Monday, July 20, 2009

Industry Notes

I'm back from DC. Fully a quarter of the email awaiting my return can be summed up as, "We're in the hotel bar/hotel restaurant/conference center. Where are you?" I made it into the hotel bar twice all week, and I had a couple of brief meetups here and there around the hotel, but for the most part, I was off playing tourist with friends and family. DC is one of my favorite places to visit. I took advantage of it. I was everywhere -- even, briefly, in one of the slummy parts of town. And if you heard the fabric of the universe tear on Saturday, that's because I was inside actual churches lighting candles for my sick granny. They've got some extra-fancy churches in DC, so maybe that will grant her some extra-fancy relief. Apologies to those of you who were looking for me.

I did manage to pick up some industry news. Not sure it's really news, though, but perhaps more just confirmation of what we already knew was going down. A NYC print publisher has slipped under RWA's stated "$1,000 for all books" requirement on a recent 2-novel contract (yes, in print). This is the second NYC house to do so, though RWA may not know about this one yet. Keep watching. This is far from a dead issue. Advances are falling almost everywhere, and I expect they'll continue to fall as long as we have this economy.

There's a definite shift away from trade size to mass market. Trade has taken hard hits in this economy. People seem to be returning to cheaper mass markets or are switching to digital formats. If they're willing to pop for a big-ticket book, it's usually hardback. Over and over again, I heard about lines cutting trade releases or shifting them into mass market formats. Will this be the end of the trade format? Hmm. I keep thinking about that one, and I'm just not sure. We'll have to give that one another six months, I think, but trade is certainly on the decline.

The erotic romance market is also in decline, but this is not a bad thing. The market has been oversaturated for probably two years now. Scaling back means that quality should improve across the board. Readers aren't going to stop wanting to read books with sex in them, but we may see fewer titles with typical erotic romance premises. (Think: girls weekend with flings, one-night stands turned serious, revenge sex plots, "she's just experimenting" plots, and the like.) We were never big into those kinds of premises at Red Sage, so it doesn't affect our submissions guidelines. We have published that type of thing on occasion, but only if the surrounding story was rock solid.

The buzz was mainly surrounding contemporaries with a women's fiction feel. The same authors kept getting namechecked -- Susan Wiggs, Kristin Hannah, that sort of book. My feeling for some time now has been that we're turning into bigger book territory, and that women's fiction feeling fits right in with where I think we might be going.

So, what kinds of things did you all hear in DC? Got questions about particular things?

Theresa

15 comments:

Evangeline said...

I hope you grandmother gets better! I didn't make it to DC this year (grr) but I really hope I can make Nashville, and esp NYC in 2011. As for that NYC publisher beneath the 1000 dollar mark...wonder what the RWA will say about digital publishing now?

I keep hearing that everyone is hoping for the return of historical romance. Could this be the result of the Regency glut, or was there buzz about a wider variety of settings? And good news about contemporary romance--I've been dipping into it after years of feeling I couldn't relate and am pleasantly surprised at how fun and relatable many are!

green_knight said...

A few years ago we were seeing a shift towards trade and I hate them. Won't buy them. Like hardbacks, they're expensive and unwieldy and don't fit on my paperback shelves. Unlike hardbacks, they're not durable or beautiful.

Worst of both worlds.

Hope your granny gets better - and will we get to hear a rounup of the e-publishing panel you did?

em said...

Hi Theresa!
I hope your grandma is okay.
It's good to have you back. But we did have some fun while you were gone, though.:) With a shopping lesson from Murph, and a cooking lesson from Wes.lol

Genella deGrey said...

Glad you are back safe, Theresa - Hope your Granny is doing well -
:)
G.

Murphy said...

Hope your granny gets better, Theresa.

JewelTones said...

I hope your grandmother has a speedy recovery, Theresa.

JT

Saskia Walker said...

Thank you so much for sharing the news, Theresa. I'm glad you were able to have some sightseeing time.

Wishing your granny well!

Natasha said...

Hope your granny will be better soon, Theresa. I didn't make it to DC, so I love hearing info coming back from conference.

Edittorrent said...

Thanks for all the good wishes for my grandmother. She's in a lot of pain right now and needs a lot of help. All prayers are welcome.

I'll address some of the other questions on the front page.

Theresa

Lilly Cain said...

Welcome back Theresa! Wish I could have made it to DC, but one conference a year is all I can handle. :)

Sorry to hear your grandmother is suffering, I'll add her to my prayers as well.

Lilly

Leigh Court said...

You're such a great source of industry information, Theresa! We really appreciate your insight.

I'm sending healing thoughts your grandmother's way...

Leigh

Nicole North said...

Theresa, I'm sending healing prayers for your sick granny and hoping she feels better soon.

It was wonderful meeting you in DC! Thanks for the industry info!

Jami G. said...

Teresa,

More prayers for your grandmother...

Larissa Ione said...

Prayers coming your way, Theresa. Hope your grandmother gets better soon!

Leona said...

I hate the trade paperbacks, too. They are expensive and they hurt my wrists to hold. They are worst than hardbacks because they don't stay open without you holding them open unlike hardbacks. I wouldn't mind if they went out of style...

Sorry about your grandma. Will keep her in prayers... Maybe it was the rift in the universe that caused my car to over heat :D LOL