Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is the Economy Ruining Your Chance at Publication

With the economy tanking and all eyes focused on the election, do you believe non-genre, fiction writers might be wise to delay trying to peddle their wares until early next year? I ask because I have read that this is a dreadful time for fiction writers seeking to enter the marketplace for the first time. I’m considering shelving my medical thriller for the time being and concentrating my efforts on a new writing project. What do you think?

This is an interesting question. First let me tell you that at this point the election is going to have absolutely no impact on whether or not you sell a book. Publishers usually schedule their books a year ahead of time. In fact, in a recent conversation with an editor we were discussing what year it was and she said to me, “I’m already in 2009.” Editors buying books right now are buying for 2009. Some might have spots to fill with books in early 2009, but no one is concerned with the election when it comes to publishing; those books were bought in 2007 at the very latest and are now well into the pipeline. They are being edited or are even done with the editing process and the covers are even done or almost done.

As for the economy, well, it stinks. And yes, like everything else book publishing is being impacted. Costs are going up everywhere and that includes the cost of book production. Everyone is spending less money and books are not usually a need like food or fuel, so they are one of the first things to go when it comes to budgeting. In other words, not as many people are buying books. Does this mean you should sit back and wait until things clear out to start submitting? Absolutely not. Not, that is, unless you’re a seer and you know the economy is going to take an upswing in August. If that’s the case, though, could you give me a buzz and let me know what you know?

From an author’s point of view it’s always a “dreadful time for fiction writers to enter the marketplace.” I’ve never, in my 15 years in publishing, heard people talk about what a great time it is for beginning authors to launch their careers. At least I’ve never heard authors say that. Editors and agents will say that all the time. It is a tough economy and it is difficult for beginning writers to break out and find readers, but that’s not going to change that much when the economy hits an upswing. So my advice to you, as always, is to write the absolute best book you can write and proudly and confidently send it out to agents. If it doesn’t sell, get that next book out there. Don’t worry about the economy, the election, or anything else. Just write a good book (with a great hook).