A Day In The Life Of A Brand New Thriller, Rogue Wave, And It’s Author, Boyd Morrison
(Ed. Note: Uh oh. Are my own reporters drinking the Kool Aid served up by agency model publishers? I’ve posted my own view at the end. -S.W.)
By Tom Dulaney, Contributing Reporter
A new thriller from author Boyd Morrison, Rogue Wave, was released to the public on Amazon.com overnight. Pre-orders were sent off to Kindles and Kindle app devices. The book began posting its first rankings on Amazon’s bestseller lists, updated hourly. And, backed by megapublisher Simon & Schuster’s and its Pocket Imprint, paperbacks should be sprouting on the shelves of bookstores across America.
At our sister blog, Planet iPad, editor Tom Dulaney is electronically keeping author Boyd Morrison company through this official release day for Rogue Wave. The “author watch” began just before midnight, and is tracking the book in the Amazon store, on the net and Facebook, to get a feel for what it’s like to be an author backed by a large publisher’s marketing and editorial effort on the day a book first begins to sell. A series of blog posts will cover the author’s day as it rolls toward a celebratory release day party tonight in Seattle.
On this very important day for Morrison and the book, a culmination of a lifetime of dreams and hard work, Boyd is sharing his day with Planet iPad readers. Through emails, texts, and at a morning (Pacific Coast Time) telephone conference, Boyd painted a picture of the day he expected: just another day in the office. He doesn’t expect today to be a “make or break” day for the book.
“Authors tend to obsess about the rankings on Amazon,” Boyd said on the phone. “Part of that is because we are starved for information.” And, in the traditional methods of print books, information has been traditionally slow in coming to authors as they await statements long after the fact. At 4 PM, the rankings show a split personality. As an eBook, Rogue Wave has risen from unranked to No. 3,880, a continuing trend upwards. The print edition is stood ranked about 37,500th early this morning, but is now bouncing between 17,000 and 20,000 in the listings. The rankings are volatile, updated hourly by Amazon.
Morrison landed his publishing contract with Simon & Schuster only after he had been rejected by all publishers and offered the book in the Kindle Store. It’s sales took off, and a contract ensued, making Morrison one of the early authors to turn eBook sales into a relationship with a major publishing house. Having such a relationship, the dream of most would-be bestselling authors, creates new demands on the author who had enjoyed freedom from schedules and responsibilities to editors and others, Morrison explains.
Readers interested in the progress of a relatively unknown author as he works his way toward a goal that might put him—one day—well up the bestseller lists, may want to peek in on Planet iPad now and again today for greater detail.
(Editor’s Note: We’ll see, and I do wish Morrison well, but there’s a certain upside down quality to the narrative when any author gets rejected by the Big Six publishers, achieves great success by publishing directly on the Kindle platform, and then calls it a victory when he signs a contract with one of the same publishers that rejected him in the first place, for royalties that are only a fraction of the royalties he would earn through direct publication. Reporter Dulaney may be a few years off when he editorializes that “such a relationship [is] the dream of most would-be bestselling authors.” These days, many of the smartest authors figure that dinosaur publishers like Simon and Schuster may well go belly-up before the decade is out, and are finding their own more secure paths to publishing success along the lines laid out in pieces like It’s Your Universe and Observations at #8 by Joe Konrath. Morrison may have had his own very good reasons for taking the course that he took, but in all likelihood he would have a more secure and better compensated career as an author over the next few years had he continued, and built upon, his “direct to Kindle” success in 2009. –S.W.)