By Steve Outing
A few years ago I wrote a short book about newspapers and new media. It’s actually the only book I’ve ever written, though I’ve written chapters for other authors’ books and for anthologies. It’s not that I don’t have much to say, but rather that I’ve never been able to afford to write books on the topic I know most about — the intersection of news media and the Internet — because it’s a topic too narrow for most authors to sell very many books. The many, many thousands of words that I’ve written about new media are mostly found on websites and in magazines (and occasionally newspapers).
An e-mail correspondent recently asked for my advice on the topic of paid vs. free niche content. I was happy to oblige with an opinion. Then he asked if I’d written a book on the topic. Nope, I responded, and pointed as explanation why to the quarterly royalty check for my one book, received the other day: 55 cents.
Perhaps writing books can become a retirement hobby someday, when money isn’t a necessity for my work.