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Me&BacchusGoIntoABar
11-24-2009, 10:49 PM
Really Good Might Not Be Good Enough, Blog post by Agent Kristin (http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2009/11/really-good-might-not-be-enough.html)


I have to say that Iíve been shaking my head a lot lately. This market is just brutal.

Today I wrote a rejection letter to a really talented author. Previously published, had a really good manuscript but I honestly didnít think I could sell it so passed on offering representation.

You know things are bad when as an agent, Iím passing on really good novels because currently I believe that really good might not be good enough in todayís market.

I really hope another agent takes it on and proves me wrong in a heartbeat. Is it odd to say that Iíll be really happy for the author if I see the sale announced on Deal Lunch? Iíd really like to be proven wrong. Iíd prefer it!

What should I be taking away from this? And is the current publishing environment that much worse than it was a couple years ago?

suki
11-24-2009, 10:53 PM
Really Good Might Not Be Good Enough, Blog post by Agent Kristin (http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2009/11/really-good-might-not-be-enough.html)

What should I be taking away from this? And is the current publishing environment that much worse than it was a couple years ago?

Conventional wisdom seems to be yes, though tempered by genre. Things are worse all over than 2-3 years ago, but far worse for some genres than others. Several agents have said that books that would have sold in a few weeks in 2005-2007, now gather stacks of lovely rejections - ie, editors love it, but can't get it through acquisitions/marketing.


You might also want to take a look at this thread, discussing a similar post Kristin Nelson posted in October:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160302&highlight=kristin+nelson


~suki

Jamesaritchie
11-24-2009, 11:05 PM
This is the same agent post I've been seeing for thirty years. One agent or another, usually several, say EXACTLY this same thing each and every year. Good year, bad year, mediocre years, it makes no differnce.

It doesn't make sense, even on the surface. "Good may not be good enough" is just silliness. "Good enough" is a novel that a publisher will buy. Period.

And in case this agent hasn't noticed, publishers are still buying just about teh same number of novels as always, are still publishing just as many first time novelists as ever, and unless I'm missing it, all the books I see in bookstores are the same quiality as they always have been.

Really, someday agents may get tired of saying how brutal the market is, and how tough it is to sell even a good novel right now, but don't hold your breath waiting.

Gillhoughly
11-24-2009, 11:05 PM
Since I started selling back in the 80's ALL I've ever heard is that the market is tight.

I was told my sub-genre was glutted and dying, yet I've sold books in it, year after year, the most recent was released just a couple months ago.

All you need to take away from this is that this agent felt she could not sell that book; dozens of factors make up such decisions.

The main one is the agent has to really WANT to sell your book. If she cannot get behind it 100%, then she's doing the writer a favor by rejecting it.

Yes, the market is tight, but writers write no matter what.

Libbie
11-25-2009, 11:16 PM
On Monday on NPR, a great discussion occurred with the author of "In Defense of Books" (I believe that's the title.) It was all about the business of books, past, present, and future. Very interesting.

This author, who's been researching books and publishing for quite some time, said that each year more books are published than the previous year, even right now, even during terrible economic times.

Sounds like this agent was being a Negative Nancy. That, or she recognized that the book was good, but it just wasn't up her alley quite enough to make her feel like she could sell it successfully. Nothing wrong with that. They've got to be enthusiastic about it to sell it.

MGraybosch
11-26-2009, 12:42 AM
Really Good Might Not Be Good Enough, Blog post by Agent Kristin (http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2009/11/really-good-might-not-be-enough.html)

What should I be taking away from this? And is the current publishing environment that much worse than it was a couple years ago?

For my part, I refuse to worry. If the best I can do isn't good enough, then I'll keep writing and keep improving until my best is good enough. Everything else is beyond my control and therefore unworthy of my concern. And if one agent can't sell my work, that's their problem. There's bound to be somebody else who can and will.

RG570
11-26-2009, 12:45 AM
This has more to do with the psychology of the agent than any reality regarding the selling of that manuscript.

This is just a big excuse.

Freelancer
11-26-2009, 01:47 AM
I'm not worrying at all. Why should I? It's containing a small measure of psychology too. If a newbie or an unpublished reads this, there is a chance he will give up immediately and say; if the veterans can't achieve this, why should I waste my time? I'm not worrying about it at all, because I'm writing MY work, which must be good. I'm not worrying about the work of others. Writing is used to be a journey, where you walk alone or with your co-writer, but the failures of others never can determine your achievements. You're never depended on the success or failures of other writers.

