Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reader Question: New Publishing Lines

What do you think of publishing companies who open a new line—examples might be the Flux line or the new Carolrhoda YA line—is this a good thing, in your experience, for new authors? Or can it stall their career if the line itself doesn't take off?

It's always a good thing when publishers decide to begin a new line. It usually means that they've had success with a type of book (mysteries, erotica, or YA) that they are currently publishing elsewhere and have made a decision to give this genre more credence and a bigger presence. It's also exciting for authors because it means that the publishers are looking for new, fresh voices to launch this line and will probably put some real promotion dollars behind the launch (the first few months the books are published).

Can a failed line stall an author's career? Yes. But a failed book can stall an author's career. So can a long illness, an editor leaving for a new job, or a book that for whatever reason just doesn't take off. In other words, we can't predict or sometime protect ourselves from what might eventually stall our careers. If there's a new line opening with a reputable publishing house, by all means jump on the bandwagon if you're invited.

—Jessica

5 comments:

Sharon Page said...

Great advice, Jessica.
I sold to Kensington when they were starting the Aphrodisia line--I contacted a friend who wrote for the editor the instant I heard about it. As you said, since they were looking for new voices, I sold 6 books to them, which was a huge advantage to starting a career. Knowing I'd have 6 releases meant many things: I could promote more heavily, I would have a backlist, I knew what I'd be doing for 2 years, and I had the chance to grow as an author over the contracts. I would highly recommend targeting new lines. I'm also working on proposals in other genres and am 'planning' for the market changing. No matter what, it's wise to be prepared for change.

Kate Douglas said...

I have to agree with Sharon--the manuscript of mine that Jessica submitted to Kensington was, from what my editor has said, the catalyst that started Aphrodisia, so not only did we take a chance on a new line, we WERE the new line. It was very scary, yet unbelievably gratifying to literally be the "bottom floor" on an imprint that, so far, appears to be doing really well. Of course, it all could have gone the OTHER way... :-)

Kimber An said...

I'll just sit back and learn on this one.
;)

elysabeth said...

Guess this shows my ignorance or newbie status, but how do you find out about new lines? I'm not sure how to find out about new lines or old lines or any lines - lol (the only lines I worry about right now are on my job, having to meet a quota of lines per day).

Any advice? - thanks E :)

BookEnds, LLC said...

The best way to find out about new lines is to read industry publications like publishersmarketplace.com, Publishers Weekly, or join genre specific groups like MWA, RWA, etc. There are a lot of great resources out there.