Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blog Capsule

A lot of people think I'm psychic. I'm not. I make a few educated guesses. Occasionally I just bet on the right random pony. Mostly it's simple dumb luck. Honestly, if I really could predict the future, I would not be Paperback Writer. I would be Tibetan Cave-Dwelling Chick.

But after yesterday's bizarre coincidence (and really, that's all it was) I'm willing to test my own unpsychic ability to prove once and for all that I have no ESP. This will be a decidedly unscientific test; I'm just going to make a blog capsule post and predict five things I think will happen by this time next year (March 28, 2011.) If I'm right about all of them, I'll give up and admit I'm psychic. If I'm not, then I get to gloat.

Let's see, looking into my fake* crystal ball here . . .

1. A major publisher will move a big chunk of their titles into print-on-demand to test the waters, and in the process suspend author advances in favor of quarterly royalty payments.

2. Enhanced content will be the next big author promo trend.

3. The Author's Guild will make so many more concessions to Google they will be sued by their own membership.

4. The e-book market will hit a plateau as the novelty of e-readers wears off and people decide books are not as entertaining as TV, video games or DVDs, which they will be able to play on a new type of crossover e-reader manufactured in the far east that is intended for use with animated anime (aka comic books that can be set to be read or be played like a cartoon.)

5. The next big new genre trend will arrive by the explosion via an unknown author whose debut goes platinum, and will be a combo of alternate history with a kind of mashup between urban fantasy and steampunk.

I am not using any insider information to formulate these predictions, btw; they are just guesses. Now if you want to be part of the experiment, copy this post and save it somewhere you know you'll check at the end of March 2011, along with a note to stop by here. I'll put a reminder on my calendar and in exactly 365 days post again with the list and how accurate -- or not -- that my predictions were.

Okay, now it's your turn to play psychic: what predictions would you make about the biz for next year? Share them with us in comments.

*it's actually a paperweight I bought on sale from B&N.com

23 comments:

  1. what is "enhanced content"?

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  2. Keita Haruka6:46 AM

    I'm game! Date reminder set on the computer and the phone. :D

    I'm willing to bet you a bookwish that at least 3 of those predictions will pan out. ;-)

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  3. You have interesting views on the publishing world. I agree with what you have said about the e-book market; I think the novelty will wear off. However, I can see this electronic format forced on readers by the publishers who wish to cut printing costs. Firstly I think that they will stop printing classical literature (this will only be available in e-book format), then I think they'll move onto the more modern pieces. Government legislation will be passed which states that the mass printing of books is unnecessarily harmful to the environment and publishers will be given a quota of books per year that they are allowed to print. The publishers will publicly moan about such a law, but secretly be jumping around in excitement that their readers will have no choice but to buy the same book at the same price but with half the production cost. It will be a sad day when that happens.

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  4. You're right about 1,2, and 4, at least. Will see about 3 and 5! If you're right about all five, you'll never hear the end of it.

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  5. 1. A low-cost e-reader. Perhaps about $99.

    2. To offset costs, it will come with a subscription service. Less like book of the month club and more like netflix. You pick your books that you want, and you can have three at at time on your reader, you "return" one (the reader wipes it out, like a Kindle is apt to do at any moment) to get another.

    3. Reading books on paper is still the most common way to read. E-books are a part of the market, they are not the market.

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  6. David wrote: What is "enhanced content"?

    Enhanced content is a phrase publishers are using to refer to additional text and some other electronic bells and whistles included in an e-book (for which they charge more money than a standard edition.) Here's an article on David Baldacci's latest release with enhanced content.

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  7. Keita wrote: I'm willing to bet you a bookwish that at least 3 of those predictions will pan out.

    All right, you're on -- my side bet will you will be if three of the predictions come true, I will grant you a bookwish. But if not, you agree to give a book to someone in your corner of the planet. Deal?

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  8. Every writer who reads this blog is now brainstorming ideas for alternate histories that combine urban fantasy and steampunk. ^^;;

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  9. Gareth wrote: However, I can see this electronic format forced on readers by the publishers who wish to cut printing costs.

    I hope not, but I suspect it will be forced on readers interested in obtaining backlist titles. For example, nearly all of my StarDoc titles remained in print since 2000. But this past year my publisher released e-book versions of them, and the print editions were immediately moved to OOP. Only book one, eight and nine are available in print now.

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  10. Charlene wrote: If you're right about all five, you'll never hear the end of it.

