New ways of creating best-sellers

Even people who are not big readers know that the world of books is undergoing a revolution, on a scale comparable to what happened when Mr Gutenberg invented his printing press in 1439. We are now all talking about eBooks, major book chains closing down and authors becoming brands. A lot of people are predicting the death of books all together, but fear not it is not all doom and gloom. In fact there is a growing number of people talking about a new “golden age” of story telling and publishing.

Amanda Hayward founder and CEO of the Writer’s Coffee Shop located in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia would probably have a lot to say about it. She has launched her publishing house in 2010 with a dream of working “alongside talented authors” to provide “quality e-books to the growing marketplace.” Her dream grew out of her community site launched a year earlier which serves as a place for “friends [to] meet to discuss books, blogs, serial fiction, news and more.” Fast forward to March 11, 2012 and you will find one of her eBooks FIFTY SHADES OF GREY by E L James number one on The New York Times besteller lists for  E books and E and P combined – the paper version rights just sold to Random House for more than $1 million. The New York Times has described FIFTY SHADES OF GREY  as an “erotic  novel by an obscure author that has been described as ‘mommy porn’ and Twilight for grown-ups… [and] has electrified women across the country, who have spread the word like gospel on Facebook pages, at school functions and in spin classes.”

It appears that we are all watching history in making. In this case the usual life cycle of the book has been completely reversed. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY started on internet, went into eBook format and only after it’s eBook debut will it appear as a physical book (April 2012). In the world where pretty much everybody can publish their own book it might become the future. In this brave new world we could see the publishing decisions moving more to reader than editor, a world in which only with the readers support would a book  go into print. Without it a book may never see the light of a day outside the monitor of your reading device of choice.

I personally hope that in this new world there is a room for both models, the existing one where great publishers and editors go on telling us about great stories and where the writers who can not find good home for their books can leave as the readers to decide if we want to read their books. After all where would we be without the likes of editors such as Charles Monteith who championed The Lord of the Flies. What do you think? Dying to find out even more about what all the fuss is about? The entire FIFTY SHADES OF GREY trilogy is now available in eBook format from Random House.