Publishers are Becoming More Risk Averse
“It just seems like it's getting harder and harder to get people to take a chance on an unknown.”
“Editors are buying fewer books, they are reluctant to take chances.”
“What does keep projects from being bought is the fact that lists are shrinking, and in a marketplace in which it’s terribly hard to win anyone’s attention – from buyers all the way to customers – everyone up the editorial chain is anxious about making the wrong bet … more often than not, ‘No’ is a safe answer.”
“I base this on the number of rejection letters publishers have sent for well-written, well-plotted novels by new authors that would have sold if given the chance.”
“I don't see the market picking up much, and if the current trends continue, it will only decline.”
“Because I don't agree that the publishing industry is either for or against unpublished writers. They are FOR unpublished writers who have a brilliant first novel to offer or a nonfiction platform. They are AGAINST unpublished writers who are bad writers or (in the case of nonfiction, are not credentialed in their field, have a new original, high concept idea etc.)”
“The Industry is not a monolithic thing. Some genres (nonfiction especially, which more and more requires the author to have a major platform for promotion and media attention) will continue to become more difficult; some genres (upmarket fiction) exalt first-time writers. The “first novel" for literary fiction represents a unique marketing opportunity for the publisher; it's the second and third novels that tend to be far more difficult to publish well if the first novel doesn't take off.”
“Some trends favor new writers and new voices, however the money is often discouragingly small, so there is not the sense of a career being launched.”
The Impact of the National Economy
"Publishing is an increasingly tough biz in tough times--fewer people read."
So What Can a Debut Author Do?
1) Study the elements of a good query letter.
2) Make your contact letter succinct, positive, but not obnoxious. Stress that you understand the market for your book and how to address that market.
3) Learn what types of manuscripts individual agents are looking for and send yours out to the agents that match up the best with your topic or genre.
4) Don't give up.
Avoid scams and still get your book published. Get our free report Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing for Writers just visit Free Report
About The Authors
Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them. Read Dee's blog or Brian's blog The Packer Literary Corner