Pretty much all I've seen and heard recently about the state of the publishing industry is doom and gloom. When a month ago Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced a ban on acquisitions, a surge of panic began washing over the writing community followed by a tsunami of pessimism. Being a "glass half full" girl by nature, this sky-is-falling mentality doesn't appeal.
I had the pleasure of hearing Sarah Nelson, the Editor-In-Chief of Publisher's Weekly, deliver the keynote address at a writers' conference last year. She struck me as smart, funny, and in possession of a realistic view of the industry from the inside. I recall sitting at the dining table, trying to saw through my obligatory conference rubberized chicken breast entree, thinking, "This woman knows her sh...um, stuff." And after following her Publisher's Weekly opinion column for a while, I'm convinced she does.
I was delighted when Ms. Nelson's editorial of December 15, 2008 had a positive bent. She writes that the Nielsen BookScan reported a 6% rise in sales Thanksgiving week. Even though the numbers dropped again after that, it's still heartening. What caught my attention in the article was the expression of compassion in adversity. Publishing is a competitive business, and that increases the higher one climbs up the publishing ladder. I smiled when I read, "I know it sounds hokey--and I will spare you the Chinese proberb about every crisis being an opportunity--but while the mood in BookLand is decidedly tense, it's a tension tinged with community and compassion." That sounds pretty good to me. Click here to read the full article.
So this year, one of my New Year's resolutions is to remain realistically optimistic about the state of publishing; not just with regard to my own projects, but the industry as a whole. I'm not advocating rose colored glasses, I'm simply not going to be consumed by contagious negativity. My glass is half full.
Happy New Year!
Mary Lindsey writes paranormal fiction for children and adults. Prior to attending University of Houston Law School, she received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Drama.
Mary can also be found on her website.