What is Happening to the Book Industry?
Everywhere one turns these days, people are bemoaning the state of the book publishing industry. Even non-book people can be heard citing news reports of the downturn in sales for publishers and book stores.
Downsizing, low sales, bankruptcy, returns, closures of independent mainstream and Christian bookstores–all bad news. And then one of the worst reports arrived in my inbox on Monday from Publisher’s Weekly. It said that a major publishing company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has put a temporary freeze on acquisitions of new books. I admit that even though I’m blessed to be in a contract right now, the news sent a chill swirling up my spine. What in the world is going to happen to writers?
What can and should a writer do during what might feel like an impossible crisis? After all, we aren’t economists, we are writers. Most of us probably feel pretty out of touch with what is going on, yet it is hitting us squarely where it counts–our books!
I’m not an expert in economics, but I have some suggestions:
1) Don’t Stop Writing — Now is the time to pour your heart and soul into your writing. Write the best book ever. If you have a jewel buried inside that you’ve been wanting to dig out, now is the time. Don’t write what you think will sell, release the passion and write the kind of book you’ve always wanted to write. The only way to fight back is with great writing. It’s hard to say no to a great book, but if it doesn’t sell, you’ll at least be able to take solace in knowing you did all you could. You did not hold back.
2) Be Thankful — Thank God for all that you do have. We are writers and most of us feel this more deeply than non-writers can ever imagine, but nothing is as important as friends, family, and faith. Take a moment to be grateful for what you have been given, no matter how small or great.
3) Trust –Memorize Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
4) Support the Book Industry — Buy Books. Buy books as Christmas gifts. I realize I’m partial, but what could be better than a book as a gift? It can be read time and time again, can take the recipient to places they have never been, and it can offer hope and promise they might not find anywhere else.
5) Spread the Word – Post one of these banners or one like it to spread the word. Link back here and to other sites that support our cause. To quote the ladies over at The Writers Group who inspired me to write this post, ”Save yourself, save your local small business, save an industry. Buy a book.”