells defines the supernatural genre as a book with a guy on the cover who has his shirt off. Dan also says that paranormal is when there is a hot girl on the cover.

      Horror is when non-human beings/objects have human/living traits.

      Thriller is a high-stakes suspense novel. In other words, if the conflict is not resolved–and fast–there will be major consequences (usually involving the death of many people or the destruction of something major) . . . (not to be confused with Michael Jackson’s song about zombies)

  4. Chris
    November 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    I see your Google! (no really, your GA analytics script is showing below the footer).

    Decent episode, but its missing something. Or someone. The dynamic just isn’t the same.

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    [...] Appendix Podcast. Episode #29. J. Scott (Jeff) Savage visits the group, and they talk about the state of the publishing industry, [...]

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