Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Really About The Economy

I have heard from numerous agents that they have seen publishers simply not buying projects right now. If they are buying, it is taking an extraordinarily long time to sell something. For many authors, they see this as simply a sign that more and more people are going with the e-book market and traditional publishers are behind the time. In reality, it is all coming back to the money issue and not the way the books are being distributed.

In the past, publishers were able to "take a chance" on new authors and consider books that might be considered "just O.K." The belief was simple. If they would take the chance, they could work through some additional books and work out the kinks in the author's writing. The idea was that the publishers would slowly mold and work with the author. But now, with the changes we have seen in the economy, publishers, like many other businesses are simply not taking chances.

Every day, we hear signs that the economy is making some small strides toward gaining momentum and stability. Companies are showing profits, but the unemployment rate is simply not changing. Many "unemployed" are complaining that the companies should take the profits and start hiring. While this sounds reasonable, the businesses are simply cautious. What if we hit a double dip recession. Spending that money right now could create some additional, and probably worse problems in the long run. Publishers are doing the same thing.

Publishers, to insure the success of their product are now relying heavily on their current authors that have proven success already. They know that readers will continue buying books from their "favorite" authors and will do so both in print and e-book format. Unfortunately, that leaves many unpublished authors in a tough situation.

I do believe that 2012 will show signs of the market opening up again. Publishers will start buying again, once we see the general public believing that they can take that income and buy something other than groceries and gas. Book buying will return and with that comes a demand for new authors. We simply have to wait this out.



  1. It also seems that there are many more new agents than ever before, all signing clients. it's impossible for them all to sell.

  2. I do think that the stagnation, however minimal, in the market is the consumers and the publishers being cautious. The ever present threat of a double dip has everyone tightening the purse strings. It costs infinitely more for publishers to produce a book, starting with the actual purchase to producing and distributing. Just getting a book to shelves is a process that most authors don't really think about. Perhaps, this pulling back, this investing in the process and going the ebook (thinking self pub)route can be a good reminder of how much goes into producing a good, well written book and making it sell. Things work in cycles, it will come back around, but it won't ever truly be the way it was. Hopefully, it'll be better. Thanks for firing up the brain cells for me this morning.