    I know. (sigh) But it's worth the risk. :)

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  11. Margaret wrote: A low-cost e-reader. Perhaps about $99.

    I have to agree with this one. The world wants an inexpensive e-reader, and someone is going to jump on that very soon.

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  12. Alicia wrote: Every writer who reads this blog is now brainstorming ideas for alternate histories that combine urban fantasy and steampunk.

    If anyone sells it, I want a mention in your acknowledgments! Ha.

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  13. "Brainstorming ideas for alternate histories that combine urban fantasy and steampunk"

    Ooooooh. I've been thinking about doing a crossover between Mark Twain and Sherlock Holmes for several years. I worked up a pastiche and published it on my web site, but I've been having trouble coming up with a novel idea that excited me.

    The notion of rebooting it into an alt-history format's giving me a tingle, so I'll have to check it out. If it works, Lynn, I'll have to give you credit.

    Meanwhile, if you want a laugh, the story's here:

    http://www.planetpeschel.com/index?/fiction/story/elementary_my_dear_twain/

    Meanwhile, here's my predictions:

    1. A celebrity will receive a huge advance for a high-profile idea. Numerous commentators and critics will bemoan the commidification of a once-proud art.

    2. As more e-books are produced, there will be more "Is This The Death of (the book, the novel, the poem, Hollywood, Television and the Internet).

    3. The media will report on "Kindle Millionaires," neglecting to report that said KMs put a million works up and managed to sell one copy of each.

    Any takers?

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  14. Several of those sound highly likely. Maye you *are* psychic. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

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  15. No predictions here. Been repeatedly accused of psychic ability, but never convicted. (and I'd like to keep it that way) ;-)

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  16. Hmm, very interesting post. :) We'll see what happens.

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  17. Re: #5: http://www.amazon.com/Boneshaker-Sci-Fi-Essential-Books/dp/0765318415/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269816692&sr=8-1

    :)

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  18. My comments on your predictions -

    1 - I think you are right about this, but in addition to P.O.D. they will include eBooks as well. Does putting a book up on POD count as it being 'in print?"

    2 - Already happening with smaller authors and I think you are right and the big ones will jump in, too.

    3 - Made me laugh, but probably true, but my guess is about 2 years out.

    4 - Yes, once the iPad, and the Courier, and the HP tablet come out there will be a leveling off, how ever I predict that plateau will be short lived and once a generation of kids are reading all their textbooks on e-readers that they won't care so much about paper books.

    5 - Great news for me - cause that's what I'm writing!

    My predictions -

    1 - Publishers will push for a 15% royalty on all new authors in all media.

    2 - There will be a e-book million seller.

    3 - SF will continue to slide due to publishers being afraid to publish new authors of SF.

    4 - The google settlement will not be resolved and will be further complicated by a newcomer hacking all of google's scans and offering the same services. Yahoo, Amazon, and Microsoft jump in, too. Google will cry foul and this whole mess will take a decade to resolve.

    5 - I will not keep to my resolution of 500 words of fiction a day, but I will do way better than last year.

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  19. "5. The next big new genre trend will arrive by the explosion via an unknown author whose debut goes platinum, and will be a combo of alternate history with a kind of mashup between urban fantasy and steampunk."

    Hmmmm... if Ilona Andrews goes platinum does that count? Her vehicles run on magical water during a magic shift. :D
    Very interesting predictions -- I hope google doesn't win.

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  20. 5. Hmm... just the book I'm editing for September, but it's a prediction I'll attempt to make reality.

    No predictions from down here.

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  21. Keita Haruka2:06 PM

    Lynn Viehl wrote: All right, you're on -- my side bet will you will be if three of the predictions come true, I will grant you a bookwish. But if not, you agree to give a book to someone in your corner of the planet. Deal?

    Absolutely! You've got a deal. I'd be willing to post international (I've done that before, so wouldn't have been a problem)if it came to it. :-) Let's see what happens. :D

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  22. Bill, #1 already came true. The new YA series thought up by Hilary Duff with Simon & Schuster.

    Then there was the deal with Miley Cyrus (7 figures) but that was a bit ago.

    And yes, the moaning started immediately. ;)

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  23. Man if all those come true? Random strangers will be coming up to you and asking their future. You coiuld set up a booth at RT!

    As for #5. I've been working on it for YEARS now (I had the idea before I knew how to write). From your lips to God's ears. :-)

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