Monday, January 04, 2010


Vicki at the start of a new decade.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am starting the new year wildly optimistic. I got up this morning, feeling great and raring to get to work.

Whereupon I made coffee, started the fire, read the paper, wrote this blog entry. Procrastination is always another story.

It’s been a hard year for a lot of people, a hard decade. One of the worst pieces of news in the Canadian publishing industry hit us on Boxing Day. McNally Robinson Bookstores are in bankruptcy and closing their two newest stores. This company is a very small bookstore chain, family owned and operated. They opened two new stores only this year, one in Toronto where I went to do a reading from Gold Digger in May. It was a beautiful store with a great restaurant. Gone. They tried to do events, but unlike Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale which has been hugely successful with their author events (just ask regular patron Donis) they just couldn’t get the people in. When I spoke there I had about 6 people attend. I thought that was disappointing until I read in the paper that no one could attract more than 12 or 15. Lawrence Hill (author of the hugely popular Book of Negros) had less than 10. The store location was poor – waaaaay up in the Northern suburbs; they might have attracted more people downtown.

Nevertheless, it has been (so I have read) a very good year for Canadian publishing. Readers are UP and books sold are UP.

Certainly when I was doing book signings in December at the major chain, the stores were just packed and the line ups long and customers were staggering under the weight of books to be purchased. And there was I happy to add another book to their pile.

On a personal note, my backlist from Poisoned Pen Press (and thus, I would assume the books from my fellow Typists who are also published by PPP) have just been released on Kindle. Now some people spit on the floor when you say the word “Kindle” but I am of the opinion that if you can’t join them, get out of the bathtub. (I’ve just invented a new saying). Electronic is the way it’s going to be so we need to get on board.

People are still reading: many people, including me, for now, are sticking firmly to books on paper; some are eagerly embracing the new technology. We need to be there, as writers, for both types of readers.

I am starting the New Year with a new agent and new ideas, but fear not, Dear Reader, Molly Smith and Fiona and the gang will continue.

If you got a Kindle for Christmas and have been wondering what to fill it with, here you go: Valley of the Lost on Kindle

Be sure and look up Donis, Charles and Debby also.


Ann Elle Altman said...

I agree. Things are changing. I live near Texas, USA and when I try to find a book store I get, 'Book store? With books? Do you mean Best Buy?' Yikes.

Even now, books stores sell less and less books, and more DVDs, CDs, books on CD or MP3, and gift items.

I'm looking for other ways to market my next book. I think the traditional way of publishing will go and go faster than we think. I haven't decided what to do but, electronic and audio are more likely candidates.


Jill Edmondson said...

Yes, a shame about McNally Robinson. Another independant retailer gone the way of the dodo bird and betamax movies. A timely reminder to get out there and support smaller booksellers!

On the other hand, great news that Canadian book sales are holding strong! let's hope that continues (in whatever format) for the year(s) to come.

Happy 2010, Jill

Vicki Delany said...

More optomism, at least for us writing hardcover and trade fiction:

Kerrie said...

Happy New Year Vicky. I just dropped in to ask if you would like to participate in the best crime fiction I read in 2009 that I am aggregating over on my blog.

Vicki Delany said...

Sure, Kerry. I'll pop over.

Rick Blechta said...

I just dropped in to see what condition your condition was in.

job said...