Monday, July 13th, 2009 • 8 Comments on Thoughts on Writing and Publishing
The title of this post sounds far loftier than it is meant to be. I don’t think anyone needs me to tell them it’s a rough year for publishing. It’s a rough year for everything. Such is the way of recessions. I have heard from more than one industry professional that 2009 would not be a year to sell books and—perhaps—neither will 2010. Some would say that is a dire prediction since there are certainly book deals being made and new authors being published. Ah… but perhaps fewer deals are being made and fewer new authors are being published, hmm? Even I managed to sell a book this year, though it’s an anthology I’m editing rather than a novel I’m writing.
Like every other erotica author, I was dismayed to hear of the demise of Virgin Books’ Black Lace imprint. It was a thrill to make my first sales to Black Lace over the past year because I have long admired the line. At last I was a Black Lace author! Alas, I feel like a jinx. Black Lace created the foundation for women’s erotica and after sixteen years they’re closing up shop. Of course, that’s not the official announcement. The official announcement from John Sadler of Virgin Books is, “As part of our strategic planning for 2010 we will be prioritising our rapidly growing non-fiction list and as such have decided not to add to our erotica list for that year.” Call it what you will, Mr. Sadler, but it sounds like we should all be wearing black for a Black Lace funeral. Which means all of those anthologies I was looking forward to submitting to are now dead. And that book proposal I’ve been toying with for months is now destined to be rejected by another editor (ha!).
The news isn’t all dire, though. I was very happy to hear of Black Lace editor Adam Nevill’s recent two-book deal. Given the recent news about Black Lace (and Virgin’s other erotica imprint Nexus), it is especially sweet. I don’t know what he’s planning to do next as an editor, but it’s nice to see his writerly star is soaring.
There is hope that e-books will help breathe some new life into the publishing business. Sales are climbing, though they are still a fraction of total books sales. Amazon has dropped the price on the new Kindle, which is likely to help sales continue to rise. (As will the nifty Kindle iPhone App.) This is all good news for publishing.
I can’t even begin to describe my disappointment at missing the RWA conference this year. I was so looking forward to it for a variety of reasons—not the least of which being that I hadn’t attended a conference in years. Oh well. Perhaps next year. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to hearing the buzz from the front about what is in store for the future of romantic fiction. Statistics show that tough economic times mean good sales for genre fiction—especially romance, fantasy and science fiction—so I expect to hear some positive news coming out of the conference.
What this all boils down to for writers is pretty basic: keep writing. 2009 and 2010 may not be good years to try to sell a book, but every year is a good year to be writing one.