A sobering post about an issue that is constantly on my mind:
Sarah Weinman's blog
These are dire times, and I would broaden the darkness to include nonfiction. The truth is, publishers aren't buying and agents aren't selling, and this has been going on for over a year. My memoir will soon be ready to submit, and I will be dumbfounded if it sells. And how depressing for all of us to pound away on material we know doesn't have a chance in hell of selling. I'm not used to working in that mindset, and it's crippling. This has nothing to do with the book, because I think it's my best work, but it has everything to do with the state of publishing. You can look at Publishers Marketplace and see that many agents haven't had a sale since last fall. It seemed there was a slight surge in the spring. Those were probably the titles that agents didn't submit until after the holidays. (How long can these agents remain in business with no sales?) My experiment with publishing my own books and backlist in digital format has been a dismal eye opener. FAIL! FAIL! FAIL! What the hell was I thinking???? And ebooks might be the future, but they are not the present. A massive shift to digital readers (as in people) could take years, or it could happen fairly quickly. I suspect there will be a lot of Kindles and Nooks under the tree this year.
All over the web, people are talking about no longer needing publishing houses, and no longer needing agents. A year ago, after working with the wrong agent for a few months, I'd wondered the same thing. But after my misguided foray into what I consider self-publishing, I'm convinced that we NEED publishers. We NEED agents. We should be supporting them, not kicking them to the curb in these horrible times. Writers are stomping off, saying they will just publish their own freakin' books. I said the same thing, but I'm now singing a different tune.