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Monday, March 23, 2009

The Big "E"


I wish the subject I refer to in the title of this post was The Big Easy, but it is not. It's the economy. I try not to think about it. I've even stopped watching the news, but I still hear snippets when hubby turns it on in the evening. We're worried. Who isn't? Anyone whose income depends on consumption by the private sector should be worried. Heck, anybody who punches a time clock right now has every reason to be worried. My husband's job is in retail sales. If the public has no money to get out and buy...

As writers, our product is also dependent on retail sales to the public. A public that is now strapped for cash and worried about their own futures. So how do we handle this new, added stress?

In the past, writing has been an escape. The place I went to and lost myself in to get away from the daily worries of real life. My hopes and dreams were there. The dream of being a published author, the hope of maybe someday adding to the family income with my writing. Now, real life has invaded that hopeful, imaginary world. And now people in the industry are beginning to openly talk about the financial crisis and how it's affecting the publishing industry. Within the past few days, Bookends and Editorrent both posted on their blogs about the effect the economy is having on submissions. If anyone has more links to articles or posts on the subject, please post them because now it's like a train wreck and I can't look away. Anyway, according to these agents, submissions are up beyond anything they've ever seen, and they say editors at the big houses are reporting the same thing. People who are out of work are writing and submitting. Authors who have been cut loose are submitting. Yet, after all that, both blog posts try to end on an up note by telling us to keep writing and sending in those manuscripts because books are still being bought. All I can say is, thank God for small presses because without them, too many of us would be left out in the cold.

The market was tight fourteen years ago when I first paid my dues to gain entrance to the romance community. I can't imagine what it's like out there now with more and more authors and fewer and fewer slots. But I have a feeling that as more authors turn to other publishing outlets (small press, e-pub, vanity pub), the alternative market will turn into a veritable swampland that few book buyers will dare venture into. On the other hand, if more recognizable authors toss their hat into the small press ring, maybe it will give us more credibility. Who knows what the outcome will be. People who've been in this business for decades have been saying for quite a while that the publishing industry will have to undergo a complete metamorphosis if it is to survive. Is that time now upon us?

How are you handling the economic news that gets worse by the day? How has it affected your writing? Do you see light at the end of the tunnel? If so, please tell me about it.

Devon

6 comments:

  1. Devon,

    I listen to the news on the radio each morning (not at night! How could I sleep?) I read Publisher's Weekly and some other blogs about pub news. Sometimes it is hard to slog through the day. Sometimes I feel defeated before I even get out of bed, because things seem so bleak. But I will continue to write.

    I refuse to give up on the dream until somebody beats it out of me. I have to believe that people still want well-written stories...and I know they want happy endings!

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  2. Magdalena, thank you for responding to my oh so negative post. I should have stayed away from the blog today. I had a bad night and got up this morning with a "why bother" attitude.

    I can't give up my writing dream, either. If I did, the bubble would close around me completely. But it's very hard to stay upbeat and optimistic in the current climate. We're very good at make-believe. I mean, that's what we do, isn't it? So maybe that's the answer. Keep the negativity and misery to ourselves and put on a happy face in public. I'm willing to try.

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  3. You said, "So maybe that's the answer. Keep the negativity and misery to ourselves and put on a happy face in public."

    Hm. Well, I'm not that nice. I try to put on a happy face for MYSELF, too. I need cheering up as much as anybody!

    And here's one just for you...

    :)

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  4. Thanks, Mags. Here's to keeping each other's spirits up! We all need each other now more than ever. :o)

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  5. Oh, Devon, you have to be more positive. Everyday I see things that make me think the economy is on the rise. The stock market going up, more want ads in the local paper, new stores opening up in my little corner of the world. And publishing sales are always on the rise. Not by great amounts, but small, steady amounts. Even Wal-mart posted gains, which a lot of money people watch because that is where a huge amount of the population shop.
    Don 't be down. Keep motivated with your writing and wish us newbies luck.

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  6. Jennifer, I'm trying to keep my chin up with a smile. Honest, I am. :o) I'm sorry if I sound discouraging at times. I don't mean to. And of course, I wish you all the best with your writing! I did read somewhere that this recession hasn't really affected book sales. They're holding steady. So maybe there's hope for all of us after all. ;o)

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