Tuesday, February 03, 2009

How are YOU doing?

Headlines from the publishing world make one reel: layoffs, budget cuts, book review sections cancelled, conventions cancelled (BookExpo Canada was axed yesterday).

I'd like to get a peek behind the news. How is all this affecting you people in the trenches: agents, editors, publicists, writers?

Leave a comment or email me: blog (at) bellastander.com.


Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

I'm usually the Pollyanna of all writers but there's no denying, things are hard all around right now. Agents are selling more slowly than they'd like, editors are getting laid off, writers are getting books canceled or options held up. In my own corner of the world, I did get a two-book contract this week - yea! - but in a more perfect world, that would have come five months ago and would have included even more books in the series. It doesn't help that medical expenses in my household were staggering this year. But! I will persevere! I will keep writing, I will love my career as a writer, and I will help others in this crazy business of ours whenever I can. Writing the best book you can: it was true before this mess started, it's true while it's going on, and it'll still be true when it's a memory.

Jeff said...

Well, book designers weren't on your list but I'll report that we have seen an increase in demand from self-publishers for book design.

While that troubles me to the extent that many self-published authors have unrealistic expectations re: sales, our clients at least have taken the effort to hire an editor, and now a book designer, and also are taking proactive steps towards book marketing. All essential steps if they're going to have a possibility of recovering that investment in self-publishing.

Also, we're seeing more small presses look at POD as an alternative to off-set.

Bella Stander said...

Lauren, your last sentence is a real keeper. I know I'll be quoting you.

Thanks, Jeff! Forgot to think of book designers. Good to know that some self-publishers are hiring experienced professionals, instead of thinking (wrongly) they can do everything themselves.

Jen Singer said...

I'm fortunate that I've got the first of a three-book series coming out in April. I will have the actual printed book in my hands this week. The manuscript for my next book is due 3/1, and I'm plugging along, grateful for the deadline.

After that, I'll hunker down and write the proposal for the next book, knowing full well that it'll be tougher to sell, even to my own publishers.

Finally, I'm just going to write my cancer memoir, because I have to. We tried to sell it with a solid proposal and a year's worth of Good Housekeeping blogs on it, but after a dozen "good" rejections and the market collapse, I decided to hold off.

Hope you're well!
Jen Singer

Faith said...

My next book, "Little Girls in Matching Dresses" (Sterling/ Hearst) is getting zip in the way of PR/marketing money. But, by this time I am used to it. First book got $2,000 for book tour, copies sent out for review & postcards made (1994), second got $1,000 (2000) and copies sent out for review, third (2006) got large posters of the cover sent to places where I was going to do a signinga and post cards made. Period. And this book gets nada. That's just the way of the world these days so I am doing all the PR myself as I have since the first book.Decided long ago that, if my name was not John Grisham, selling books at a book signing is about as effective as selling them from under a trenchcoat in a dark alley (although keeping copies in the trunk of the car is always a good idea in case someone filling my car with gas asks "So, what do you do?"). I would certainly agree with Lauren that writing the best books we can and doing the best job we can on pushing our own careers and writing is the recipe for success.

Faith Andrews Bedford

Bella Stander said...

Hey, John Grisham started out driving from town to town doing readings in little bookstores. I'll bet he always had a box or two of books in his trunk.

At least you live where someone will fill up your tank. I have to do it myself, and half the time forget to screw the gas cap back in.

kelly@obiejoe.com said...

Or, in my case, drive away with the hose still attached. Thank goodness for the recent invention of the snap-on, snap-off hose; the gas station owner barely flick an eye.

But back to the point. I am hoping the difficulties will motivate more authors to take matters into their own hands (and hire independent publicists). I've been hearing a greater openness from publishers to hire outside publicists, but given that we're now competing with recently laid off talent, it's still a competitive process proving oneself if not based in NYC.