Publishing Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 3

David beat Goliath! 

At least in the 4th quarter of 2021. While Amazon’s online sales fell 1% in Q4 of 2021, brick-and-mortar bookstores saw an increase of over 43%. Bookstores finished the year up 28% over 2020—a year when all of the retail sector was up only 19.3%. Though that jump still left bookstores short of pre-pandemic 2019 by 1%.

2021 Corporate Reports 

The 2021 year-end results are rolling in from the Big 5 (or 4, or 3, or whatever it is this week).  

Simon & Schuster continues to increase its resale value – even though they are technically in escrow to Penguin Random House (pending a legal contest from the DoJ). S&S ended 2021 up 10% in sales and a whopping 52% increase in operating income.  

Hachette's parent company, Lagardere, reported a 9.4% revenue increase, with earnings up a phenomenal 42.7%.  Hachette’s US division was up 3.7% for the year. The company is, however, forecasting a flat 2022, as it...

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Do You Want to Grab a Coffee?

Have you ever wanted to have coffee with a literary agent? If you could just get some time around the table with one, you could get all your questions answered, right? 

As literary agents, we get this request a lot. Our hope is to provide you with answers so that you avoid those pitfalls and blind spots that so many amateur writers make. It’s amazing what a short conversation can do. 

And as much as we love coffee and talking about books and publishing, there isn’t enough time in the day to handle all these requests. 

That’s why we want you to join us for our FREE author training: Thursday, Feb 24, at 1 pm PT/3 pm CT"The Secret Path to Getting Published."

This training is for:

  • Authors who dream of being traditionally published
  • Authors who want a substantial publishing deal
  • Authors who are seeking representation from a literary agent
  • Authors who keep getting rejected and don’t know what they are doing wrong
  • Authors...
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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 2

Industry analysts are expecting a leaner 2022 for book sales, as the publishing industry is expected to cool…but only because 2020 and 2021 were so good!  The basis for that prognostication is mostly because it’s hard to say with a straight face that 2022 could possibly follow those two older siblings with similar results. Also, with the supply chain still stressed and inflation driving up the cost of manufacturing—and hence the price being charged to the reader/consumer, a dip seems inevitable.

Another leading indicator—December 2021 holiday sales—slipped 1.8% lower than 2020’s numbers.  That dip continued into January 2022, with the first full week of the new year coming in at 13.9% below the prior year’s results. The subsequent two weeks were down 3% and 2.6%, respectively.

2021: Another Big Year in [the] Books (pun intended)

For the first time in the 18-year history of NPD/BookScan, the publishing industry saw large sales...

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What Question Are You Asking Yourself?

If you’ve ever spent a Saturday watching or participating in a track and field meet, you’ve probably witnessed someone falling out of the blocks. The sprinter is crouched and ready, head down and waiting for the starting gun . . . And then, the moment arrives and they stumble and fall. 

It’s a tough thing to witness, even tougher to have experienced.

We’ve all been there, right? We're ready to go, the race is ahead of us . . . and we fall out of the gate.

This time of year, “New Year, New You” gets all the hype. Encouragement is abundant for 2022. And who can dismiss a fresh start, especially after the last couple of years? Like the sprinter, maybe you were ready to go, the race ahead of you . . . and then you crashed. 

If that’s you, today is about helping you up after you've broken the promises you made to yourself about your writing goals, your publishing plans, or any other resolutions you’ve made around...

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Read More Books in 2022

12 books. 

According to the Pew Research Center, the average adult American reads 12 books a year, with half of Americans reading 4 or less. One more time for the people in the back: half of Americans read 4 books or less a year. Ouch. If you want to elevate your writing from amateur to professional, you have to become an avid reader.  At Author Coaching, we want to help you read more books this year. That’s why we put together 3 quick and easy ways to read more books in 2022. 

Here are 3 tips for reading more books this year. 

#1. You’re doing it wrong. 

The easy answer for why people don’t read more is they don’t have time. We get it. Everything is busy. But, there is an easy way to prioritize reading: audiobooks. 

