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I recently read about a woman who had a huge turnaround in her life. For most of her life things went well: a good job, nice house, happy marriage and family life. Then she and her family moved into a new house.

They loved it, but things began to go downhill. Their finances crumbled. The children were always restless or angry. The adults weren’t sleeping well (and who would with crumbling finances and angry children?). Soon they were angry all the time, too. The wife and mother tried everything she knew of: positive thinking, standard success theories, Feng Shui, and prayer. Finally someone suggested that their home might be located on “bad energy lines.” Since nothing else had worked, she decided to have the location’s energy lines checked.

The house was “dowsed” for bad energy lines, and the woman applied the recommended solutions. She and her husband were amazed at the transformation in their lives. Almost overnight the children became more peaceful, the adults began sleeping better, and finances improved. The couple attributes the changes to the removal or negating of the “bad energy.”

Perhaps the solution applied to remove the “bad energy” was the cause of the good effects, as the woman believes. Or perhaps one or all of the other things the couple tried before the dowsing and removal caused the good effects, and its tie couldn’t be recognized because of the time that passed and the introduction of the dowsing. Perhaps the move to the wonderful house was in itself a cause of the “bad energy,” causing financial stress with higher payments and causing the children to be restless because of the unfamiliarity of a new house and neighborhood, separation from their friends, and perhaps a new school.

Wise Emerson again perhaps stated the dichotomy in cause and effect best in Compensation: “Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, and the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”

This sounds much like the chicken and the egg discussion. Which came first? I don’t know the answer, but I wouldn’t stop feeding the chicken, and I don’t intend to stop doing the things I believe cause the desired effect of publication.

JoAnn Grote is the award-winning author of 38 books, including inspirational romances, middle-grade historical novels, and children’s nonfiction. Contact her at jaghi@rconnect.com.

Stats Are Often Hard to Interpret

Continued from page 14        And at the same time that we’re seeing an increase in ebook sales of about 13%, PW reports that BookScan US numbers show print unit sales having declined by 9%. What is interesting there, though, is that deeper PW reporting about BookScan says that non-fiction declined by 13% while fiction fell only by 11% in unit sales. Since we think we know that ebook penetration for fiction is much greater than for non-fiction, perhaps the reported decline in non-fiction units reflects lower sales of illustrated books, not because they’re being cannibalized by ebooks, but because of the store traffic decline B&N reported. And that’s exactly what I’d be worrying about if I were an illustrated book publisher. Their business isn’t transitioning to digital as fast as novels, but it is possible their sales were more interdependent on novels and their power to bring traffic into the bookstores that sell the illustrated books than they might ever have thought.

The data reported by PW also says that mass-market paperbacks have suffered by far the biggest decline among the book formats. The ebook sales by independents (self-published) are apparently underreported.

Could the very cheapest ebooks, which are largely the indies, be cutting into the sales of the cheapest print books. It would stand to reason, wouldn’t it?

This article was first published January 13, 2013 on The Shatzkin Files blog, www.idealog.com/blog. Reprinted with permission. Mike Shatzkin is the founder and CEO of The Idea Logical Company. In his nearly 50 years in publishing, he has been a bookseller, author, agent, productino director, sales and marketing director, and, for the past 30 years, consultant.

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