Showing posts with label E.L. James. Show all posts
Showing posts with label E.L. James. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 14

The World's Top Earning Authors of 2013

The World's Top Earning Authors of 2013

Quick blog post today.

I'm in the middle of polishing a story that's almost ready to be sent off. The love-hate relationship I have with my manuscripts has veered over to the hate side of things and I just-want-to-get-the-bloody-thing-done! It's what comes from going over it about a billion times.

I used to feel guilty about hating my manuscript--the emotion only lasts for a while, after it has been out to door for about a week I'll love it again--until Stephen King admitted in, On Writing, that he sometimes hates his manuscripts too.

In any case, I'll leave you with what I call 'the dream list.' Personally, I'm hoping to be #17 one day. #1 would be great but then my life wouldn't be my own, I'd have to dress up and put on makeup to go to the corner store for milk! #17 has millions of dollars and anonymity. Kudos.

From Forbes: The World's Top-Earning Authors.

1. E.L. James, $95 million
2. James Patterson, $91 million
3. Suzanne Collins, $55 million
4. Bill O'Reilly, $28 million
5. Danielle Steel, $26 million
6. Jeff Kinney, $24 million
7. Janet Evanovich, $24 million
8. Nora Roberts, $23 million
9. Dan Brown, $22 million
10. Stephen King, $20 million
11. Dean Koontz, $20 million
12. John Grisham, $18 million
13. David Balacci, $15 million
14. Rick Riordan, $14 million
15. J.K. Rowling, $13 million
16. George R.R. Martin, $12 million

Photo credit: "Winter Meal" by Jan Tik under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Friday, April 19

50 Shades Of Grey: The Most Profitable Books Of All Time?

50 Shades Of Grey: The Most Profitable Books Of All Time? Love it or hate it, E.L. Jame's 50 Shades of Grey series is a huge economic success.

I knew that. We all knew that.

What I didn't know was how profitable.

In The Incredible Economics of Fifty Shades of Grey Kevin Rose writes:
It's no secret that E.L. James's Fifty Shades trilogy is the kind of monster publishing success that comes along only once or twice a decade. ....
. . . .
But we didn't know the full extent of the Fifty Shades financial bonanza until yesterday, when Random House's parent company--the giant German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG--released its preliminary annual report. What the report revealed is that Fifty Shades's success has propped up not just Random House, but the entire corporate structure above it. [Emphasis mine]

The Wall Street Journal has this to say:
At a time when other publishers are struggling to generate sales growth, Random House's world-wide revenue rose 23% to €2.1 billion ($2.7 billion). Operating earnings before interest and taxes rose nearly 76% to €325 million.

Fifty Shades vs Harry Potter

For all its success, E.L. James's series has yet to outsell J.K. Rowling's Potter series. Yes, Fifty Shades has outsold Harry Potter on Amazon, but according to The Wall Street Journal its worldwide sales are still lower.

Let me try to put that in perspective.
E.L. James's "Fifty Shades" erotic trilogy sold more than 70 million copies in print, audio and e-book editions in English, German and Spanish from March through December, according to Bertelsmann ... The first of the books was published in the U.S. in March.
. . . .
For a sense of scale, Random House's second biggest selling North American title last year—Gillian Flynn's thriller "Gone Girl," which has been a national best-seller for 41 weeks—sold more than two million copies in the U.S. and Canada in all formats, between June and December. (The Wall Street Journal)
50 Shades sold 70 million copies while the second most popular book in the same period sold 2 million.

I'm staggered.

70 million in just a year. Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code sold, as of 2009, 80 million copies, but that was over a period of six years (the book was published in 2003).

By the way, The Da Vinci Code was published by Doubleday in the US and, at that time, Doubleday was owned by Bertelsmann.

That company has been lucky!

To answer the question I posed in the title: Is 50 Shades of Grey the most profitable series of all time? No, it's not.

Not yet.

Do you think E.L. James' 50 Shades series will go on to outsell Rowling's Potter series?

