Sunday, October 16, 2011

Swapping Fiction for Nonfiction


I've given this a lot of thought, and I've pretty much made up my mind. High Country Killers, the Western historical fiction book I've started on, may be my last piece of fiction writing.

And I bet you're wondering why.

The market.

Suspense and mystery writers are a dime a dozen, and it's come to my attention that so are Western writers. But that's not the real reason, because my books do sell, and often sell well. The problem is, the effort involved in selling them is far greater than the money I make from all that expenditure of time and energy.

I'll be even more honest, I've seen nonfiction titles fly out of my publisher's warehouse. That would primarily include Rusty Richards' Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride and Becky Coffield's Life Was A Cabaret. Now there are two books that are total opposites. One is a biography of a rodeo star, and the other is a sailing memoir, yet both books sell extremely well. There are probably 10 vendors who sell the Casey Tibbs book, and there used to be that many who sold the sailing book. Both titles sell extremely well as ebooks, also.

Now, I will be the first to acknowledge that my titles sell pretty darn well, especially on amazon and kindle. And when my publisher does a book event we rack up great sales, especially with Saving Tom Black and Apache. But
other than amazon, there are only two small vendors who stock and sell my books.

My publisher has assured me it has nothing to do with the books. The problem is the price of the books, which have all been published POD. POD is expensive unless a ton of copies are ordered, therefore the price has to be high, and the books simply cannot compete with the mass market Westerns. Consumers don't seem to care that much about paper quality, cover design, etc. Can't say as I blame them in today's economy.

Nonfiction, however, can command it's fair price and get it!

The problem arises because I don't see anything in nonfiction that I'm willing to commit a mountain of time to researching. Patience is not my forte, and research requires patience and time. I know this just from the research I've had to do with my own titles. The enticing Western subjects have been written into the grave: Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Kit Carson, etc. etc. etc. You see what I'm saying.

I have a three book contract with Moonlight Mesa. I'll finish High Country Killers, but I'm not sure I'll do any more Westerns. My contract with Moonlight Mesa does not specify Westerns...I'll just have to think on this some more. I'll just have to see if anything inspires me!

Meanwhile, hope to see someone over at Cave Creek Western Days the first weekend in November. Stop by and say hello...and buy a book while you're there, too!

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