I spent some time yesterday reading a variety of agent/editor blogs. The majority of them had several common themes regarding the layoffs, slow downs, mergers, freezes in publishing. Not all were gloom and doom. Some were more gloom and doom than glitter.
I found one entry that said children's books are still being acquired. I found one blog that stated after this time passes, publishing may well be a faster moving machine. I've always wondered at the 18 mo-24 mo time frame for some books to hit the shelves. I also found entries that proposed how much more difficult it will be to break in to the published world.
Change is hard. I think an evolution is happening in how books come to be and how they are sold.
I was in B&N last week picking up a few gifts for Christmas. I walked out $75 lighter in the old checking account, but I bought only one book. Yep, the rest of the purchase was comprised of a puzzle, a nice pen and two daily calendars. Granted, it is Christmas, but the big displays weren't for books, the space was allocated to 'stuff. ' Heck, even Vera Bradley has product in B&N now.
I'm sure bookstores like B&N sell all the extra things as they might make more money on them than on books. Plus, the store becomes more of a one stop shop. B&N has become a place to shop even if you are not a reader.
I'm no expert on how the publishing world works. I do spend some time reading about what other folks know on the subject. I read about the struggles writers have to craft that catchy query, get an agent, have the book shopped, have it go through the whole publishing process.
I sense a note of change in posts from writers....seems more of them are open to small presses and other alternatives to NYC houses. It appears they are revisiting the reason they write. The experienced ones know that the chance of getting rich is slim to none. They just want to share their stories and maybe the road to that goal isn't through New York.
Viable small presses may flourish as better books come their way. Downloads or e-books may become more popular as a less expensive way to try a new author.
Change is happening, an evolution is under way. But, the best advice to keep in mind is to write the best book you can, don't take rejection personally, remember timing has a lot to do with success and all that is needed is one 'yes.'