Tell you what, If you live in the Northwest and are interested in writing, I highly recommend this conference. Shoot, I recommend it even in you don't live in God's country! (Yes, I'm just a little prejudiced about the Northwest. So sue me.) Great faculty and staff, and a good group of writers, ranging from beginners to those who've been around almost as long as I have.
Yeah. The reaaaaaally old ones.
On the technology front, things like the Kindle have folks wondering if books are going the way of the Dodo. My vote is no, because I think readers will always want the feel of a book in their hands as they read. (Hey, remember on Star Trek Next Generation, how Captain Picard always read from a book when he was relaxing? Yeah, yeah, that's not real life. But I'm thinking we're not that far off these days...) Anyway, I've heard that people are buying electronic versions to read on the Kindle and other devices, but when they find books they LOVE, they go out and buy the actual book to keep. What do you guys think? Will books go away?
As for publishers, things have really been hopping in the last few years, and especially in the last few months. Which, in case you were wondering, is why I titled this blog entry what I did. Remember good ol' Chicken Little?
So what's the problem? Well, for one thing, some publishers have been cutting their lists, meaning they're cutting back on the number and/or kinds of books they're going to publish. I've even heard of one publisher that's decided not to offer advances anymore. And one of the largest Christian publishers has had yet another wave of employee layoffs, and is among those cutting the number of books they're putting out. (The one list not affected? Their fiction line. Yet more confirmation that Christian fiction is still going strong and growing.) They've even said they're going to focus on publishing only midlist and higher authors, which means the newbies are out of luck, at least with this house. (Happily, there are a number of houses out there still determined to find new voices and work with new authors.) What's more, that same publisher pulled out of the two major trade shows, ICRS (the Christian bookseller's show, where publishers present books to retailers--used to be where publishers sold the majority of their books) and BEA, the trade show for the general market. So how are they reaching retailers, who, as you know, are publishers' first customers? This house, Thomas Nelson, brought in their top 100 retailers, all expenses paid, to their own little "convention." So questions abound. Is ICRS dying? Will other publishers follow Nelson's example and host their own little shows? What will retailers do if ICRS dies?
My vote on these questions? Well, you'll have to tune in to the next blog entry for that!
Talk with you soon.