Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's the Difference Between Publishing and the Hindenberg?

Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it?

Not today.

Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster--the news keeps coming in. Publisher's Lunch is calling today "Black Wednesday". Resignations, layoffs, fracturing of houses...

For those of you inclined to worry, I still have a job.
But some people don't. Raise a glass to them tonight.

25 comments:

moonrat said...

i'm raising a bottle.

glad to hear you're ok. i am, too (so far).

Madame Lefty said...

*Raises glass*

Oh, hun, I'm going to wish you and anyone you know well. This is the worst time of the year to layoff people, IMHO.

I'll be sending my thoughts to anyone who unfortunately fell victim to the layoffs.

AC said...

Best wishes to you and your fellow publishing peeps. I'm so glad you've got your job.

stacy said...

I know the feeling. I got laid off in August, and it's the worst time in the world to be looking for an editorial job. I get interviews, but mostly just with apologetic HR people who wish they had an opening. They recognize my competence, but there are a lot of competent people out of a job right now.

I was just telling a friend today that it makes me feel like I'd be better off moving back home to the family farm and living off the land.

Sam Hranac said...

The House is getting far to Random. Best of luck all!

Lisa Schroeder said...

*raising my glass*

Thanks for letting us know you are okay. It must have been a tough day for you guys.

Chris Eldin said...

It's hard to know what to say. Things everywhere are spiralling downward so fast.

Adrian said...

What a shame. Best wishes to all those affected...

Kim Kasch said...

2008 won't soon be forgotten - let's hope 2009 is soooo much better.

Cheers!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Wow, what a wild day in New York. So glad you and Moonrat are okay. Keep the faith.

Colorado Writer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ebony McKenna. said...

Hang in there!
It's a freaky time for all concerned.

Julie Prince said...

So horrible.
I can't stop thinking about all of those people. So horrible.
It really stinks out there right now. Makes me want to stay in bed with covers over my head. But, none of us have that option I guess.

Liz said...

Such a stressful time for everyone. Hang in there, you guys. As a veteran of several layoffs (3 of which I got booted), all I can tell you is, this too shall pass. Keep perspective and give each other hugs and lollipops.

Here's hoping things level out again soon.

Sarah Laurenson said...

So sorry to hear of this. Times are tough and many are suffering. I hope all who have help someone who has not.

If you have money, give it. If you have time, give it. Even if you have junk in your garage that you have no use for but it might make a difference for someone in need, give it.

I don't usually get preachy about this kind of stuff, but I think now's the time to start. So many people are hurting. A little act of kindness, a little drop in the donation jar can help make these times a little easier to bear.

And may your life be blessed with problems of abundance.

nw said...

I checked in with my editor at Random House and she said the cuts are only affecting the adult division.

R2K said...

: )

Simon said...

A glass to them, certainly.

... is it okay for me to be scared out of my wits? I graduate in a few weeks with a minor in editing. Did I just doom myself to a career of secretarial work?

Anonymous said...

EA- Why is it that sales figures/profits reported for children's books have been significantly stronger and more stable than adult titles?

Is it the Twilight blockbuster effect? Relatively lower advances for children's titles? Library and school markets for children's books? Parents buying books for their kids "because it's good for them" even if they don't read themselves? All or none of the above?

Deirdre Mundy said...

So, are these cuts a direct result of the bad economy, or are the publishers just using the economy as an excuse to make cuts without getting bad PR?

Also, what kind of scrooge fires someone right before Christmas??? That's AWFUL!

Vodka Mom said...

I'll mix up some martinis. My husband has been out of work for 4 months. Christmas will not be as jolly at our house.

Vodka Mom said...

Good luck, by the way.

Rose Green said...

It certainly is horrible. I'm starting to feel depressed every time I see Publishers Lunch in my mailbox--I just know something else will be tanking.

Glad you still have a job. My Christmas buying so far has been almost entirely (children's) books. I figure every little bit helps, right?

DaveG said...

Like the analogy --Publishing and the Hindenberg. --Except that most of the corporations "inflate" on "hot air" as do most politicians *grin*

Got canned in September (and they KNEW I had planned on a family vacation overseas this month (December). They could have waited until last week to zap me, and it wouldn't have been so bad. Now, we're still going (we've considered cancelling, but darn it, we've already paid for hotels and air fare).

When God gives you lemons, make lemonaide. The good thing about being a writer is that I can "hire myself" *grin*... I'm a writer (my business card at least says that). I took a workshop in June for "travel writing" (already that was a deductible event for my freelance writing business). So.... if I go on this trip, my daughter becomes my administrative assistant and my wife becomes the photographer/translator. *BIG GRIN* .. and I'll write a bunch of "articles" about the trip and try to schlep them around to various inflight magazines, daily newspapers, and so on. Even if I get rejection letters, there will be proof to the federales that I have the *intent* to make a profit (don't we all?)... and thus, the trip will be a "deductible event" for my freelance writing business.

I'll even post some of the articles/photos on a new travel blog... and if I can get "advertisers" to pay for spots on the blog, I might be able to squeeze some money out of it this way.

Ah well... the economy sucks.. it's up to us to figure out a way through it!

Best wishes to all...

Dave (aka "EditorDave")

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 9:08 from 12/5 (and anyone else who's wondering) who wondered why the children's book market has been stronger/more stable than the adult side of things:

As a veteran of both publishing and librarianship, I firmly believe the institutional market is what keeps children's publishing stable. It might not make it "stronger," as in, creating impressively huge sales in any one year, but they are steady sales, and are not encumbered by the returns problem as so many retail sales are.

Backlist sales to libraries keep books in print much longer than blockbuster sales in bookstores. The library market still makes up a much larger percentage of children's book sales than adult book sales.
--DF