Wednesday, January 14, 2009
A Season for Everything
Outside the window is the season for snow and extreme cold. Inside the office refrigerator it is apparently the season for reigning in control of health and weight by looks of all the salad containers. In the office files it’s the season for budget projections and new book plans going into 2010.
2008 was the season for the cozy mystery romance at Barbour. We spent 2 years planning for our new book club. We built a strong team of managing editor and authors who worked hard on both content and marketing of the books. Then we launched the club early 2008 based on strong initial membership drives.
All was going well until our early fall membership drive (traditionally a strong time for adding new members) hit at the same time as the news from Wall Street about the financial crisis. The membership drive had the worst response that we have ever experienced or even heard of in the industry. At that point, to save the club would have required major investment dollars. By the end of 2008, we knew that the national financial climate would not allow for a marketing gamble on something that was still new and unproven.
2008 was a pretty good year overall for Barbour, but with 2009 looking to be a hard one for retailers, we know we have to tighten our belt and keep our money where we are confident it can give us the most return. So, for that reason, we will be closing the Heartsong Presents Mystery Romance Club. We have a couple more shipments that will go out, then books we have contracted will be used in other ways. Most likely they will go into 3-in-1 collections like Cozy in Kansas and Alibis in Arkansas. These 2 books released in late fall 2008 and had very good sales showings over Christmas. We hope you cozy mystery lovers out there will look for these books and support your author friends by buying them.
We do hope to keep Susan Downs around as much as possible, but in February her job will change from a full-time project managing editor to a freelance editor.
It has been a fun ride with these quirky mysteries – some quirky authors too. I’ll miss a lot of that, but I hope the cozy mystery genre never goes completely away. I still feel that there is a market for a lighthearted, light on blood and danger kind of mystery that, of course, is sprinkled with some romance too. We’ll just have to see how things develop.
Thanks so much to Susan and all the authors who gave this club venture their all.
Editor Du Jour Becky