Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things that make you go hmm

Every time I turn around I'm hearing about low sales figures and mass layoffs in the publishing world and how publishers are going to be tightening their belts and and acquiring fewer books. And, if you are one of the lucky ones to land a book deal in these economically trying times, expect a lower advance, and no book promo budget. Well, if that's the case, why am I seeing deals on Publisher's Marketplace like the ones posted below?

Comedian Kathy Griffin's comedic memoir OFFICIAL BOOK CLUB SELECTION, organized chronologically and promising never-before-discussed personal details about Griffin's life, her background, and how she became who she is today, reportedly in a major deal, "for more than $2 million,"

USAir Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's memoir, to William Morrow, reportedly for between $2.5 million and $3.2 million by various reports, at auction, in a two-book deal (the second said by the Daily Beast to be a collection of inspirational poetry).

Audrey Niffenegger's HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY, "a delicious and deadly twenty-first-century ghost story about her familiar themes of love, loss and identity," to Nan Graham at Scribner, in a major deal, reportedly for approximately $4.5 million, at auction, for publication on September 29, 2009.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't begrudge any author a dime of their advance, especially Ms. Niffenegger who's first book, The Time Traveler's Wife, I've heard nothing but good things about and has an estimated 1.3 million copies in print. But Sully? Yes, he's a hero. No doubt about it. I wish he could be my pilot every time I fly. But what about his story haven't we already heard?

As for Kathy Griffin, I saw an episode of her show My Life on the D List where only thirteen people showed up to her comedy DVD signing at Tower Records after she had been all over TV and the radio promoting it. A 2 million dollar advance. . .really?

These are the kinds of deals that make authors want to pull their hair out, especially when you think about all the talented writers who are being passed over because they don't come with a ready made audience.

I'm just sayin'.



CS Designs said...

Great Post Angela!

I'm intrigued, bewildered, amazed, and left shaking my head all at the same time. Still I'm not surprised by anything that you wrote because these are "business" decisions. Remember it's not personal, it's business right?

In other workds I definitely understand your point of view.

~ Charlotte

CS Designs said...

...oops! the last line should contain "words," not workds. I am certainly not trying to invent a new language here. (smile)

~ Charlotte

Rhonda McKnight said...

The deal is they pay who they want to pay and use the economy as an excuse to do what they want to do.

Thomas Nelson posted a profit, but has had two rounds of layoffs, so tell me if you still made money why have you laid off your staff. Barbour another Christian publisher started a new line of cozy mysteries. Released the first book in January of 2008 and announced they were discontinuing the line this past December because it isn't making money. Now please tell me, what business school did these genuis's go to that taught them that any new business venture was going to turn a profit in less than 12 months. Do they not understand it takes 5 years for a business to show a profit and even if they couldn't wait the 5 years, surely they could have given it more than 11 months?

They need some basic business sense. Everybody can't have an English or literature degree if you want to make money. But the truth is, I think most of them are just plain lying about sales so they can do what they want, like treat new and midlist authors like crap.

Okay, so now you know how I feel.

Private Investigators said...

Good deal for 2 books.

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