Other articles you might like:

- When Is A Story Ready To Publish?
- Owen Egerton's 30 Writing Tips, Inspiration For Your Muse
- 3 Ways To Create An Antihero Your Readers Identify With

Photo link: "Money" by AMagill under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Friday, August 10

The Richest Woman Writers: Suzanne Collins, E.L. James & J.K. Rowling

James Patterson and Stephen King move over! Okay, maybe not quite yet, but we're getting closer.
Men still top the list of the world’s highest-earning authors, but this year it’s the women on the list who’ve been making the boldest moves, led by a trio of genre phenoms: Suzanne Collins, E.L. James and J.K. Rowling.

With $20 million in earnings, almost all of it from sales of her “Hunger Games” books, Collins didn’t quite make the most recent edition of the FORBES Celebrity 100. But that was only because she had yet to see her full portion of the proceeds from the first “Hunger Games” film.
. . . .

At the height of “Fifty Shades” mania, the erotic novels were estimated to be generating as much as $1.3 million per week for their author, E.L. James. And that’s not counting the $5 million she received from Universal Pictures and Focus Films for the theatrical rights. Add it all up and James is assured of a place near the top of next year’s top authors list.
. . . .

In September, Little, Brown will publish “The Casual Vacancy,” Rowling’s first novel for adults. The reported $8 million advance Rowling received for the book was enough to vault her back onto the Celebrity 100, with $17 million in estimated earnings.
Read more here: Forbes: Women On The Rise Among The World's Top-Earning Authors.

Further reading:
- Fifty Shades of Grey - Oh My!
- 50 Shades Of Alice In Wonderland: Another Indie Success Story
- J.K. Rowling's Next Book, The Casual Vacancy, On Sale Sept 27, 2012

Photo credit: photo by tobym on Flickr

Saturday, July 28

50 Shades Of Alice In Wonderland: Another Indie Success Story

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Melinda DuChamp is following in E.L. James' footsteps--or at least riding her coattails--with her novel 50 Shades Of Alice In Wonderland, free till Monday (July 30th). In a way, this is fan fiction as well since it is based on the characters in Lewis Carroll's novel, although this version is definitely for adults only.

Joe Konrath interviewed Melinda on his blog, here is an excerpt:
Joe: Why did you start self-publishing?
Melinda: I've had shelf novels that never sold for various reasons, and it seemed like an obvious way to supplement my income. Now they have become my main source of income.
Joe: Would you go back to legacy publishing?
Melinda: I go where the money is. When my agent gets an offer, I listen. But the offer has to be serious to make me consider it.
Joe: So why call it Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland?

Melinda: I'm not above riding on coattails, and I don't believe Ms. James will mind, considering the inspiration for her trilogy.
This is something for writers to consider if they don't have a large backlist and want to increase sales, and by 'this' I do not mean writing erotica. Writing erotic novels isn't easier than writing in any other genre, in fact isn't likely more difficult.

What I'm talking about is associating yourself or your book with something already popular. In Melinda's case she is doing this with both Lewis Carroll and E.L. James. So far her strategy seems to be working. Joe writes:
Also worth noting is this ebook was only released a few days ago, and is already on the Top 100 free list in the UK, and close to the Top 100 in the US. It got there without any name recognition, publicity, promotion, marketing, or advertising. I tweeted about it earlier today, and got in touch with Melinda to request this interview after I'd read the book (my cover artist showed me the cover last week) but it was already at its current rankings before I did so.
It's something to consider! Hmm, I could write, "50 Shades of  Bourne Identity In Wonderland," ... or maybe not.

If you're a first time author, or just using a pen name for the first time, I hope you find something that works for you. Remember, whatever happens, keep writing! Cheers.

Related reading:
- Fifty Shades of Grey - Oh My!
- How To Increase Your Sales: 6 Tips From A Successful Indie Author
- 8 Ways To Become A Better Writer
- Marketing Strategies For Writers

Thursday, June 7

Steve Wasserman Compares Readers of Genre Fiction to Drug Addicts

Kris Rusch hit another home run with her Thursday column. Her article will be met with a resounding, "Heck ya!" by any who felt insulted on behalf of E.L. James because of the way she was treated at the Authors Guild Dinner.

