Thursday, October 7, 2010

Breaking into Publishing and the Current Economy

Tip of the Day:Even if you aren't into ePublishing, you have to check out this blog post from J.A. Konrath. In it he shares how much money he's made on all of his different books and how many he sells of each a month. One of his books sold 10,000 copies in the first month. WOW. Check it out!

Lately I've been noticing a lot of people getting very frustrated with the publishing industry and trying to break into traditional publishing. Don't get me wrong, people have always been frustrated to a certain extent because it is very difficult to get published and you will be rejected (likely) many many times before you break in. But are things way worse now with the bad economy? Are publishers buying less than usual? It sure seems like the chain bookstores are stocking less. Even in the author universe I've been hearing authors say it's been difficult to sell more books. Second, third, even fourth books. You would think this stuff would get easier at some point right? I'm seeing lots of unagented writers post about how they've been rejected by over a hundred agents and are just ready to throw their hands up and say forget it. I've met loads of self-pub authors who are very anti-traditional publishing and practically spit with anger when they talk about it. So are things getting worse?

I jumped over to the Verla Kay board to get a feel (and if you haven't hung out here yet you must check it out! Always great industry stuff!). I checked the Good News section because back in the day when I was looking for an agent I would see loads of people announcing their new agents or new book deals here. And honestly, it does look kind of slim in respect to agent and book deal news. Hmm, I don't know. Tell me I'm wrong! Share your thoughts!

Kristina, Miss See Me on the Shelves


Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

When I was a debut author during the last publishing recession, I didn't know another one.

All the buzz was: "When will publishers start taking chances on new voices?"

Now, as someone who makes a special effort to support debut authors, I can barely fit them all in over the course of a year.

For folks trying to break in, this is the most wide-open time I've seen in my 13 years in the business.

I understand that it doesn't always feel that way, that times are really tough economically. But it has been worse, and it will get better.

Y'all hang in there!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Yeah, I think Cyn has a point. I think publishers are always looking for the next big thing and often that comes from a debut author.

It may be harder for us mid-listers to keep publishing, though. It sort of scares me.

Kate Fall said...

It worries me how hard it is to buy a book. The chains seem to concentrate on only a few types of books: gothic black covers, big names, expensive publisher promotions, or all three. It's hard to find books in the stores that really grab me any more. They're all too similar, while my local library has a much better selection.

Cyn, those debut authors are definitely out there. I find them at my library. I just wish it was easier to find their books on store shelves.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

@Cynthia- Thanks for the encouraging words! That does give a good perspective on these times vs. the past.

And yet, it does seem like the publishing world, like other industries, has used this economy to put more checks and balances into their hiring and firing process...Or, in their case, the acquisitions process. An editor can't just fall in love with a book and push it through anymore...there are second readers (sometimes tons of second readers), editorial boards, marketing boards, I wrong and it's always been like this?

Also, I think maybe the rejection letters written by agents and editors have gained a few new catch phrases like, "in this economy..." and "in this saturated market..." when the truth is, like always, if a book blows them away enough then the state of the economy and market won't matter.

DeenaML said...

I wish stores like Borders would sell less Silly Bandz and more selections of books.