Friday News: ambitiously presented author earnings,, suspicious book similarities, UK digital lending trends, and video game Romance novel covers
Author Earnings – The Report – Here’s a link to the much discussed “report” by Hugh Howey that he’s using to assert the supremacy of self-publishing. His data captures two days of sales and then extrapolates annual earnings based on one placement on the charts. Without question, Howey’s data is a good start to a necessary conversation about what is selling on Amazon, but how much one can extrapolate from that (as Howey does) is up for debate (or should be). Of course authors will have to decide for themselves whether the data is useful.
This data provided one piece of a complex puzzle. The rest of the puzzle hit my inbox with a mighty thud last week. I received an email from an author with advanced coding skills who had created a software program that can crawl online bestseller lists and grab mountains of data. All of this data is public—it’s online for anyone to see—but until now it’s been extremely difficult to gather, aggregate, and organize. This program, however, is able to do in a day what would take hundreds of volunteers with web browsers and pencils a week to accomplish. The first run grabbed data on nearly 7,000 e-books from several bestselling genre categories on Amazon. Subsequent runs have looked at data for 50,000 titles across all genres. You can ask this data some pretty amazing questions, questions I’ve been asking for well over a year [link]. And now we finally have some answers. –Author Earnings
Links: Good and Funny Stuff to Soothe the Part Where Plagiarism Is Still Ugly – Sarah Wendell reports on two cases of questionable similarities, and I’m adding a bonus one from a recent Dear Author review for the hat trick. First, you can compare passages from Marilyn Lee’s 2008 book Skin Deep to those in Leila Lacey’s 2014 book, Vixen’s Curves. Then there is the case of JB Lynn’s book Nearly Departed, which Kate Rothwell has blogged about, due to similarities with Wendy Roberts’s The Remains of the Dead. Then Jane reviewed Mariana Zapata’s Under Locke, noting similarities to several other books, including Karina Halle’s Artist’s Trilogy. Whether or not all of these cases are straight out copying, there have definitely been more questions lately about how books in the genre are overlapping or being “deconstructed” or borrowed from, or whatever you want to call it. As I’ve said before, we this really needs to be publicly discussed more readily and prominently.
Lynn’s book has been removed from retailers, however. The book was published by “Gemma Halliday Publishing,” a boutique publisher of mystery and romance run by author Gemma Halliday. The book also appears to have been removed from Gemma Halliday’s site. Lynn has published several other books, including two in her Neurotic Hitwoman series with Avon. I’m guessing readers and authors armed with combs and Google are going over those other works, too. –Smart Bitches Trashy Books
Libraries see surge in erotic book borrowing – Okay, before you start rolling your eyes, note that the title of this article is sensationalistic and misleading, because the piece is a broader look at what books are being borrowed in digital form from UK public libraries. Since Laurel K. Hamilton is being classified as “erotic fiction,” well, you can draw your own conclusions. Still, there’s some interesting data here, as well as a note that “all lending income goes directly to the author.”
Hilary Mantel becomes the first Booker winner to make the top 10 since PLR records began 20 years ago, with Bring Up the Bodies cited as the eighth most borrowed book.
However, US romance writer Danielle Steel dropped out of the top 10 most borrowed adult fiction authors list for the first time since comprehensive PLR records began in 1988/89. –BBC News
Power Couples : Classic Video Games Reimagined as Romance Novels – I think this is pretty cute — part satire, part homage, and a lot of clever. How can you resist the love story between “Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man” or the tag line for Shot to the Heart: Their Dreams of Desire Just Flew South . . . Forever. It’s the tender story of a dog and a duck. Heh. –Shutterstock