In case you missed it, here's the offensive part:
A number of the evening’s speakers, who also included writers David Rakoff and Sarah Jones, made obligatory digs at 50 Shades of Grey, an erotic work derived from Twilight fan fiction and derided as “mommy porn” that has inexplicably topped the New York Times bestseller list.
- Authors hail Teddy Roosevelt, rip ‘mommy porn’ at annual gala
Really? E.L. James is an author whose books have sold well, hers is a success story, but if she thought the Authors Guild would welcome her she was wrong. Instead they act like common schoolyard bullies. Why? Well, I'm guessing it was because her work was self-published in the beginning, before Random House signed her, and because it sold like wildfire.

Where will this bullying end?

In a recent article, The Amazon Effect, Steve Wasserman tucks into writers and readers of genre fiction. What follows is excerpted from Kris Rusch's article.

Kris writes: 
[Wasserman] writes, “Readers of e-books are especially drawn to escapist and overtly commercial genres (romance, mysteries and thrillers, science fiction), and in these categories e-book sales have bulked up to as large as 60 percent.”

In other words, junk sells better in e-book format, something you hear a lot from the folks in traditional publishing these days.

Wasserman then quotes an unnamed traditional publishing executive who says, “But as Amazon’s six other publishing imprints (Montlake Romance, AmazonCrossing, Thomas & Mercer, 47North, Amazon Encore, The Domino Project) have discovered, in certain genres (romance, science fiction and fantasy) formerly relegated to the moribund mass-market paperback, readers care not a whit about cover design or even good writing, and have no attachment at all to the book as object. Like addicts, they just want their fix at the lowest possible price, and Amazon is happy to be their online dealer.”

Is it any wonder that traditional publishing is in trouble, with that attitude? The books that sell well don’t deserve (in their opinion) the respect of good covers or good marketing, and the readers certainly don’t deserve their respect. Apparently, the book collectors who predominate in science fiction and fantasy don’t care about books as objects (that’ll be news to them). Apparently people who read this junk just want their fix, like any other drug addict.

Insulted yet?

No wonder readers who enjoy genre fiction like to read it on their e-readers. The covers from traditional publishers are deliberately ugly, the writing is awful (supposedly—and if so, then what does traditional publishing bring to the table, if they publish any old crappy writer?), and the people who publish it are awfully judgmental. Best to enjoy it in private, without someone leering at the awful cover that the publishers have put on the book.

Go back to that Authors Guild meeting, note that they made fun of a book that first sold well as an indie title in e-book, and ask yourself who those writers identify with? I have a hunch it’s not those of us who write genre fiction.
What's the moral of the story? Is there one? I don't know. I'll admit to being disillusioned when it comes to traditional publishing and the ideals it stands for.

There is good news, though. With the demise of the big bookstore chains there has been a resurgence of independent bookstores. Book sales, both of digital and paper books, are up.

It's always nice to end on a positive note. :)


Monday, May 21

Fifty Shades of Grey - Oh My!

I'm not quite finished the Fifty Shades series by author E.L. James but I've read enough to be surprised by the fuss over the trilogy, especially the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey. Which isn't to say I don't think they're wonderful books.

Here's what I'm talking about. I found this paragraph in the Wikipedia entry for Fifty Shades of Grey:
By the release of the final volume in January 2012, news networks in the United States had begun to report on the Fifty Shades trilogy as an example of viral marketing and of the rise in popularity of female erotica, attributing its success to the discreet nature of e-reading devices.
I feel I must have been living under a rock for the past few months, but the first I heard of Fifty Shades was when I did by blog post for the indie bestseller Wool and that book was compared to Fifty Shades of Grey in its sudden and astonishing popularity. Since nothing else was said about Fifty Shades the description aroused my curiosity. When I walked into Chapters the next day I had forgotten all about the book, but when I saw it perched at the top of the bestsellers bookshelf, I picked it up and began reading.

And I read, and read, and read. By the time my friend came back from his clothes shopping I was 20 pages in and thoroughly hooked. What attracted me wasn't salacious curiosity about the hinted at peek into the world of DBSM, it was good writing and the promise of a sweet love story.

