Survey for Novelists

Jim Hines sent me a link to a survey he’s doing that examines first time authors and how they broke into the market, and he asked if some of you might be interested in taking it:

We talk a lot about how to sell that first novel to a major publisher, but it’s hard sometimes to draw any real conclusions on the best way to break in when all we’ve got is a lot of anecdotal data.  Everyone’s path is different.  The experience of someone who broke in twenty years ago might not match the realities of publishing today.  For that matter, the experience of someone who broke in today might not match the realities of someone else who broke in today.

So, taking a page from Tobias Buckell and his first novel advance survey, I’ve put together a survey about selling that first novel.  I would love it if anyone who has sold at least one novel (any genre, including tie-ins — there’s a question where you can enter genre) to a professional publisher (for at least a $2000 advance**) could take a few minutes to click the survey link and answer about a dozen questions.  If you don’t have exact numbers, please give your best estimate.

**The minimum $2000 advance is an arbitrary cutoff point, which I took from SFWA’s guidelines for professional publishers.

Hines has collected many responses from SF/F authors, since he’s a fantasy author himself, but he wanted to hear from authors outside just one genre, so if you have a moment, many thanks for your time, from Jim and from me. Additional details are at his site, as well as a link to the survey itself, which can also be found here.



The Link-O-Lator

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  1. 1
    Kalen Hughes says:

    Interesting. Can’t wait to see the results . . .

  2. 2
    Betsy says:

    As someone trying to break into publishing, I am very much looking forward to the results!  Thanks so much for sharing, Sarah and Mr. Hines.

  3. 3
    Fiamma says:

    Timely article considering I am sitting here,  writing my synopsis and query letter, pulling my hair out. Can’t wait to see results

  4. 4
    Laurel says:

    Love Jim Hines! The Stepsister Scheme was awesome. I hope he does this survey again in a few years and I can participate.

  5. 5
    Jim C. Hines says:

    Thank you, Sarah!  I’ll let you know when the results go live later this month.

    @Laurel – thank you, too :-)  So glad you enjoyed Stepsister!

  6. 6
    Cat Marsters says:

    …but doesn’t take into account authors with publishers who pay small or no advances. The money can be just as good, but the model is different.

  7. 7

    Cat – that’s the same thing I thought when I saw the survey yesterday. I couldn’t take it anyway, as I’ve only published a novella, not a novel, but still…anyone who’s published a full length novel, or anyone who’s been pubbed in print with a less-than-2K advance couldn’t participate, and I think that’s unfortunate.

    I think people unfamiliar with epublishing underestimate what kind of royalties authors can earn. Although he didn’t say so at the time (cause he’s a smart man), my husband didn’t consider my being published by Samhain the same thing as if I’d been published in print by a big NY house. Then the royalty checks started coming in, and he was happy. That’s not to say I don’t want to be published by NY one day – it’s still a dream of mine. But my novella was no less professional for the lack of an advance, nor will my novel be (assuming, of course, that my Samhain editor accepts it for publication).

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