Monday, January 04, 2016
By Vicki Delany
January 1st is just a date on the calendar, isn’t it? Perhaps the New Year should start on December 21 (or 22) when the sun seems to turn in the sky and head back and we’re saved from endless darkness. Or on December 25th, as that is celebrated as the birth date of the person for whom our years are numbered. Or maybe, for some relieved parents, the day the kids go back to school.
But it’s January 1st in the Western World, and whether or not we see the new year in at a big party or simply by cracking open a new calendar, it’s the start of the year.
And a time for looking back and looking forward. Perhaps we do need a date at which we can stop and recollect on all that went well, and what didn’t, and hope to see more of the former, and less of the latter.
In 2015, I had four books published. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Two of those four were first in series, which is promising, and two were written under a brand new pen name. I’m going to have a slow (comparatively speaking) 2016 with only three books. The eighth constable Molly Smith book, Unreasonable Doubt, will be out on Feb 2rd, the third Lighthouse Library book, Reading Up A Storm, in April, and the second Year Round Christmas mystery, We Wish You a Murderous Christmas, in November.
So, things are going well for me in my writing career. You’d think I’d be leaning back and practicing being self-satisfied. But the publishing world is a very strange place, and I’m approaching the future with trepidation. Strange things are happening at Penguin Random House and all the Berkley Prime Crime authors are getting twitchy. Contracts are not being renewed and new books not being picked up. It’s not that books are being turned down. It’s that NOTHING seems to be happening.
The race to the bottom continues as the plethora of free books becomes almost overwhelming, not to mention books being sold for .99c. Used to be backlist books were reduced in price to attract new readers, which is a fair business motel. Increasingly I see almost new (like a couple of weeks old) titles from small or independent publishers being offered at .99c.
In the US, the UK, and Canada writers’ incomes have dropped by something like 50% in the last twenty years. It’s not hard to see why, is it?
So, as the race to the bottom continues an awful lot of good writers are going to decide it’s not worthwhile to keep writing and give it up.
If you love a book or a series and want to see it continue, you can help the struggling author. Buy a copy of the book (heck a mass market paperback isn’t much more than a large latte these days, and less than the cost of a movie ticket), or take it out of your library if you have a limited budget (libraries pay for books) and then leave a nice review at Amazon, Goodreads, and other places. It does help.
Posted by Vicki Delany at 12:00 am