Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's on my desk?

. . .A mess.

When I've got 10 or more things I'm trying to juggle all at once, it sure is hard to keep my desk clean and looking organized. (Okay, the picture isn't of today's desk, but it looks like this most days.) Wednesdays seem to be extra hard for managing the chaos.

I don't know why I chose Wednesday for blog day. It is the climatic day of the week when projects started on Monday are peaking and when I start to look ahead to wrapping up other things before the end of the week. And it's the day I always seem to end up working well over 8 hours.

Wednesdays are also the time when the senior editors sit down with our president and go over works in progress, ideas for new product, and the like, which generally adds to my "to do" list.

Today when I arrived I was surprised to hear that I was being pulled into a meeting with representatives from Family bookstore chain. With basically no time to prepare, I had to go and give them teasers about what fiction will be on our Fall 2008 list.

The meeting went fine and was quite relaxed. I really do enjoy the opportunity to hear direct from bookstore buyers what works best for them. We discussed how they position our fiction collections and manage endcaps. We talked about the plan to increase the price of collections by a dollar in the near future. All of which was positive.

Somehow the topic of re-purposing old fiction came up. It seemed to be the feel of the room that anytime someone tries to bring back old fiction that is author-driven it fails. If a book has gone out of print a while, then there isn't much chance of giving it another run in the market unless perhaps in an omnibus collection or other similar promotional package like Barbour is known to do.

I found this interesting because I've recently had a string of emails from authors who are checking on rights to their books. I'm always curious about where authors think they can resell rights to their fiction. Unless the current publisher can keep a book alive on the backlist -- recovering or repackaging the book into a fresh looking product that continues to draw sales -- I'd say the fiction has pretty much run its course.

If you know of a way someone is making more than a couple hundred off of licensing old fiction, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Likewise, I'd be interested in getting questions that you'd like to see us addressing on this blog. It isn't easy coming up with fresh topics every week on our own.

Here's to hoping you make it through another manic Wednesday.


Kristy Dykes said...

I enjoyed your post, Becky. Thanks. I enjoyed hearing about your meeting. For suggestions about topics, I'd say anything in the publishing world is interesting to us, case in point, your meeting and the subject of re-publishing. End cap info, collections' sales, what buyers say are selling, all of that is interesting to me.

Mary Connealy said...

I like this inside look at the publishing world.
Are there lots of chain stores? Regional ones I've never heard of? I really know so little about all the ... oh ... logistics I guess, of getting a book onto the shelf. I always enjoy hearing more about that.

Rhonda said...

I have to agree with Kristy. I love hearing the ends and outs of publishing. Give me time and I'll think of some questions for the team :)

Karen said...

Author-driven? That was a new term for me. Perhaps you could include some of those terms that are bantered around in publishing that everyone assumes the other person knows. As Christians we do that all the time--Christianese. So do lawyers--legalese. Could you straighten us out on some of the publishing-ese?

Lynette Sowell said...

First, the sight of your desk comforts me. :) I'm not the only one juggling papers.

I like to know how the process works also--from acquisitions to product placement in stores. I notice that our local Wal-Mart, for example, has a small cardboard display marked "Inspirational" and has some of the state repackagings and also the Outlaw Trail anthology. I guess I'd like to find out the rhyme and reason that book distributors use when placing books in stores--whether they're big like Wal-Mart or Sam's, or independent stores. Of course maybe that's the million$$ question, trying to figure out what the book buyers do.

Do you ever get feedback from distributors or store groups that say, "Hey, we'd like to see more of this type of book." ?