Always remember:
#1. The agent gets his / her payment from your payment. If the book is really THAT good, the agent is not going to jeopardize his / her own salary.
#2. If the agent can't get behind your work, can't sell it because the agency doesn't have the connection, the agent will surely reject you, regardless how good it is. But that doesn't mean others will reject you too.

Jamesaritchie
11-26-2009, 07:44 PM
I would also add that being previously published is not always a good thing. Writing a first book that tanks miserably is not a great inducement for anyone to buy your second.

scarletpeaches
11-26-2009, 07:49 PM
This is the same agent post I've been seeing for thirty years. One agent or another, usually several, say EXACTLY this same thing each and every year. Good year, bad year, mediocre years, it makes no differnce.

It doesn't make sense, even on the surface. "Good may not be good enough" is just silliness. "Good enough" is a novel that a publisher will buy. Period.

And in case this agent hasn't noticed, publishers are still buying just about teh same number of novels as always, are still publishing just as many first time novelists as ever, and unless I'm missing it, all the books I see in bookstores are the same quiality as they always have been.

Really, someday agents may get tired of saying how brutal the market is, and how tough it is to sell even a good novel right now, but don't hold your breath waiting.This was my gut instinct James, and thank you for posting this.

I've never wanted to believe a good novel will get knocked back until hell won't have it.

Can you imagine an agent or publisher saying, "It's good, we can make a lot of money from this, but...no thanks?"

Ridiculous.

And to be honest I'm tired of all the doom-merchants. They serve no purpose.

Brindle MacWuff
11-26-2009, 10:56 PM
This has more to do with the psychology of the agent than any reality regarding the selling of that manuscript.

This is just a big excuse.

Abso-bloody-loooootly. This agent should be going out and kicking doors down if it's a good ms.

Frankly, the author is better without this particular doom merchant, it's been the same old shit for years. Getting published is tough, and only commercially attractive ms will get through.

plus Áa change, plus c'est la mÍme chose.

djf881
11-27-2009, 10:16 AM
This agent found AW poster and lit-fic superstar Jamie Ford in her slushpile, and is therefore in possession of 15% of what I believe to be a shitload of money.

She is, generally a successful agent and worth taking seriously. She represents a lot of literary writers, and the trouble with that genre is that it's very difficult to tell what will sell and what won't.

A lot of beautifully written, intricately plotted novels get picked up by enthusiastic agents, get sold to delighted editors, earn starred reviews in PW and Booklist and then, for some reason, just don't sell. It's difficult to tell the difference between the ones that don't and the ones that do. I suspect cover design and co-op placement play a big part in it.

There is absolutely no doubt that publishing has shrunk in the last year, and this smaller, more risk-averse industry is buying fewer books and paying less for them. In the last year, all the major houses have laid off hundreds of editors and closed or merged imprints. That means there are fewer people to submit any particular project to. Editors have less authority to acquire projects and everyone is scared about championing innovative projects because a failure could cost them their job.

If there are more books being published than ever before, it's only because self and vanity presses continue to grow.

Slushie
11-27-2009, 05:48 PM
I'm not worrying at all. Why should I? It's containing a small measure of psychology too. If a newbie or an unpublished reads this, there is a chance he will give up immediately and say; if the veterans can't achieve this, why should I waste my time? I'm not worrying about it at all, because I'm writing MY work, which must be good. I'm not worrying about the work of others. Writing is used to be a journey, where you walk alone or with your co-writer, but the failures of others never can determine your achievements. You're never depended on the success or failures of other writers.QFT.


If there are more books being published than ever before, it's only because self and vanity presses continue to grow.Self publishing is growing? I'm under the impression that it's nothing more than a money shredder. Not saying you're wrong, but is there evidence of this? It just doesn't seem logical to self-publish if [general] you want to make money by writing.

Rhoda Nightingale
11-27-2009, 06:17 PM
Submit to an agent other than the one who posted that blog. That's what I'd take away from it.

MattW
11-27-2009, 06:34 PM
Posters above have mentioned it, but it feels like it's about risk.

Publishers might be less willing to take risks right now, but isn't that how every first time author is viewed? And don't overnight bestsellers come from risky ventures? All you need is one risk to payoff the dozens of others that don't.

