Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh no, the sky is falling on book publishers!

In case you haven't already heard, several major book publishers are making drastic changes this week. You can find out the basics here.

But, in case you don't want to follow the above link, here's the gist of things:
  • Simon & Shuster has announced layoffs
  • Random House has announced layoffs and a major structure changes
  • Thomas Nelson Publishers has announced layoffs
  • It appears as if the Bantam Dell Publishing Group and Rubin's Doubleday Publishing Group will no longer exist as they are to become parts of other Random House divisions

And I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting.

Sad times, indeed, and scary.

But there's a silver lining for us writers. What silver lining? Well, in a nutshell, less competition. That's right, less competition.

Yes, I'm sure with all the changes and cutbacks it will be harder than ever to get a book published, especially at one of the big publishing houses. But, that also means if you get published by a smaller publisher then your small publisher has less to compete with when it comes to the big guys. These tough economic times might not level the playing field, but they'll surely lean a little less toward one side.

Oh, you're worried book sales are down. Get over it. Book sales are always down. The larger publishers have been screaming all my life (about 40 years) that no one reads any more and books aren't selling. It might be true now, it might not. I don't know. And I'm not going to believe anyone's so-called facts or numbers. Why? Because those facts and numbers from publishers always spellout doom and gloom, even when major writers have been making millions for years.

And remember that these tough times mean that some wannabe writers will have to give it up because of money or time restraints. Bad luck for them, but good luck for those staying in the game. Sorry to be mercenary about it, but I'm calling it here as I see it.

You want to get published? You want a career as a writer? Then stick with it. Write the best you can and keep learning to write even better. And persevere. My belief is that perseverance is at least 75 percent of what it takes to become a professional novelist.

The other 25 percent? An editor.

And maybe a tad bit of luck thrown in.

(And let me add here, since I sounded flippant above, I am truly sorry for those who've lost their jobs. I've been there and know how tough it is).


NewGuyDave said...

Good post Ty. Colleen Lindsay over at spelled out earlier this week that Random house has restructured twice in the last ten years. She says DON'T WORRY.

Companies are always restructuring to improve efficiency, even when the economy is not in the dumpster. Of course, we hear more about it now because they don't all usually downsize at the same time.

Hopefully everybody can make it through these tight times, and we'll all meet up at a con when things get better.

von Darkmoor said...

I was gonna post all this (and then some). I've meant to do this the last 3 days and was gonna do it today. Now I should just link here :)