Friday, December 5, 2008

Fall falls

A last glimpse of autumn, by Andif.

Bad Week at Black Rock for some of the publishing world. Or unpublishing in certain cases.


Nancy P said...

Right now, I'm on the safe side of Random House. Whew. Is anybody here affected directly by this news?

I just saw the movie, "Australia." I enjoyed it, but I would only recommend it to people who swear they like really old-fashioned story telling and long films. This is a lot like seeing an old-time Western, only it's set in Australia.

FARfetched said...

Oooo, yuck! Does that mean fewer books are getting published? I was noting how effing skinny the new issue of Asimov's is too.

Mrs. Fetched wants to see Australia (the movie and the continent). I'd probably snooze through much of the movie.

maryb said...

I wondered what all you authors thought of this. Personally I'm finding it hard to understand how a publisher can put a freeze on acquiring new books. It seems like you always need a pipeline.

The consolidation of different 'imprints' seems a more logical response. But I don't really know much about the publishing world.

Nancy P said...

It probably does mean that for now, Far. As for the short story magazines, I never have figured out how the heck they make enough money to keep going. Glad they do, though, but I'm sorry to hear that at least one of them has lost weight.

They may have a big back-up of books, Mary. That happens fairly frequently. If they don't, then the only thing I can guess is that they are really nervous about paying the bills this next year. Of course, all any of them needs is one DaVinci Code or Harry Potter and they're back in business, until the next emergency. The same could be said for us writers. :)

Night, all.

Nancy P said...

One other possibility--among many--is that publishing is being hit with the credit crunch just like everybody else. I actually have no idea how much they operate on loans. Never even considered it before this minute. But if they do operate to some extent by taking out loans, and loans are drying up, then that could be part of the problem. No loans, no expansion--and new books for which they have to pay advances are "expansion."

I am totally guessing here.

maryb said...

I suppose that's true, that they can have a big backup. I just assumed that once they bought a book it would be scheduled to come out in a specific period of time. So at some point there would be a gap in publications if they weren't buying.

As far as loans go, in the case of HMH, it probably isn't a pure credit crunch (no new loans) situation. It's leveraged up to the hilt from when the owners acquired it last year. Highly leveraged transactions put a lot of debt on the company and the banks have a lot of financial requirements that have to be met. When they aren't met the company is in default (even if they are making principal and interest payments) and the bank cuts off further credit and raises the interest rate to a default rate. This is called "covenant default" (because they have breached a financial covenant).

AndiF said...

So Australia is like a David Lean film on steroids (bulked up and occasionally freaky)? The bits I've heard where Nicole Kidman overdoes the Stupid Englishwoman stereotype kind of put me off.

Mary, thanks for the explanation (I really mean that, it was interesting).

Morning all.

Anonymous said...

Echoing andi's greetings to all -

Scary news for newbie writers hoping to sell a book this year. Or next year. But the biz has always been tough to break into, so it just feels like the fire was turned up from an 8 to a 9. Glad you're safe, Nancy - and hope that our other published authors are, too.

I haven't seen a movie in a theatre in forever, thanks to Netflix. But I do miss the popcorn!

Wandering around Pensacola today. Need new jeans and a glimpse of the beach. Missing my football, though, sigh. Hope your Saturday is a relaxing one!

Maria Lima said...

Morning, all! Re: the publishing news, methinks it's a matter of tightening the belt and sloughing off some excess. Most corporations, publishing included, tend to get bloated and these types of financial crises make it very evident. I empathize with the people that have been laid off (been there, done that), it sucks to lose your job through no fault of your own.

I do think that this will lead to new models in publishing, we'll all have to wait and see.

On another front, my doc sent me home yesterday with 3 new prescriptions. She figures I have some sort of underlying infection that keeps my immune system weak, thus the constant colds/sinus/etc. Let's hope this takes care of everything!!

Spending a quiet restful weekend--doctor's orders.

Hope you all have a fabulous one. :)

AndiF said...

Maria, has you doctor checked for polyps in your sinus cavities? I was having the same problems and my doctor finally spotted some polyps in my nose and sent me for a scan which showed that my sinuses were almost full. I had surgery to remove them in 2005 and I've had one cold and no infections since (plus no problems with my asthma and better ability to smell garlic cooking).

Nancy P said...

Nice explanation, Mary. That, too, is possible.

Andi, a bit of David Lean--in the big sprawling romantic saga kind of feeling. "Australia" was directed by Baz, whatisname, the director who did "Moulin Rouge," and it's quirky in an annoying way at the start, plus seems like a stage play instead of a movie. When it finally gets rolling, it's one of those movies that's plotted exactly like an old timey Western with Bad Guy, Our Manly Hero, Our Plucky Heroine, and every other cliche you can think of. But I still enjoyed it, 'cause I'm a movie sucker, lol. It also has what is commonly called, "The Magic Negro," which is to say the black person who has supernatural powers and uses them to save the white people's sorry asses. There's also the Wise Black Friend who straightens out the white hero's sorry, but manly, ass.
And I still enjoyed the darn thing. I have no standards!

Nancy P said...

Hi, Beth. My bag of medium popcorn was five dollars!!!! This is why I rarely buy popcorn at the theater any more. And I think I ate about a buck fifty of it.

Maria, I hope that solves it!

Andi, wow, interesting. Yukky, but interesting.

Kelly McCullough said...

(delurks)I'm okay so far, whatever Penguin is doing about the mess it's doing it very quietly. Also, I'm out in mmpb which is weathering things better than trade and hardcover. The main question for me is how it will affect the other five books I've got out under submission.

Hope everybody is safe, happy, as employed as they want to be, and warm. Gotta go shovel and then start the great holiday calendar death march.(relurks)

bono said...

Thanks for the insight into what's going on in the publishing world, Nancy and Maryb. I am so happy to hear that you're not affected with the publishing woes, Nancy. I'm looking forward to your new one. The movie you went to see, not so much.

Glad a remedy may be underway, Maria.

Hi, Beth, Farf, Kelly and Andif. Where's Lisa? She's always here by now!

Happy Saturday! :-D

Dina said...

Hi, all. Just lurking but wanted to say hi.

Jen said...

Hey y'all, the usual pleasantries all around. I'm really glad those of you who are under contract are feeling pretty solid, it's a very scary time for so many people.

I do think that this will lead to new models in publishing, we'll all have to wait and see.

This, imo, has needed to happen for quite some time now, perhaps we'll see some decent lemonade out of this thing eventually. I sure hope you feel better soonest, Maria!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Although I'd heard "rumblings and rumors" about the publishing biz, that article was still painful to read, Nancy! Still, has it not always been thus? And I do believe that part of the problem is that the world is changing and publishers are behind the times...and they're not the only ones!

bono said...

Hey, Jen, Dina and Conda. Still looking for Lisa. Hope she's OK.

It's reallly cold here. I'm tired of winter already and it's not even officially winter for 2 more weeks. Yikes!

boran2 said...

It's been a long, long Saturday, and not in a good way. A very tired good night to all!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Boran - hope your Sunday is better!