More on the Publisher Situation

While the Washington Post and Publishers Weekly have both reported this week on Harcourt Houghton Mifflin’s decision to freeze acquisitions, there seems to be news of a somewhat more optimistic kind unfolding in other sectors of the publishing market.  You can find the full story on it here. Hachette Group, which includes the Forever line (formerly Warner Forever), has announced that it is giving bonuses equivalent to one weeks’ salary to every employee of the company.  And these bonuses are being given in addition to any regular bonuses for which employees may be eligible!

Granted, Hatchette is the home of mega-bestsellers such as The Shack, David Baldacci, James Patterson, and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight empire, but this still seems like quite a change from the doom and gloom forecast we’ve been seeing lately.   From everything I’m reading, though, there seems to be quite an emphasis on “blockbuster” books, so I worry about authors just starting out in romance – or any other genre.  I’m heartened to see publishers such as Penguin indicating that they still want to acquire manuscripts, but I’m wondering how much they will be willing to put into cultivating new authors who don’t release bestsellers right out of the gate.

I’d be curious to see what authors and publishers think of the current situation, though.  Any thoughts?

-Lynn Spencer


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Lisa Anne
Lisa Anne
01/09/2009 2:11 pm

Wow! This all sounds very daunting and a little depressing but luckily I have oodles of passion and with persistance, patience, and purpose I will get my book published somehow, someway, some miracle!
Any secrets to share from all you amazing savy published authors on who to approach for a book idea?

Rae Lori
Rae Lori
11/27/2008 3:49 pm

I fully agree with Heather. Us authors are going to have to be much more creative in sharing the news of our releases. Even RT and individual publishers are starting to ask their authors to become more proactive in their promotions.

One cool thing I notice is the web offers so many fun interactive creative things to tie into books and make them more fun for readers. I created a flash teaser trailer for an upcoming book series I’m releasing starting next year. For my release next month I’m including the soundtrack on my website for readers to listen to as they read the story. So although things are shifting dramatically within the publishing industry, there will always be a need for storytellers to entertain. We just have to shift things a little for the web audience to make things easier for them because I think that’s where the future of book publishing lies.

I’m so glad to see so many book lovers and readers across the blogosphere willing to embrace debut and upcoming authors. Especially within the romance community, like Jess said. It makes a gal feel welcome! :-)

Jess Granger
Jess Granger
11/27/2008 1:13 am

Wow Heather, thanks for the support for BEYOND THE RAIN.

I’ll be the first to admit, I need it. It is a huge amount of pressure and uncertainty launching a book in this market. I certainly would like to be the “”Next big thing,”” but all I can do is write as good a book as I can, a book I would die to read.

Then I have to convince a couple hundred thousand of my closest friends to read it too.

I’m writing for Berkley, and so far they seem to have a very specific plan for my book. I have to trust them. But I also have to do everything I can to get the word out there.

That is why I appreciate the romance reader community. The bloggers, reviewers, and fans who like to chat, all help get the names of new books out there. Good buzz will make me pick up a debut author more than anything else.

So if you do find a new author and you love her/his book. Spread the word. It’s the greatest gift you can give us.

Heather Massey
Heather Massey
11/26/2008 10:42 pm

Well, I’m no author or publisher, but as a blogger who loves her some niche market science fiction romance, I intend to follow and support as many debut authors as I can (Jess Granger (BEYOND THE RAIN, Aug 2009) immediately comes to mind).

So even if publishers can’t cultivate debut authors, there are plenty of fans (bloggers or not) willing to spread word-of-mouth about their new favorites. I also think that an online presence and creative online marketing will become increasingly important if not fundamental for an author’s survival. Right now many of us have to tighten our belts, but thinking outside the box and looking toward the future as much as possible will help too.