Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Grim Times Ahead for Publishing?

I chatted with an author the other day who mentioned how grateful she was to be at a certain point in her career given the economy. Looking at the news this morning, I am thinking she might be doubly grateful. According to the New York Observer, publishing is tightening its belt and if you don’t already have an in, you are going to be SOL:

“Only the most established agents will be able to convince publishers to take a chance on an unknown novelist or a historian whose chosen topic does not have the backing of a news peg,” predicted Leon Neyfakh, his story backed-up by a number of industry insiders. “Authors without ‘platforms’ will have a more difficult time finding agents willing to represent them.”

Will this effect romance? It’s hard to say. I know that there have been rumors that big publishing houses have been overpaying for books, even in romance, and now are suffering because of it.

Via GalleyCat.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Dawn Kunda
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 22:57:10

    I constantly try to make time to read the ups and downs of the publishing industry and the sub-parts involved in an effort to be in an educated position.
    Yes, it is true the economy affects the disposable income of readers. But think of it this way, readers may choose to buy hours of entertainment for a few dollars compared to a fast food stop, a new set of silverware, or a jar of department store lotion. When someone loves to read, they won’t stop doing it. Possibly they will choose three, instead of five new books online or at their favorite bookstore.
    Also, readers typically have their favorite authors, yet will search for a new voice in the genres they enjoy. This is where the new authors come in. A newly published author also wants to get paid, but they are flexible and to get their first book in print is a huge payment in itself.
    The economy along with business procedures will continually change, and I’m not going to let a dip in the stocks or a budget shift dampen my outlook on being published. People have always read and will continue to read!

  2. Dawn Kunda
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 23:20:00

    I have to interrupt myself…
    I’m surprised the marketing/finance departments of publishing houses haven’t tried, what I think is an obvious strategy, price adjustments for the purchase of new authors.
    Here’s an example…A book normally selling for $10, sell it for $9. Here’s another…Offer a set (sequel, trilogy)normally selling for $20, sell it for $17.
    The buyer will feel they saved money and be given the opportunity to try a new author at a cheaper price. The increase in sales will make up for the price reduction.
    This will also lead to a new author building a larger readership which means more sales and more profit.
    I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, but typically when sending queries, I’ve been informed not to mention my marketing ideas.
    Thanks for letting me get this off my mind.

  3. Michelle
    Oct 22, 2008 @ 14:23:23

    Dawn, I do think that some publishers have published first novels in massmarket paperback at lower than normal price points and sold two novels-in-one book for first time authors. I believe that Bantam is even doing the latter this month or next month for author Mary Blayney.

  4. Dawn Kunda
    Oct 22, 2008 @ 19:20:31

    Thanks for the update, Michelle. Just because I am fond of this idea, I’m going to have to check out Mary’s books.

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