Focusing on what is selling now and tried-and-true is good for keeping a solid baseline of business, but being successful in a down time means continuing to take those calculated risks. It'd be shortsighted not to.

kaitie
11-27-2009, 07:27 PM
QFT.

Self publishing is growing? I'm under the impression that it's nothing more than a money shredder. Not saying you're wrong, but is there evidence of this? It just doesn't seem logical to self-publish if [general] you want to make money by writing.

What he's saying isn't that people are making money with self-publishing, but that those books are skewing the results. There have been several recent articles about how quickly self- and vanity publishing have increased (we're talking like 175% last year sort of increases). So random numbers here, but if you say 5000 books were published this year, and only 4500 last year, but this year 1000 were self-published compared to 200 last year, the number of books being published traditionally has gone down even though the overall number has increased.

It's 12:30 in the morning...if those numbers don't add up it's because my brain is fried.

MGraybosch
11-27-2009, 07:43 PM
Submit to an agent other than the one who posted that blog. That's what I'd take away from it.

Same here.

escritora
11-27-2009, 07:48 PM
For my part, I refuse to worry. If the best I can do isn't good enough, then I'll keep writing and keep improving until my best is good enough. Everything else is beyond my control and therefore unworthy of my concern.

I'm with you. I received rejections on my current project, and I simply revisited to see how I can make it stronger.

Me&BacchusGoIntoABar
11-27-2009, 08:29 PM
I asked the agent Jennifer Laughran about this and here was her response:


No, you aren't screwed. We're still selling things. You just have to go in with eyes wide open and know that Really good really might not be good enough.

Strive to be really great.

Before she said this, this is also what I decided to take away from this. Really good isn't good enough right now. You have to be even better.

Jamesaritchie
11-27-2009, 08:30 PM
This agent found AW poster and lit-fic superstar Jamie Ford in her slushpile, and is therefore in possession of 15% of what I believe to be a shitload of money.

She is, generally a successful agent and worth taking seriously. She represents a lot of literary writers, and the trouble with that genre is that it's very difficult to tell what will sell and what won't.

A lot of beautifully written, intricately plotted novels get picked up by enthusiastic agents, get sold to delighted editors, earn starred reviews in PW and Booklist and then, for some reason, just don't sell. It's difficult to tell the difference between the ones that don't and the ones that do. I suspect cover design and co-op placement play a big part in it.

There is absolutely no doubt that publishing has shrunk in the last year, and this smaller, more risk-averse industry is buying fewer books and paying less for them. In the last year, all the major houses have laid off hundreds of editors and closed or merged imprints. That means there are fewer people to submit any particular project to. Editors have less authority to acquire projects and everyone is scared about championing innovative projects because a failure could cost them their job.

If there are more books being published than ever before, it's only because self and vanity presses continue to grow.

Starred reviews anywhere mean nothing, and never have. I've been at this for thirty years, and it's routine for novels with wonderful reviews across the board to fail miserably, and it's routine for novels that get nearly 100% horrible reviews to sell like ice cubes in hell.

Placement and cover design, my eye. Novels sell because those who buy a novel love it enough to tell everyone they know how wonderful it is, and those readers then tell everyone they know how wonderful it is, on and on.

Novels fail to sell because readers don't like a novel enough to talk about it. You may not see a differnce in two novels, but the great majority of readers do, and placement/cover design has nothing to do with why they love or hate a novel.

It's always difficult in any genre, at any time in history, to tell what will sell and what won't. The really good agents and editors can usually tell, but not nearly as often as we'd all like.

The publishing industry hasn't shrunk, and no one counts vanity/self-published novels. That wouldn't make any sense. This is one of teh best times in history for novels. Many seem to think that the Good Old Days were the best ones, but the number of commercial publishers today, and teh number of novels sold today, dwarfs the numbers of the Good Old Days.

The layoffs, and there weren't really very many, were good ones, should have been done years ago, and I don't know a single editor who has less authority today than he had five years ago.

The trouble with "new, innovative" projects is that they're most often "bad, no one will read them, and we'll lose a ton of money" projects. Publiwshers are no more afraid of taking a chance today than they ever were, but there must be some indication that the book will be a success.

Failure is always what costs editors jobs, and this has been true as long as publishing has existed. An editor who can't consistently find books the reading public loves will be fired, and should be fired.

Simply put, it's an absolutely wonderful time for first time novelists, for any group of novelists, if they can actually tell a good story, filled with great characters.