At the moment I'm a third of the way through James' last book, Fifty Shades Freed, and would describe the series as being more about the redemptive power of love than anything else.

In a sense, Fifty Shades is an urban fairy tale.

Being of a certain age I have come to the opinion that people do not change drastically. Someone with issues on the scale of Christian Grey is not likely to transform themselves because of the power of love. (And, yes, I do glare and youngsters and sporadically growl "Humbug!" during Xmas.) But it's a nice thought.

I gather that James' prose has been criticized, but I wonder what they are comparing it to. Margaret Atwood? Neil Gaiman? Stephen King? Not many writers could stand up to that sort of scrutiny. Personally I thought she did fine, but I'm comparing her with writers like Charlaine Harris (The Southern Vampire Series, True Blood), Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake Series) and even Kim Harrison (The Hollows Series).

 Please let me be clear, I love Charlaine Harris's and Kim Harrison's books, and I adored the first four or so books in Laurrell Hamilton's Anita Blake series. (As an aside I'd like to mention that each of these authors have written steamy sex scenes but I saw no criticisms similar to those leveled at James. But then, to be fair, the scenes to which I refer didn't involve BDSM, just vampires -- I write that tongue in cheek).

Here are excerpts of the non-steamy variety from all four authors, see what you think:

First excerpt:
I'd been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.
Ever since vampires came out of the coffin (as they laughingly put it) two years ago, I'd hoped one would come to Bon Temps. We had all the other minorities in our little town--why not the newest, the legally recognized undead? But rural northern Louisiana wasn't too tempting to vampires, apparently; on the other hand, New Orleans was a real center for them--the whole Anne Rice thing, right?

Second Excerpt:
I stood in the shadows of a deserted shop front across from The Blood and Brew Pub, trying not to be obvious as I tugged my black leather pants back up where they belonged. This is pathetic, I thought, eyeing the rain-emptied street. I was way too good for this.

Apprehending unlicensed and black-art witches was my usual line of work, as it takes a witch to catch a witch. But the streets were quieter than usual this week. Everyone who could make it was at the West Coast for our yearly convention, leaving me with this gem of a run. A simple snag and drag. It was just the luck of the Turn that had put me here in the dark and rain.

Third Excerpt:
Willie McCoy had been a jerk before he died. His being dead didn’t change that. He sat across from me, wearing a loud plaid sport jacket. The polyester pants were primary Crayola green. His short, black hair was slicked back from a thin, triangular face. He had always reminded me of a bit player in a gangster movie. The kind that sells information, runs errands, and is expendable.

Of course now that Willie was a vampire, the expendable part didn’t count anymore. But he was still selling information and running errands. No, death hadn’t changed him much. But just in case, I avoided looking directly into his eyes. It was standard policy for dealing with vampires. He was a slime bucket, but now he was an undead slime bucket. It was a new category for me.

Fourth Excerpt:
I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair--it just won't behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my hair into submission. I just not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet. Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt, once more, to bring it under control with the brush. I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up. My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope that I look semi-presentable.

Excerpt One: "Dead Until Dark," by Charlaine Harris
Excerpt Two: "Dead Witch Walking," by Kim Harrison
Excerpt Three: "Guilty Pleasures," by Laurell K. Hamilton
Excerpt Four: "Fifty Shades of Grey," by E.L. James

Yes, all right, James' excerpt -- and, by the way, these were all the first paragraphs of the first book in their respective series -- was about boys and girls living in this world, a world not populated by dark, brooding, sexy and forbidden supernatural creatures, but since her book did start off as fan fiction for the Twilight Series I thought it was appropriate. In any case, I don't read many romance books, so I used what I had in my bookshelf.

If you haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey I'd recommend giving the first few pages a try.

Whatever is currently on your nightstand, happy reading!

You might also be interested in:
- 19 Ways To Grow Your Twitter Following.
- How To Sell 100 Books Per Day: 6 Things You Need To Do
- Writers: In Order To Win We Must Embrace Failure

"Fifty Shades of Grey - Oh My!" copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.