Why Book Buying Stats Might Stifle the Next Great Author

Given the pressure to reduce costs, something had to give in the formerly genteel world of book publishing, and it’s not the publishers…

Many mid-list authors have fallen victim to increasingly sophisticated, widely available sales data, according to agents and publishers. Publishers can now assess every author’s lifelong sales thanks to such services as Nielsen Bookscan in the United States and BookNet Canada.

And once reduced to pure numbers, those track records determine the fate of proven writers looking for cash advances to begin their next books…

The upheaval is such that an author like Dan Brown “would never get published now, because his first three books sold nothing,” Bukowski said. But as everybody knows, Brown’s fourth novel, The Da Vinci Code, has sold more than 80-million copies.

Even when they agree to publish the fourth book of a mid-list author, publishers today hedge their bets by paying minimal advances based on past sales of the author’s work.

Why Book Buying Stats Might Stifle the Next Great Author

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