Thursday, September 17, 2009

Publisher's Lunch

I signed up for this e-newsletter a few years ago to stay on top of "industry news", but I will admit that I usually don't read them. They stress me out. And yesterday, when I opened one up I remembered why. In it was a link to this article by Danel Manaker, former Senior Vice President and Executive Editor-in-Chief at Random House. It is about adult publishing, so there may be some small hope that children's is not quite as dire, but still better not to have your head in the sand I guess. If you are in the mood for some cold hard publishing reality, read away. Sigh.


Julia Denos said...

thanks for posting. there are so many articles like this floating around right now. hm, no one ever discusses the fate of picture books...I can't see them translating well digitally, can you?

Anna Alter said...

I really hope not! But I do think, eventually, technology may get more up to speed... either way publishing in general has transformed so much in recent past, it will be interesting to see where we go from here.

Libby Koponen said...

Anna! I used to have a subscription to this too but wimpily cancelled it (too depressing and too much of a time sink). But I'm glad I read this article: thanks.

Favorite bits, which made me smile albeit somewhat grimly:
"Despite their intense neediness, writers are often stimulating company" and the part about the really profitable books being the surprise midlist hits. Why don't more publishers get that?

Also, I'm used to thinking of BOTM as a failure, it's nice to realize that just earning out its advance put it in the minority! 3 out of 4 or 6 out of 7 trade books published-- he said either number was right, depending upon your source -- lose money.

It's also weird to think that children's books are becoming MORE like the (unsuccessful) adult book model!

I wish he'd talked about something I said at our last BRG meeting: the publishing industry was never meant to, and can never be able to, support the kinds of large profits for the people at the top and shareholders that large corporations demand these only worked on a smaller, quirkier, more individual scale.