Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Black Wednesday

Warning: Today’s blog is about publishing, so if you were expecting a post about my adorable pets, or something happening in my vicinity, this ain’t it.

This past Wednesday, dubbed Black Wednesday by Publisher’s Lunch, might just be the worst day in publishing to date. Many of the major publishing houses laid off, cut back, reorganized, froze pay, etc.

I first learned about the shake-ups from the e-mail newsletters I receive: Publisher’s Lunch and PW Daily. When each publisher announced its cost-cutting measures, within minutes the bad news resounded through the blogosphere.

Literary agent Janet Reid assured her readers that the sky wasn’t falling, and agent Kristen Nelson at Pub Rants offered a ray of light. But still. . . .

In case you missed all the hoopla, Moonrat at her Editorial Ass blog lists the publishing houses affected by Wednesday’s bad news, and agent Nathan Bransford has a good summary on his “This Week in Publishing” entry on his blog

In tough economic times, when folks struggle to afford necessities, books are a luxury. Indeed, many people don’t buy books even in good times. One in four Americans didn’t even read a book last year.

Newspaper publishers are also feeling the pinch. Already a few major newspapers have folded. Others have cut back and laid off. Thursday, the editor of the Smith Mountain Eagle called to inform me that “Peevish Advice” was being dropped as a cost-saving measure. The paper had printed my column since 2004; now they no longer have money for columnists.

Given the bleak publishing/reading scene, why do I write? Why do I submit my middle-grade novel to agents? (A week after receiving my fourth rejection, I submitted it to another agent I’d love to have represent me.) Why do I keep sending my folktale to publishers, only to have it rejected? Why am I well into my next book, a paranormal YA novel?

I wish I had good answers to those questions. Quick answer: I love to write. With the burden of cranking out the column lifted, I have more time to work on the YA. Middle-grade and YA literature is still selling. Some books will still be published. Why not mine? Maybe. . . .

Thursday, I received an e-mail from a local high school student, who told me “my sister and I are writing a book” and went on to ask if I could tell her how to get their “romantic vampire book” published.

I wish I had answers for her. The best I can do is offer suggestions.

And a suggestion to you blog-readers: Give books this Christmas. Every book you buy will help the industry.
If you really want an adorable pet picture,
here's Maggie when she was seven weeks old:


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6 Comments:

Blogger Amy Tate said...

We write because it's fun. If we can sell it, it's even more fun. This hard time will pass. Who knows, when it does, the industry may come back stronger than ever.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

By the way, Maggie is adorable.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Maggie is adorable, but now-at three—she's set in her ways, domineering, demanding, stubborn, strong-willed, bossy, and incredibly smart.

7:39 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

I'm sorry you lost your column. It is a scary climate.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

I give books whether the recipient wants them or not. And that's what I want too. I told Kurt, "You CANNOT go wrong with a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble."

Sorry about your column but like you said, now you're free to concentrate on your YA novel.

www.GreenerPastures--ACityGirlGoesCountry.blogspot.com

8:55 PM  
Blogger Sally Roseveare said...

I will miss Peevish Advice!

12:05 PM  

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