Thursday, April 05, 2012

Old News is Still New

Over three years ago, I did a post that, when I stumbled on it recently, I realized it is still relevant today.

I'm going to post it again and ask the same questions I did then:

For mid-list or new authors, an article in The New York Observer was sobering, or, to use another term, a real bummer.
Only the most established agents will be able to convince publishers to take a chance on an unknown novelist or a historian whose chosen topic does not have the backing of a news peg. The swollen advances that have come to represent all that is reckless and sinful about the way the business is run will grow, not shrink. Authors without “platforms” will have a more difficult time finding agents willing to represent them.
That’s not good news for new writers or those writers struggling to stay in print.
Mid-list projects, Mr. Abate said, the kind of books that have traditionally attracted advances in the $50,000 range, will suffer as a result: For little-known literary authors and journalists, “the advances are going to be lower and it will be that much harder to sell them.”

In fact, he said, these books “might not even get bought.
The author of the article, Leon Feyfakh, says this:
What lies ahead instead is a necessary scaling back of ambition: an age in which the gambling spirit that has kept book publishing exciting gives way to a shabby, predictable environment that cows its participants into avoiding all things adventurous and allowing only the proven few a seat at the table.
One thing all of this says to me is that if you’re lucky enough to get published this year or next, you’ve got to take advantage of the web 2.0 world. Get out there on the internet and promote yourself and your book.

What do you think about this article? What should a writer or newly published author do? Will this raise the status and number of e-books?


  1. We need to be all singing and dancing these days... Anything we can do to promote our work we must do. The stakes are higher for all of us.

    Great posting, Helen

  2. I think more of us have to take a hybrid approach to publishing--pursue traditional publishing and the possibly more lucrative self-pub as well. And there's more money with high volume, so we need to write more and faster (with, obviously, great editors like yourself checking our work!)

  3. Elizabeth, you're a good example of a writer who writes fast and produces great books in two series.

  4. It's interesting that you wrote this 3 years ago. In hindsight, it's easy to see what happened (and still happening). No doubt about it, an author needs to practice self-promotion.

  5. I agree with Elizabeth, we really need to try all avenues. Certian projects work for traditional publishing others don't. As writers we need to pay attention to what is happening in the publishing world and work it to our advantage.

  6. I agree Lauri. I have to say, though, that the publishing world seems to be changing at a fast rate. It's difficult to keep up.

  7. talk about harbingers of doom. I think in today's publishing world, authors will find their niche and make the most of it. If you've got a great story, it will find its way in the world - it's tricky, and it takes hard work, but it's not hopeless.


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