Friday, 9 March 2012

Is the Recession Good for Some Writers?

As I was out food shopping today, I noticed more price rises. By making a few changes in my weekly purchases, I can still afford the occasional book- their prices don't seem to be rising the same amount.

In fact, there seems to have been a surge of small pocket type recipe books covering, baking to quick meals, and all aimed at showing the consumer how they can eat well but at reduced cost...

A couple of days ago, I went to a publisher's website intending to browse some cookery books- I'd received an e-mail newsletter.
I came across a few of these pocket type books (to be published very soon) and looked to see who the author was. Well I was a bit taken aback when it said the author was to be announced...

Now it's only my suspicion- but have they rehashed an older work/s, updated it and added some enticing pictures of the completed recipes? Are they looking for a recognisable 'name' to go with it to boost sales?

I could be entirely wrong, but that's the lurking cynic in me!

But when there's a trend that will last for some time (as this recession surely will) publishers are sure to join in. It's business and they're part of it.

For the average (but brilliant :-) ) writer, the current recession is going to be a challenge, when magazines are either paying less than a few years ago, or doing more in-house. Then there's the reduction in short story markets; with the 'only previously published' restrictions implemented by a few...

It means the competition for both previously published, and those trying to get accepted for publication is going to be high.

Even simple things like entering competitions, your writing skills can give you an edge.
E-books are a different matter- especially if you have your own back list. If you've published to Kindle, or other digital outlets, you can control your asking price, up or down; even offer your book free for 24 hours and promote, promote promote.

For many writers these tactics have brought increased sales, so there's income from royalties- but there's no guarantee, and some genres sell better.
Though in long term planning, hopefully many of those readers will go on to buy the writer's other books- and I'm sure it's a good idea to be able to demonstrate a following for your work when you get the interest of a publisher.

The public may not be buying as many tree books, but e-book sales are on the rise, so a little judicious planning by digital authors can pay.

If you have any views on the subject, then you're welcome to share them in the comments section.


Helen Baggott said...

I think the recession makes everyone more creative - be that in the home or in business.

Re-hashing old ideas is a cheap way of getting 'new' products out there.

No sign of a recession on your Blog, Carol...

liz young said...

Interesting to see your comment on the "new?" cookery book. I have just read one published after WW2 by Alice, the lover of Gertrude Stein. Her writing style wouldn't pass muster today, and her recipes - even with wartime restrictions - were impossibly rich.

Diane Fordham said...

Very interesting post Carol. I think sometimes we just have to make the most of what the world throws at us :-)

Carolb said...

I'd certainly agree that recession does make people more creative, Baggy. And it certainly gets the mind working, blog wise. :-)

Thanks Lizy-expat, I always find old cookery books fascinating. I have an old Mrs Beetons All About Cookery-the 1965 version, and it is brilliant. You can learn so much from them.

Yes, Diane, sometimes that's all you can do.