Friday, December 05, 2008

Demand the Supply

If you're not concerned with the state of the publishing industry, you're not paying attention. With hundreds of layoffs, acquisition freezes, newspapers going under, it's getting harder and harder not to panic. As writers, we depend on these larger companies, and if they're not taking on new projects, then editors won't be the only ones out of a job.

So, as readers and writers, what can we do? Since there's no supply without the demand, we can show publishers and booksellers that people still want to buy books, good books. As Jason Pinter points out, most of the recent deals are made with celebrity authors such as Sarah Silverman, Mike Piazza, and (groan) Dustin "Screech" Diamond. The reason? Name recognition. Easy to market and almost guaranteed to sell.

By buying books written by debut authors or those published by small/independent presses, we accomplish a few things:
  1. We support debut authors and small/independent presses.
  2. We show booksellers that there is a demand for debut authors and books published by small/independent presses, which causes them to order more of these types of books.
  3. Because the booksellers order more books by debut authors, crime fiction, etc., publishers are more likely to make these types of acquisitions in the near future.

It's a pretty simple concept. Demonstrate a demand and sellers will supply. So how do we know, as readers, what to demand? That's up to the author. And with all the cutbacks, don't expect a big marketing budget. Check out this post if you need some suggestions on how to market yourself.

Be on the lookout for the small presses, debut authors, and anything local. Show publishers that we don't want fluff written by celebrities. While you're at it, get a newspaper or local magazine subscription. Demonstrate the demand for quality publications and hopefully it won't be too long before the publishing industry is back on track.

For more frequent and extensive updates on the publishing industry, check out GalleyCat, Publisher's Marketplace, or just follow Sarah Weinman on Twitter. Tess Gerritsen also has some interesting observations over at her blog.

1 comment:

Quinn said...

I'm trying to make my mark - first and foremost by buying almost nothing but books for Christmas gifts this year.