Is it tough to sell a novel today? Of course it is. But it's always been tough. Think it would have been easier back in the golden years of thethrities and fortie when everyone read? And, when only a fraction of today's novels would have been published, and when, in fact, only 750 commercial publisher and booklines of every size and type even existed, compared to the thousands of commercial publishers and booklines we have today?

This is just tired old rehashing that isn't backed by any evidence at all, and that the actual numbers put the lie to instantly. The truth is that most who preach doomsday couldn't sell a novel at any period in history.

djf881
11-28-2009, 12:20 AM
Starred reviews anywhere mean nothing, and never have. I've been at this for thirty years, and it's routine for novels with wonderful reviews across the board to fail miserably, and it's routine for novels that get nearly 100% horrible reviews to sell like ice cubes in hell.


Sales from big name authors are kind of pre-ordained. Everything else is unpredictable. Hard work at self-promotion is enough for some midlist authors to sustain a career, but whatever makes a book into a massive hit is contingent neither on talent, nor quality nor effort, beyond a certain point.



Placement and cover design, my eye. Novels sell because those who buy a novel love it enough to tell everyone they know how wonderful it is, and those readers then tell everyone they know how wonderful it is, on and on.

Novels fail to sell because readers don't like a novel enough to talk about it. You may not see a differnce in two novels, but the great majority of readers do, and placement/cover design has nothing to do with why they love or hate a novel.


It helps not to have an ugly cover and be spine-out on a rack in the back of the bookstore.



It's always difficult in any genre, at any time in history, to tell what will sell and what won't. The really good agents and editors can usually tell, but not nearly as often as we'd all like.


They can spot quality. That's as close as anyone can get.



The publishing industry hasn't shrunk, and no one counts vanity/self-published novels. That wouldn't make any sense. This is one of teh best times in history for novels. Many seem to think that the Good Old Days were the best ones, but the number of commercial publishers today, and teh number of novels sold today, dwarfs the numbers of the Good Old Days.


When people talk about the number of books published annually, they are usually talking about the total number of ISBNs, which includes self and vanity published titles.

There are a lot of small publishers and e-publishers, which are great, but selling an agented manuscript to a major publisher is harder than it used to be. Authors who publish are also seeing less money in advances, and less publicity assistance, as publishers tighten their purse strings.



The layoffs, and there weren't really very many, were good ones, should have been done years ago, and I don't know a single editor who has less authority today than he had five years ago.


Well, a lot of authors are getting rejections these days that say the editor loved the book, but could not get it past the editorial board. That's a new thing.

And shrinking and merging imprints is not good for any of us. That means there are fewer people to submit to, and fewer places to submit.



The trouble with "new, innovative" projects is that they're most often "bad, no one will read them, and we'll lose a ton of money" projects. Publiwshers are no more afraid of taking a chance today than they ever were, but there must be some indication that the book will be a success.


The whole notion of taking a chance is that they don't know. There are a lot of books out there, and book ads don't reach many readers. Nobody can tell beforehand what distinguishes "The Help" or "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" or "Water for Elephants" from any other good literary/women's fiction manuscripts.

Some of them go viral, and some of them sell squat. There's been a lot of reporting lately about how some of the National Book Award and Booker Prize nominees had sold fewer than 2k copies.



Failure is always what costs editors jobs, and this has been true as long as publishing has existed. An editor who can't consistently find books the reading public loves will be fired, and should be fired.

Simply put, it's an absolutely wonderful time for first time novelists, for any group of novelists, if they can actually tell a good story, filled with great characters.


That's ridiculous. Plenty of good stories filled with great characters don't sell and plenty of mediocre ones sell tons of copies. Quality doesn't dictate sales. My understanding is that the business model in literary fic is to release a number of beautifully written books, most of which lose money, and then the occasional monster hit pays for the others. If they could tell which one is the monster hit, they would just publish that and not the others. It's impossible to distinguish among them, and the cash cow is rarely the one most editors and critics think is the best.

Right now, publishers are less willing to lay out the capital for a bunch of hardcover literature while they wait for the big hit, because people are being assessed for firing based on quarter-to-quarter performance.



Is it tough to sell a novel today? Of course it is. But it's always been tough. Think it would have been easier back in the golden years of thethrities and fortie when everyone read? And, when only a fraction of today's novels would have been published, and when, in fact, only 750 commercial publisher and booklines of every size and type even existed, compared to the thousands of commercial publishers and booklines we have today?


