Friday, October 26, 2012

Weeping and gnashing of teeth

As if unpublished and under-published authors need another reason to worry about their prospects. The New York Times and other news sources are reporting talks of a merger between Random House and Penguin. The deal is still subject to negotiation and government approval, but if it goes through, what would this mean for authors?

For one, it's likely to mean lower advances. I doubt it will much affect the $3,000-7,000 range that many debut authors get,* but it's going to mean fewer bidders for the "good deals" and "major deals" that highly-anticipated books garner.

More distressingly, this also suggests that publishers will further concentrate on a smaller pool of bestselling authors at the expense of new writers and midlist authors. In other words, publishers are taking fewer risks on the rest of us.

*For those of you who really want to obsess over the unknowable, here's a Writer Beware post linking to a variety of other sources and surveys on first novel pay.

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