Did COVID-19 Kill the Publishing Star?

Is the industry dying? Are people just not reading anymore? Are we fighting an uphill battle?

Never start your work with questions.

But I’m sure my fellow writing peeps have noticed YA Imprints are being dropped and jobs go with these decisions. I feel bad about it all.

I was listening to a recent episode of PubTalk Live who announced that HMH Trade Group for Sale; Archer Departs via Publisher’s Weekly. Jobs went with this restructuring and according to the article sales plummeted because of covid19. It always goes back to the virus. It’s a brief article, but read it. It says a lot about why they are looking to sell.

Macmillan closed Imprint, although the authors will publish under separate imprints (small i) and people are again losing their jobs. Jimmy Patterson Books, an imprint (small i) at Little, Brown and Company will no longer publish outside authors, only books by its namesake. Authors already signed will continue in another area, but nothing new will come out.

Publisher’s Weekly posted an article about the impact covid19 is having on the industry. It also lists what people and various organizations are doing to preserve the industry.

There’s a big tug-o-war going on.

Since the pandemic started, publishers have said how far behind they are, authors must make concessions for merchandising and promotion. Indie booksellers are struggling to stay afloat. Conferences, workshops, retreats, festivals are now virtual. Thank goodness for the internet. I enjoy attending the virtual, but after attending my first face-to-face workshop back in 2017, I was eager to attend another. So many things rescheduled or cancelled outright. Small press publishers are disappearing.

There will be more closings and unavoidable delays.

I’ve also seen quite the opposite happening, with YA imprints expanding. Brand new ones are appearing. Tor Teen is going strong. Penguin Random House is showing no signs of stopping, and they have several imprints in their Penguin Young Readers Group.

11/17/20–Had to step away for a bit and came back. Now, it looks like the Big Five are soon to become The Big Four depending on who gains Simon & Schuster. The publisher went up for sale and is the home of some major players like Stephen King, the late Ursula K. Le Guin and Judy Blume. Of course, we wonder, will there once again be job losses? And what about the authors, present and future? How will this influence the people that make a publisher thrive? We know the biggies under S&S aren’t going anywhere, or at least the new owner would be insane to let them go.

What this is boiling down to is all very scary.

I’ve been at this since fourteen. Age five, if you count the very first time I wrote a book. Sometimes it’s hard to stay calm and be patient, but that’s what we, as authors, have to do.

So we’ll see.

Peace~

Wendy

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