It was mechanically difficult to even write a book before the late eighties, and it was expensive and daunting to query before around 2004.

But there's no doubt that major publishers are paying smaller advances and buying fewer books than they were five years ago.

djf881
11-28-2009, 12:32 AM
Self publishing is growing? I'm under the impression that it's nothing more than a money shredder. Not saying you're wrong, but is there evidence of this? It just doesn't seem logical to self-publish if [general] you want to make money by writing.

Just to be clear, self and vanity publishing are a terrible way to pursue a career as a writer and should never be considered a viable alternative to real publishing.

But these companies are making a lot of money from people who don't know better or refuse to take good advice.

EclipsesMuse
11-28-2009, 01:03 AM
A book I read by an agent stated that a lot of rejections can come from the tastes of the agent and publishers they submit to. Even if the book is really good, if it is submitted to an agent or publisher who has different peferences, even if they accept books in that genre, then the novel will most likely be rejected. This could be a possibility for this agent. She never said that she represented this author before. I think it's best to do research into the agents and publishers you want to submit to. Find their likes a dislikes, so you can choose a good match for yourself and your novel. And if you get rejected, keep trying.

Slushie
11-28-2009, 01:42 AM
Just to be clear, self and vanity publishing are a terrible way to pursue a career as a writer and should never be considered a viable alternative to real publishing.

But these companies are making a lot of money from people who don't know better or refuse to take good advice.

Yeah. That's what makes it so hard for me to believe these 'business' models are actually growing. Something's just not adding up in Brane.

ETA: unless there really are that many gullible people out there...

MGraybosch
11-28-2009, 01:46 AM
ETA: unless there really are that many gullible people out there...

We're all suckers for something.

Slushie
11-28-2009, 01:53 AM
We're all suckers for something.

I like suckers. Green apple is my favorite.

Just for ME to be extra clear: I'm not saying people who do self-publishing are idiots. If you want to show gramma your book (y'know, the one that agents hate) and you've got some extra bills laying around, then self-publish and accept the financial clubbing. But, based on what I've seen here and through The Google, it would be an idiotic decision to take a writing career in that direction.

Me&BacchusGoIntoABar
11-28-2009, 02:05 AM
I like suckers. Green apple is my favorite.

Just for ME to be extra clear: I'm not saying people who do self-publishing are idiots. If you want to show gramma your book (y'know, the one that agents hate) and you've got some extra bills laying around, then self-publish and accept the financial clubbing. But, based on what I've seen here and through The Google, it would be an idiotic decision to take a writing career in that direction.

The problem with calling them idiots is that there are a number of big success stories in self-publishing. For some people, it probably is the right direction. James Redfield did okay with self-publishing, for example.

scarletpeaches
11-28-2009, 02:11 AM
People like James Redfield and GP Taylor are the exception rather than the rule.

And their books only sold noticeable numbers when they were picked up by mainstream publishers.

djf881
11-28-2009, 02:12 AM
Yeah. That's what makes it so hard for me to believe these 'business' models are actually growing. Something's just not adding up in Brane.

ETA: unless there really are that many gullible people out there...

Thomas Nelson and Harlequin have both started vanity presses recently as a way of monetizing their slush.

A few self-pubbed success stories fuel the aspirations of a lot of widely-rejected writers and it probably helps that a lot of writers are a little unstable.

EclipsesMuse
11-28-2009, 02:19 AM
Thomas Nelson and Harlequin have both started vanity presses recently as a way of monetizing their slush.

Yeah and the RWA no longer recognizes Harlequin as legitmate because of it.

djf881
11-28-2009, 02:27 AM
Yeah and the RWA no longer recognizes Harlequin as legitmate because of it.

Well, they already changed the name of the imprint so it isn't called Harlequin. I am not disputing the fact that vanity presses are a bad idea or that their services are often advertised deceptively. But they make money and that industry is growing.

Me&BacchusGoIntoABar
11-28-2009, 02:31 AM
People like James Redfield and GP Taylor are the exception rather than the rule.

Sure, but it's another thing to say that anyone self-publishing is an idiot.

scarletpeaches
11-28-2009, 02:55 AM
Well...given my experience with Taylor on another site, he definitely is a fuckwit.

Slushie
11-28-2009, 02:57 AM
Sure, but it's another thing to say that anyone self-publishing is an idiot.

