Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are There More Writers than Readers???


This question may seem silly, but it's worth contemplating. Are there more writers than readers nowadays??

Since the huge growth in POD and ebooks, the number of books being published has skyrocketed. Literally skyrocketed. Not all of these books sell, obviously. Most books sell far fewer than 100 copies according to a 2004 statistic. But, the fact is, the books are published and available.

What brings this up, is recently Moonlight Mesa publisher Becky Coffield started a Western Book Reader Group on Facebook. The group exploded in membership almost overnight. (This in itself is startling when one knows that the administrator of the site, Becky herself, hasn't even figured out how to use Facebook well.)

Anyway, the site is supposed to be for people to discuss Westerns, but almost every single person who has signed up IS A WRITER of Westerns. Now, writers are usually readers, also, but we're talking the vast majority of these folks are writers.

"I'm wondering where these people sell their books," Coffield said. "I've never seen nor heard of most of them. I have, however, heard of some of the authors, but for the most part the authors are unknowns, much like Jere D. James and our authors. Well, they're known to me and to their readers, but they are not national names."

Just two weeks ago or so this blog discussed the plethora of published works and the lack of readership for most of these works. Now, with the economy looking like it's going to go into freefall again, sales may drop even more.

Will ebooks be affected as much as paper? Probably not. The books are cheaper, for one thing. That's probably the most important thing.

"It's a sad situation for all these aspiring writers. I'm sure some are quite excellent," said Becky. "It's a sad situation for us, as publishers. All of it: the economy, the plethora of self-published books languishing in the marketplace. Sad, very sad."

"Uncategorically, I think it's more than possible that there are more writers than readers! Who will be left standing after the next big recession when no one buys books? Maybe none of us!"


Recently we blogged that Moonlight Mesa would be publishing a new young reader book written by a "Jonah Arizona." Obviously that is a penname. The originator of that name was none other than Vin Libassi, long-time cover designer for Moonlight Mesa. The person who was going to use the name was none other than the publisher herself.

"I know, that's tacky. I got an earful from my grown sons and my board of directors about that. They were very keen on the book I've been working on, but very opposed to my using a penname," said Coffield. "They were adamant that my own name go on the cover of the book."

Coffield has written under several pennames, much to the dislike of the Board and the few who know. "This one has to go," said Coffield. "I'm sorry about that, too. I thought Jonah Arizona was a cool name! A much better name for a young reader book than my own name!"

The use of pennames was discussed at length on the Western Book Readers facebook page recently.


The new Moonlight Mesa t-shirt is now on order. "We put in a small, initial order to see what the reception for these would be," Coffield said. "We'll post them on our website and here when they are avialable. The cost, unfortunately, will be $19.95 a shirt. These are very high quality shirts, however. They won't shrink and be too small the first time you wash them! They cost us a lot." Screen printing and layout is being done by Pro5 Design.

The shirts all carry the logo submitted by Vin Libassi: If you don't read, you won't know your ass from a hole in the ground. Shirts should be available August 26th. The website probably won't post them though until the following week.

1 comment:

  1. Can't disagree with you, but those of us in the "Slush Pile" are working hard to climb out.