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Self-Publishing News: Nonfiction Sales Struggle As Romantasy Goes From Strength To Strength

Self-Publishing News: Nonfiction Sales Struggle as Romantasy Goes from Strength to Strength

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

It’s been a while since I ran a story on publishing figures, but I couldn’t resist this one. The reason is that next Thursday, I publish my next nonfiction book about creative thinking. What better time to do so than when there’s a headline in Publishers Weekly announcing that nonfiction sales are struggling?

This has contributed in part to a reduction in UK print sales of 4 percent year on year in April and 2 percent for the year as a whole. Who knows, maybe I can help buck that trend! This comes at the same time as the British Book Awards, known colloquially as the Nibbies. There are nonfiction winners in several categories, notably Rory Stewart’s political memoir Politics on the Edge. Two things stood out for me. The first is the lack of indie talent being recognized. Do better, Nibbies!

The second was the success in the pageturner category of what has to be the book of the year, Rebecca Yarros’ Fourth Wing. This book has topped chart after chart, been at the heart of the massive growth of Romantasy, and will, no doubt, spawn many imitators but also many opportunities for authors and readers alike.

But the really big story in the book world, of course, is the sad news of the death of Alice Munro. Munro is a role model and an inspiration for many of us who have dedicated so much of our time to the short story. It is my favorite format of all to write when it goes well. My best, most original writing is in the form of short stories. Yet it is the hardest format by far to get right and has been rewarded, for a long time, with few sales and even fewer opportunities for publication (which makes it ripe for indies).

Alice Munro made it seem effortless (always a testament to supreme effort alongside supreme craft), showed collections could have commercial appeal, and was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in 2013. Her citation, the single sentence explanation the Nobel Academy gives for its awards, is, appropriately, the shortest for any winner since 1931. It reads simply, “master of the contemporary short story.”

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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