Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Publishing Woes?

It looks like some tough times are ahead for the Publishing Industry in general because of the recession that has suddenly hit the US economy. Jane at Dear Author posted about an article from The New York Observer, where it states that it will be much harder for aspiring authors to convince publishers to take them on. So, if you are starting out as an author or trying to get published, tough times are ahead. Hitting the pavement may give you more blisters than you want.

This excerpt in the article especially caught my eye:

"Endeavor Talent Agency’s Richard Abate, who has in recent months done deals for Tina Fey, Heroes creator Tim Kring and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, called this the “tent-pole effect.” Skittish publishers, he said, will flock to books by well-established cultural figures—celebrities, athletes, etc.—which they feel they can count on to achieve blockbuster status just as those books are becoming more in-demand and harder to reel in. Publishers feel vulnerable unless they have at least one such title in their arsenal every season, and as a result they will offer more outlandish sums of money for them than ever.

Mid-list projects, Mr. Abate said, the kind of books that have traditionally attracted advances in the $50,000 range, will suffer as a result: For little-known literary authors and journalists, “the advances are going to be lower and it will be that much harder to sell them.”

In fact, he said, these books “might not even get bought. We’ll see how it shakes out, but my guess is we’re going to have fewer purchases, smaller lists, more focused lists, and it’s going to get tougher for all those books.”

Jane also raised a very good question, if this will effect romance sales? I, for one think, people will continue to buy books, especially romance because romance readers are some of the most dedicated and supportive fans of the genre that I have ever seen. For myself, if it came down to buying essentials like underwear or socks, I would sacrifice those things for a book any day. (Perhaps, I am the only one that does this?) And again if you stick to reading paperbacks, they can be quite reasonable in price, failing between the $4.99 to $7.99 range. That is the cost of a beer, a mixed drink at a bar or a sandwich you may purchased to eat for lunch. But trade and hardcovers may suffer because even before the recession, who really wanted to put out anywhere from $14- $32 for a book that is under 300 pages?

Perhaps there is no reason to worry as of yet, because C.L. Wilson posted some uplifting news on her blog last week. Her third book, King of Sword and Sky, reached #35 on the NY Times Bestseller Mass-Market Fiction list last week even with, and I quote- "the financial meldtown, Hurricane Ike's aftermath and gas shortage in the southeast."

Tought times may be ahead, but I believe there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Katiebabs (KB)


Jane said...

I have to admit that I wouldn't mind seeing fewer authors published if it meant that every one would be of high quality.

Katiebabs said...

Or perhaps not giving out such expensive books deals to people who shouldn't be getting them like Lauren Conrad?

Hilcia said...

I agree with both comments above. As a long time reader of Romance, I can tell you that during bad times, the only thing I will NOT give up are my books. I'll skimp on mascara and go longer without cutting my hair or replacing wardrobe, BEFORE I'll give up on buying my monthly reads. I've done it before... I'll do it again.

Amy C said...

You're not alone. I pass on certain things to make sure I can still have my books. I don't require having excess amounts of person items...except when it come to my books.

BTW, I'm half through Broken Wing. Kristie, I am so glad you brought this book to my attention. It's wonderful.

Barbara said...

I'm a hairdresser, so it's true that during times like these I see that my clients stretch the time between their appointments. It's fine, I completely understand because I would so the same.

I agree with Hilcia and Kristie,I don't think the romance genre will be hit hard. The last thing that I would sacrifice is my books. I get more of a happiness shopping for a great story, than some women do shopping for shoes.

Jessica said...

I do think it has already changed my buying habits somewhat: I am bringing more of my used books to our local bookseller for credit at his store rather than to Goodwill, and I am spending more time frequenting the charity paperback table at my supermarket.

I was never one to buy hardcover fiction -- even my fiction classics are softcover -- but now I guarantee I will wait to check those hardbacks out at the library.

And as for Lauren Conrad's book? I wouldn't wipe me bum with that trash. (sorry to be crude)

LesleyW said...

Chalk me up as someone else who can't give up their books. I have tried in the past, but things would have to get much worse for me before I changed my book buying habits - I admit I am an addict.

Kristie (J) said...

It's not going to change my book buying habits. If I buy less, it's only because the TBR pile is so large already and there aren't that many out in the next couple of months that are HAVE TO HAVE. But when there are - I will buy!
And as Katie said - what better way to escape RL and all it's scariness then by reading a real good romance!

Barbara said...

Oy, I apologize Katie *cringes* this was your post. So, I will say then that I agree with Katie.

Heather said...

Wow, I thought I was the only one who postponed new underwear purchases so I could keep buying books! Lol, glad to see I'm not alone!

I find that I've been buying more books recently. A friend of mine used to work on Wall Street in some capacity and he said try not to sweat the market going down because what goes down will always come up. He said it better than that, but you get my drift. I just feel lucky that I can help support authors during a time when so many people have to budget more carefully.