Each morning of the week I get my electronic copy of “The Bookseller”, They are decent folk who send me via email a breakdown of many of the online articles about the world of publishing. As you can imagine this year the forecasts have been somewhat gloomy and if I might say, a little alarming. It is easy to see why book shops are panicking and not stocking new titles, whilst they compete by stocking the so called blockbusters.
As I have already written in previous Blogs, many new writers are turning to self-publishing, which is to be honest a very difficult route to take. In my mind the question I would pose would be why, when you look in the writers year and see hundreds of publishing firms? Once again I return to previous comments about how it appears that the whole of the publishing industry is hung up on celebrities, and looking at the bookseller this morning I have been given yet another reminder of this.
I have just read an article in ’Variety’ and I think it is worth having a look at it to understand some of my points. www.variety.com/article/vr11180006746.htmlit is titled ‘U.K.shows hit the books, by Leo Barraclough.’ The article is a really good example of today’s thinking as the publishers run for the cash cow, whist walking over huge amounts of talented writers. The article quotes. “Every one of the top 10 hardback non-fiction best sellers in Blighty last year was written by an entertainer.”
Its scary for us poor old writers, its bad enough that we are on mass fighting to get our own creative work into print, now we have to face and fight the entertainers as well? The sad truth is that just about every TV series on earth has a book out, on top of that the stars are writing their autobiographies, and the book shops are filling up fast with them, but please when will this stop? What has happened to the good old days when the publishers took on a writer and supported them, and created their own breed of celebrity? What is with this obsession to use those already made? doesn’t the publishing industry have a duty to those who are writing creative works? We all know it can be done as the list is endless, JK Rowling, Dan Brown, even in more recent times we have seen the overnight status of Stephanie Meyers rise higher and higher.
If publishers are looking to TV and celebrity biographies, they are not looking at new talent, I find it concerning that this year alone we have seen the deaths of some wonderful fiction writers, but who is going to replace them? Publishers at the moment seem to be worried that books sales have fallen and profits are down, no offence chaps but look at what your churning out, its not exactly awe inspiring, its a part of the market, but there are so many genre’s of books that appear to be getting lost in the lack of the media spotlight. The rich and famous are already rich and famous, leave them be and give a little more time to looking at the wealth of talent going through hell trying to get their own works in print. I find it disturbing to think that if C.S. Lewis or even Tolkien were new writers today, the odds are high that unless they did a TV show, we would all be deprived of their work, it a thought that is some what sobering and sends a cold chill down the spine, don’t you think?
I have to confess that I somehow feel that as the publishers complain louder and louder about how rough things are, I can only help but feel they are fighting themselves as their own worst enemy’s
Many thanks Leo Barraclough. Variety.com for UK shows hit the books. article vr1118006746/Friday Jul 31st 2009.