Black days in publishing

Compared to say the auto industry, computer tech, finance, and almost every other industry, publishing is a small world. In bad times December can be especially harsh. That’s when the lay offs happen, and unfortunately they are happening a lot at the moment. S&S, Random House, Houghton Mifflin, and on it goes. And it’s not just jobs. Companies are freezing wages, eliminating pensions, cutting back on travel and entertainment and every other way money gets spent. It can be harsh, but it’s a survival tactic. The good news is that we know (believe) things will bounce back. People still read, books will still get published, and the dream remains alive for all those looking to break into the business. Right now, though, the dream is more challenging than ever.

Ok, now that I’ve depressed you I’m trying to think of something more upbeat to talk about…Obama gets sworn in next month. You can still buy chocolate bars 2 for a dollar. We still won WWII. And I’m still single…which isn’t particularly upbeat for me, but hopefully it’s good news for whomever it is I haven’t dated yet 🙂

  1. pinkgalagirl

    I hear you. 2 More people were laid off today from the company I work at. Considering the other 3 that were laid off just before Thanksgiving, and considering that the company only has around 20 employees to begin with…things are seeming rather bleak. They say they think its temporary. They say they think things will bounce back and they’ll call those people to come back. They think. But even they say they don’t really know.

    The terrible thing is that I feel guilty for still having my job and for being better off financially than most of them even without my job. It’s going to be a meager Christmas for many people.

    Alas, I still have shelves full of books to comfort me, eh?

    • admin

      Survivor’s guilt is just one more negative aspect to a downturn like this. I really hope Obama can get things turned around. And yes, having a good book to dive into remains an affordable pleasure.

  2. stillnotbored

    You know, having just gotten an agent and being on the edge of my book being sent to editors, I should be terrified by the layoffs and down turn in the publishing industry. And I’m not.

    I’m still rather giddy about the whole agent thing. After how hard I’ve worked and all that I’ve gone through to get this far? A little thing like a recession is just one more challenge.

    Your upbeat list might need a little work, although it did make me laugh.

    • admin

      Congratulations on landing on agent! Who’s repping you? You should be giddy. And here’s the thing, good books will always get published, even in down times.

      • stillnotbored

        My agent is Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency. They are a good agency with some big name mystery and lit clients, including Mary Jane Clark.

        Tamar is building a list of SF&F clients and bringing them into the agency. She’s also the agent who sold Syrie James book The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, among others.

        I really feel like I won the author lottery.

  3. bonniers

    Here’s wishing you (and everybody) a cheerful upbeat new year.

    As an elderly woman of my acquaintance said yesterday to the sweet young thing behind the counter at Panera: “Now it’s your generation’s chance to prove you’re as tough as we were.”


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