Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cheesecake and Publishing

More rainy, messy day, and the forecast is calling for snow tomorrow. Snow!
I went and mailed off a few requested bookcards and a prize pack earlier today. So if you're looking for something in the mail from me -it's on the way. While in town, I dropped by the store and bought three books : Shifting Love, by Constance O'Day Flannery; The Hunger, by Susan Squires; and Robots, an Ace anthology edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois.
Back home, I worked on a short story for a while, and tinkered with my newsletter. Only a page left to go on that and it will be ready for uploading. I'm waiting to see if a bit of news comes in before I wrap it all up, so we'll see.

Speaking of books and writerly things.... more interesting news from the publishing industry: MacMillan US has initiated a pay freeze for employees with salaries over $50,000 through 2009. There are quite a few imprints under MacMillan, including St. Martin's Press. I've read an obscene number of their books, both romances and other genres too.

Chronicle Books has announced a layoff of less than 5% of their workforce. According to Publisher's Weekly (by way of GalleyCat for me), their backlist isn't selling and they're downsizing their adult booklist for 2010. The company's growth has been in children's books, so I imagine that's where they'll focus their effort.

It seems like children's books and YA are the place to be if you're writing for the market these days, especially since more and more adults are reading YA fiction: Harry Potter, Eragon, Twilight, etc. etc. I wonder how that factors in with children's books though. Is it that parents are buying more books for their kids, or are they being picked up by the library market? I say this because given the variety available at our local stores, there doesn't seem to be much variety.

Speaking of local stores, according to Louisiana Book News, Windows A Bookshop in Monroe is closing on December 14th. I'm very sad to hear that. They carried a wide selection of books on Louisiana and the South, but most importantly, they were an independent bookseller who carried books by local authors. For gift giving, this was the go-to place to buy signed books by local authors.

A lot of us generally think of the authors and the publishers in this kind of meltdown, and I'll admit I haven't given adequate thought to the independent booksellers. I've heard stories how it's a struggle to keep these bookstores afloat in the face of book superstores like BAM and Barnes and Noble. In the North Central Louisiana area, we've lost a lot of bookstores, both chain and independent, in the past few years. First B.C Dalton in Pecanland Mall closed. Then Fran's in Ruston. I believe , I'm not 100% sure, we also lost the Waldenbooks out of Pecanland Mall as well. Who ever heard of a mall not having a bookstore? *_* I think our nearest Waldenbooks now is in Alexandria. Locally, Books-A-Million is the only place I know of that's left standing, and the past few times I've been there, sale tables have spread from one small area of the store down the center strip all the way to the back where the magazine racks are.

I can't help wondering how far off some publishers are from streamlining into print on demand. It would certainly be more cost effective, but I don't know what it would mean exactly for getting author's books in bookstores. Then there is the whole returns and remaindering nightmare to sort through. If POD books were sold in small units to specific stores, would they put a halt to returns? What would that mean for bookstores? And if those POD's were allowed to be returned, I imagine that would be a death nell for any hopes of reprinting that title - more crunch for the author. Thinking about all that can really make your head spin.

For the sake of my own sanity, I'll just continue to write the best book I can, keep sending the stories out, and wait to see what happens. And really, that's all any of us can do. That, and buy more books!

Before I close today, on a lighter note.... Atkins! I'm down 8 pounds and after lunch today (I had roasted chicken), I treated myself to a big bowl of homemade, sugar free (and only 5 total carbs!) cheesecake pudding. Mmm...mmm! I think I'm finally getting into the swing of things with the eating habits. My two week induction phase is almost over, but I'm probably going to extend it until I've shed those first 10 pounds. Wish me luck!


  1. Hey! Congrats on the weight loss. :)
    I'm going to work on my weight after the new year.

  2. Thanks, Ann! :) Speaking of the New Year...I'm looking forward to it. Very ready to leave 2008 behind.

  3. You're really doing great on the Atkins. Wow. :) Keep it up.

    As for the book industry, I agree with your post. It's a complex system and one with drawbacks on both sides of the coin. I'm just hoping the economy will even itself out once again, giving us the change to choose the best system that works.

  4. Thanks, Issy. ^_^ And I'm with ya on that - hopefully the economy will level out soon - for pubbing and book buying reasons.


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