This past Saturday we had a fun and informative meeting of my local writers' group, CPRW. A few of our members had attended the national convention of RWA and shared the news they'd gathered during their time among the professionals of the romance writing industry.
Some of the big news centered, or course, around the sale of Harlequin to HarperCollins and what that means to writers. My fellow writers shared the amusing words repeated over and over again by the Harlequin representatives during all their presentations. "Nothing will change when the sale to HC is completed." Or course things will change. Positions and offices will slowly or perhaps quickly be combined. They'll tighten their corporate belts and make cuts. They're a business and it's about making promise. Did anyone believe them when they said nothing would change?
Another observation from my friends involved all the traditional publishers. In a direct twist on what we've come to expect, the publishers actively recruited writers. Many of the publishers' presentations were more like sales pitches as they described the things they do for their authors along the lines of promotion, editing, cover design and career goals. Apparently as more writers go the self-publishing route the traditional publishers are looking for ways to compete. At least looking for ways that don't involve paying the authors more money.
This led to a great discussion in our group about what the advantage of a contract with a traditional publisher might be. With some very candid examples, some of our group shared how they're make much more money from the books they have with small publishers compared to their books with Harlequin. But another author shared how little money she'd made so far on her self-published book. An agreed upon sentiment is that publishers give an author a better chance of discoverability. The big publishers will get your book in physical stores or even if they don't, they often have a built in audience of loyal buyers. Small publishers don't put many books in physical stores but they have repeat customers just like the big guys.
None of the news was earth-shattering but lots of it was interesting. Don't forget this Wednesday is the August version of IWSG. And visit the IWSG blog to signup and read an interesting post today. I'll be sharing what my comrades learned about possible trends in the romance and YA fields at RWA National.
Any of the news from National surprise you? Are you published in more than one venue? Do you think the big traditional publishers will ever change their payment percentages to authors to try and keep them?