From my post @ top of page:

Just for ME to be extra clear: I'm not saying people who do self-publishing are idiots. If you want to show gramma your book (y'know, the one that agents hate) and you've got some extra bills laying around, then self-publish and accept the financial clubbing. But, based on what I've seen here and through The Google, it would be an idiotic decision to take a writing career in that direction.
Bolded for emphasis. Calling someone an idiot is different than saying PersonA is doing something idiotic.

Albannach
11-28-2009, 03:20 AM
Kristin Nelson is considered a pretty darn good agent from what I've read so dissing her because she says it's a tough market doesn't strike me as a high level of discussion.

Maybe, just maybe, she knows what she's talking about. At any rate, I'm willing to consider that if I want to sell a novel, it's gonna have to be better than good.

Edit: But then there's judging what is better than good and judging what is sellable. I'm leaving in that reference to underage sex that several people told me would make my novel unsellable.

EclipsesMuse
11-28-2009, 03:29 AM
Maybe, just maybe, she knows what she's talking about. At any rate, I'm willing to consider that if I want to sell a novel, it's gonna have to be better than good.

I think a novel should always be better than good.

waylander
11-28-2009, 11:31 PM
Well...given my experience with Taylor on another site, he definitely is a fuckwit.

This parallels the experience of someone in my writing group who also posts here.
I tried to read Shadowmancer and the writing was so bad I put it down within 50 pages.

scarletpeaches
11-28-2009, 11:33 PM
No, I don't mean experience of the books, I mean experience of how he reacts to criticism of his work.

(Not mine, I hasten to add. I'm not a fan of his books and, after seeing how he spoke to a friend of mine, I am not a fan of the man either).

LuckyH
11-29-2009, 10:13 PM
The publishing industry, belonging to the entertainment sector, will always suffer in a recession, with a proportionate number of lay-offs. That filters down to agents too, of which there appear to be far too many, especially one-man bands.

I found it interesting that the submitter had been previously published, and the agent could have commented on the authorís success, or lack of it. The latter would have been the most likely reason for not taking on the author, rather than some vague reference to having to be better than good.

I donít know if it was on this forum, but I read recently that a literary agency was receiving 300 manuscripts a week, and were only signing up one or two authors a year.

No wonder some writers are unstable, taking on those odds; theyíre too much for me to work out with my arithmetically challenged mind. Anyway, itís not true that some writers are unstable, most of them are, me included.

Me&BacchusGoIntoABar
12-05-2009, 10:42 AM
Nathan Bransford (lit agent) answered my question about this post in the Ask the Agent forum:


I don't know if it's a matter of taking a nosedive, but publishers, for better or worse, are really taking a hard look at their lists and are retrenching around only the books they think they can really publish well. On the one hand this is good because they are only publishing the books they are most passionate/confident about, but on the other hand there are lots of good authors falling through the cracks.

All writers can do is just keep writing as well as they can and let the chips fall where they may. Books are still selling, debuts are still getting published. It's just harder than ever.

aruna
12-05-2009, 11:55 AM
blogpost on Kritsin's blog from Wednesday:

I mentioned in our November newsletter a couple of weeks ago that Sara and I just absolutely loved a submission that came our way, offered rep, but alas the author went with another agent (as there were many agents interested).

I heard today that the project sold at auction for some money--with tons of houses bidding on it.

Ack. Hate that. But you know what? We tried for it; we were in the game. We loved it. Obviously lots of people agreed.

And for all of you, this is good news. This means Publishers are willing to step up to the plate for projects—something I was rather worried about as of late.

But truthfully, I wish editors hadn’t told me about it. Ignorance can be bliss…

timewaster
12-05-2009, 04:01 PM
Nathan Bransford (lit agent) answered my question about this post in the Ask the Agent forum:

This is my experience too. I've been published since the mid nineties and I know a lot of published YA authors and there is not much celebrating going on at the moment. Advances and lists have been slashed - we've just lost Borders in the UK which took a better than average range of YA books ( my market) The decision to market on price has been predictably disasterous -publishing margins and volumes are squeezed and so the 'content provider' suffers. There are exceptions, some people are making a killing but they are the only ones not complaining.

Me&BacchusGoIntoABar
12-05-2009, 08:17 PM
blogpost on Kritsin's blog from Wednesday:

Sounds like a different one than the one I had posted about, though. She didn't offer representation to the one I mentioned. Still, good news is always nice to hear.