Monday, May 11, 2009

Like Molasses

I've been guilty of blogging less lately, which is partially because I've been so busy trying to get work stuff wrapped up before Odyssey. I'm going to Wiscon next week, then BEA, and then off to Odyssey. Between all of those, I've managed to cram in two months worth of doctor and dentist appointments, along with things like, you know, hair cuts. Yeah, lots to do.

But it's more of also, I haven't really found anything worth talking about lately. That's not to say that there isn't stuff happening in the world: a sample of yesterday's lunch conversation with my dad and my husband involved the difference between mortars and artillery shells, what's happening in Pakistan, where the nukes are in Pakistan and do we *really* not know where they are (we know), the economy, and the economic health of book publishing. But most news nowadays is pretty bad news. We've got swine flu, a depressed economy, people buying fewer books, and yeah, business is SLOW.

Publishers are buying very, very conservatively, and it's taking way longer than usual to get book deals. Let me give you an example of several books that I have out at major publishers.

Book A was sent out to publishers in February 2008. A major publisher told me they wanted to buy the book in August 2008. It is now May 2009. We are still waiting for the book offer, which has been delayed beyond belief. Fifteen months since Book A left my desk.

Book B was also sent out to publishers in February 2008. A major publisher told me they wanted to buy the book in ~November 2008. They don't have the money to buy the book, right now. Check back in April 2009! I dutifully checked back in April 2009. Still waiting... Fifteen months also, since Book B left my desk.

Book C was sent out to publishers in August 2008. No bites, just passes on it from them. It's still out at a few publishers. Nine months since Book C left my desk.

Book D is in the same situation as Book C. Also nine months since it left my desk.

And I'm sure I am not the only agent who is experiencing this slowness. This feeling of wading through molasses, trying to make sales in an economy where people are hunkering down and buying less books, and consequently, publishers are purchasing less books too.

At the moment, I love all my foreign rights agents because they are helping me get the existing books I've sold into other markets. Which is wonderful. It's superb! They're making money for my authors and for me. It's great. They all deserve chocolate and hugs and fancy steak.

In the meantime, I continue to remain hunkered down, and submit new books to editors... I don't stop doing business, but geez... it really is like molasses sometimes. =)


Katrina S. Forest said...

Ouch, that must be so frustrating for you. Here's hoping that things start moving along and we see these books on shelves soon!

WifeofaWriter said...

Here is the thing about molasses: sure it's slow but a sweet reward comes to those who wait. Cheers!

Anne said...

I love your blog, and I don't mean to nitpick, but surely it's 'fewer books'? Unless I'm missing something...
I do love the blog though! You're one of the few on my google reader that I actually take the time to read fully. But unfortunately no amount of affection can silence my inner grammar Nazi.

Vacuum Queen said...

I'm wondering, if a person gets no agent from a query right now, but does get positive responses, could the author re-query in a couple of years with that same project? To the same agents? I ask because perhaps the economy would be better and perhaps they would've forgotten that book and maybe would want to represent it later when they're potentially repping more books. ???

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Anne, it is fewer books. I will correct it. =)

Vacuum Queen, I cannot speak for other agents, but I would not want to see a requery for the same novel, unless it has been SUBSTANTIALLY rewritten. Meaning you've ripped it apart and put it back together. I'm still taking on clients, even in this economy, but they all know that business is deathly slow when I sign them, and they're ok with waiting for their books to sell.

ryan field said...

I've been reading your blog since almost the beginning. I like your professional posts, but I like the personal ones just as much.