Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Houghton Mifflin Has Suspended Acquisitions of New Manuscripts

Bad news for all you hopeful writers out there, HM is not accepting new manuscripts for a while. As you can already guess the economic crisis is affecting even the book industry. I know, I know, I'm just as surprised as you are that the book industry is exhibiting financial problems. But it's true, writing books is not the fasted or best way to make money.

"Book Publisher Suspends New Acquisitions" —
(From New York Times by Mokoto Rich)

“There is a freeze-lite,” [Josef Blumenfeld, vice president of communications of HM] said. “There is a way in so it is not a hard freeze but for right now, there is a temporary — call it a freeze if you want.”

He added, “Every new manuscript that comes in is going to be subjected to a higher degree of scrutiny and consideration than has previously been the case.”

He said he could not be specific about what criteria would govern decisions about what manuscripts to buy, but said that editors would have to prove to an acquisitions committee that the book showed concrete evidence of “market interest.”

If you ask me this is all bullshit. Like the big presses have been giving good thought to what they have been releasing on the shelves anyway. They have always thought about the bottom line before they thought about the quality of the books they published. Which is exactly the opposite way to make money in this business long term. Perennials, perennials, my kingdom for a perennial.

But do not despair, my lovelies. There are small presses out there. (Thank God!) So Support them. Buy from them. Send your really awesome manuscripts to them. (And did I say buy from them!) While your at it, support the small independent bookstores, too. These small guys may be the last ones standing after this is all over.


Manchild said...

Hello Jenn,

I agree. Bigger isn't always better.
Thank you for sharing.


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