You might not have time to sit down with a book, but you might have a commute to work or work out at the gym or time in the pick-up line for school. There are many moments in the day that can be used to...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 1

Before you drag that dried-out, dead fire hazard to the curb, let’s drink some lukewarm eggnog to celebrate a successful Christmas season of bookselling with our December sales update.

Weekly Book Sales Slow…Then Sprint into the New Year

After months of torrid sales reports for print books, we did see some intermittent slowing from week-to-week as we moved into the fall – as prognosticated by the Market Update, because the comparable prior year numbers from fall of 2020 had cast off any remnant of the early-year COVID slow down and were turbo-charged by the quadrennial fuel of a presidential election cycle. So, we continued to see some fits and starts in the November sales figures.

Thanksgiving week saw print sales up 9.7% over the prior year’s Black Friday week, with Barnes & Noble reporting double-digit sales increases for that all-important shopping weekend— strained supply chain and all. The following week stalled, reporting an essentially flat...

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Change Your Writing in 2022

What’s the one habit that will change your writing in 2022?

Recently during an Author Coaching University session, one of our students, John, asked: "I want to set some writing goals for 2022, so I'm curious about your experience working with many other authors. How do you encourage them to build daily writing goals and habits? Are there goals that you've seen be most effective as you coached other authors?" Great question from John, and we wanted to share it with you here because we know New Year’s resolutions are on our minds.

It’s true, writing is a habit. “Writing requires writing. It demands work,” as we like to say. To do your best work, the type of work that isn’t compromised by noise and distraction, you need a writing habit.

In our last blog post, we recommended James Clear’s Atomic Habits. It’s a great book for building good habits (and maybe breaking some of those bad ones). As Clear points out, “You don’t rise...

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TBR Recommendations

What’s a TBR?

TBR is an acronym that stands for to be read. Many people use it to refer to their reading lists. Now is a great time of year to add books to your TBR. Like you, we believe books are magic, and the right book has the power to change your life.

There are a lot of ways to change your life. You could move, get a degree, start a new job, etc. With any life-changing opportunity, there comes a cost. Change can be expensive, both financially and mentally. If you want to know one of the cheapest, quickest ways to change your life in 2022, read a book.

With that said, here are a few books that we highly recommend for life-changing results.

  • Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is a Yates & Yates favorite. When our clients are trying to prioritize their publishing, their business or ministry, and their personal life, we hand them this book. It has the power to align your life with getting the right things done.
  • When it comes to...
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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 2, Issue 12

In Pursuit of Simon & Schuster’s Big Numbers 

Last month, the Market Update reported in-depth on the Justice Department’s lawsuit to stop the acquisition of Simon & Schuster by industry behemoth Penguin Random House – a move the DoJ claimed would leave one entity in control of two-thirds of the market for acquiring new books. The next highest bidder for the Viacom subsidiary opined on the oversized PRH offer for S&S, saying there was “clearly no market logic to a bid that size – only anti-market logic.”

Well, he may have spoken too soon. S&S is having a huge year, which just might end up justifying that oversized bid—or at least making a colorable argument. While the regulators have spent months mulling over the legality of the proposed deal, CEO Jonathan Karp and his team at S&S have been doing their darndest to grow into that massive valuation. Q3 of 2021 was up 15% in sales and a whopping 66% in profits from...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 2, Issue 11 -November 4, 2021

The United States v. Penguin Random House  

Well, at the last minute, the Department of Justice decided to make a little noise in the PRH/S&S merger that we’ve been talking/worried about. In recent issues, we reported that PRH CEO Markus Dohle assured literary agents on a video conference that after the merger the imprints of the “Big Two Become Huge One” publisher would continue to bid against one another for publishing rights—something that would be an industry-first for co-owned publishing imprints. But the DoJ doesn’t believe them. In the suit, the DoJ called that a “proposal that defies economic sense, can be evaded or violated without detection, and is unenforceable.” The DoJ scoffed, pointing out that, “in short, after securing nearly half the market for publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books, PRH asks this court to trust that PRH will not use its market power to maximize profits for the benefit of...

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