Thoughts on Writing and Publishing

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.

Posted by Kristina in Writing
  • danielle says:

    tough times for everything..thats right..still i m very sad about black lace/ nexus since i loved their books for ages and had plans to submit this year to nexus for the first time…ahhrg*

    i heared a lot of good things about adam n as an editor( and had a brief contact with him by email where he was very kind and suportive when we spoke about my plans to submit to nexus) and wish him all the best for the future since he helped to bring so much great erotica to the market

  • “Alas, I feel like a jinx.”

    Believe me, you are not the only one. Ah, it’s tough times all round, eh? Hopefully some good news will come out of the conference like you say! I pretend I’m a pessimist, but secretly I’m always trying to see good things in stuff and hope for the best.

  • Kristina says:

    Charlotte and Justine ~  I was thinking of both of you when I heard the news about Black Lace. Hard enough to get those book contracts, but then to have the line fold… sigh.  At least your books will still be published.  (Right?  Right?)

    Danielle – I empathize on intending to submit to Nexus for the first time.  I spent years intending to submit to Black Lace and finally did only last year. Well, I submitted a story years ago when the lovely Kerri Sharp was editor and then I put them on the back burner when Adam took over—I really shouldn’t have, he is a sweetheart.  Have you taken a look at XCite?  They seem to be growing by leaps and bounds, though I don’t think their market is quite the same as Black Lace/Nexus.

  • danielle says:

    ah i wish i had done it before..the problem was the language..i mean i publish in germany since ages..thats okay..i can offer proper german manuscripts…but when i decided to “conquer” the english speaking markets i had to finde editors who wanted to work with me..who were actually willing to do some editing on my stories and to clean out my mistakes..i dont wanna mention anmes but most told me they dont have no time to edit the submissons …but other people like for example sacchi green or neil plakcy really liked my work and were willing to help me ..or like you who said you like to work on my story (which im working on for your anthology)…i mean i never even wrote coments here in english because i was to shy..actually until i wanted to win your book..hehe*..and now i m all over blog land..because you freed me from lurking..hehe*

    anyway..i wasnt brave enough befor eto write to adam..and now..after he said he would like to get my work..they close..its a sad sad situation..

    i heared a lot about xcite..but didnt really checked them out yet….grin

  • Justine Elyot says:

    Another Black Lace Jinx here.  We could form a support group!  But yes, you’re right – the only way forward is to keep writing, because there is nothing much we can do about prevailing conditions in the industry.  (Except angst, which I’m exceptionally good at.)

  • “Charlotte and Justine ~ I was thinking of both of you when I heard the news about Black Lace. Hard enough to get those book contracts, but then to have the line fold… sigh.  At least your books will still be published.  (Right?  Right?)”

    Thanks, hon. And as far as I know, our collections are still going ahead. We’ve been assured that 2009 stuff is safe. But the way things are at the moment, who knows? I’m really hoping they’re going to stay true to their word, though, and just telling myself that even if they change their minds, I can still say to other people I submit to that a top editor wanted my work. Right?

    Too bad- I’m saying it!

  • EllaRegina says:

    A jinx as well.  Just when things were looking up…  Yes:  to keep writing—that is all we can do.  Here’s hoping to blue skies ahead.

  • Kristina says:

    Danielle ~  I’m glad I inspired you to break out of your shell.  I’ve told you I think your English is pretty terrific!

    Charlotte ~  You can certainly say that!  And it’s only a matter of time before another top editor wants your work!

    EllaRegina ~  Just keep writing, just keep writing… (Makes me think of Dorie in Finding Nemo!)

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