I participated in a teleseminar recently, and one of the questions I was asked was how the industry was changing. I’m not sure what I answered off the top of my head, but I’ve been thinking about it since then. Just like all segments of the economy, you see a ripple down effect changing the industry as a whole.
Many bookstores are either closing or having to scale back. That means publishers have fewer places to sell the books they produce. For that reason the publishers are cutting back on the number of titles they publish, as well as the number of copies of each title they print. It also means publishers are laying off employees so it become more important that your manuscript arrives well edited. Even agents are finding it more difficult to find contracts for their clients. That means freelance writers representing themselves may find an even tighter market than in years past.
So, what are freelancers to do? I can suggest a few options. Get even more serious about your marketing efforts. It is even more critical than in the past that you study the market guide to select the best possible choices for your submissions. Be sure to see sample copies or book catalogs and not only get their writers’ guidelines (by mail, e-mail, or Website) but spend enough time reviewing them that you have a good idea of what they are looking for. And follow those guidelines exactly—the publisher doesn’t have the time or employees to make your submission fit their needs. And finally, don’t give up. If you can’t make a sale right now, spend the time becoming the best writer you can be.