Friday, March 21, 2008

How to deal with a tough market?

I just read an article that Borders is in serious trouble and is considering selling itself. Which is really sad, because as a Canadian, the two major US book chains I know of are Borders and Barnes and Noble.

In the discussion in the article, and I’m paraphrasing here, a retail consultant basically said, the average US citizen’s discretionary income has dropped and funds for non-essential goods have decreased. And sadly, and even though I may disagree, books are considered non-essentials.

As much as I would like to keep my head in the sand box, I can’t ignore the recessionary climate in the States.

I’ve heard a couple of theories, that in a recession, people do cut their spending, but they need more of an escape, and so they buy more romance, because the cost of a book is small. So instead of buying a purse, or a pair of jeans, women buy a book.
I like that theory a lot, but I’m not sure I agree.
I think if discretionary income drops, discretionary spending drops across the board.

Booksales will drop. And publishers will buy fewer authors, and the market will get tougher, and hell, the market was already pretty tough.

So as an author trying to break into the market, it means I have to write a really amazing book and do more publicity to sell that book once it’s published.

I no longer think I can just write the book and see what happens.

Which, frankly, gives me shudders. I’m a social person with people I know, but the idea of a book signing gives me the heebie jeebies, and I don’t have any creative publicity ideas.

Not a single one.

Not that I’ve sold a book yet, so this is all speculation, but I’ve been thinking what the current economic environment will do for us writers, and I think it might get harder before it gets better.

Which is a little depressing.

But I just bought season three of Battlestar which has raised my spirits. Frak, that show is amazing.


Maureen McGowan said...

Season 3 is out!!!!! Fraking amazing.

I think I ordered it, already. Must check.

As for the meat of your post... it is scary to think things are going to get worse before they get better, but sadly it may be right.

So hard to keep going when the hope keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Molly O'Keefe said...

okay I am going to really reveal something about myself - something sad a little weird -- it's weirding me out too - apparently I am in such need of a Battlestar Fix that I am having lewd sex dreams about Apollo and Starbuck. Lewd. So Sinead - when you're done with those DVD's...

the market is just going to get tighter - it's true. But then it will explode again - it will. It always does. And I really do agree that in times of recession some entertainment things stay the same and considering mass market paperbacks have not increased in price like movies or hard bound bookshave -- i think people will still buy books. I know I will.

However I feel bad for those authors with hard bounds coming out in the next few years -- I don't think those will do well.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious.. lewd dreams. Season three, to me, had the best and worst episodes of the series so far.
Good point, the market gets tight, and explodes again. True.

And you're right, books are more recession proof than purses, hopefully people will need an escape only romance can provide.

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