Is the publishing industry dying?

The slush pile just got slushier!

The slush pile just got slushier!

Don’t make me pull out my Mark Twain quotes. Don’t do it. Don’t… okay, you asked for it. The rumors of the death of the publishing industry have been greatly exaggerated. Not exactly Twain, but you get the point. In December, 2008, the publishing industry went through some pretty significant downsizing, particularly among the giants in Manhattan. It sent a lot of people into an all out panic attack, and not just those people who lost their jobs. Authors are scrambling to find out what the cutbacks mean for them. And not just the previously published. The wannabes like me are among the inquiring minds. I have books on the market, but I use a subsidy publisher. My ultimate goal is to garner that all elusive publishing deal with a major house. That deal just got elusiver (before you hound me with comments, I know elusiver is incorrect or incorrecter).

The major houses are scaling down their acquisitions for 2009 & 2010. Red carpet and black ink* celebrities don’t have to worry. The deals are still going to be there for them, but little known and unknown writers are in for an even tougher next few years. We are going to have to buckle down and look for alternatives until the traditional publishing houses get their legs back and start taking risks again. But even then, the publishing industry will have a much different landscape. Don’t be surprised if you see a shift toward tie-in mergers. Film companies merging with publishing companies merging with online social communities merging with online video distribution companies merging with TV networks, etc. The media lines are about to be blurred in a big way.

The good news is the publishing industry is not dying. It’s changing. The money will be their again. The doors are going to open wider than ever before for people like you and me. The bad news is we just have to wait it out. Keep writing. Hone your craft. In other words, nothing much has changed from our perspective.

*Black Ink Celebrities are big name authors; J.k. Rowling, Stephen King, John Grisham, etc.

Articles on the demise of the publishing industry:

Puttin’ Off the Ritz

Read it and weep

Blockbuster or Bust