Someone Else Wanna’ Take This One?

Hey, I’m wondering what’s going on in the publishing industry with this tanked economy. Is publishing struggling as much as the rest of this great nation, or has the slump made more people want to check out of life with a good book? How are the LDS publishers doing? Main stream publishers? Just wondering.

Yes, publishing is struggling. How much, I don’t know for sure.

Professionally, I am seeing fewer titles published by smaller presses and new releases held back. The bigger publishers seem to be doing about the same. In the LDS arena, I’ve seen accepted manuscripts and scheduled releases dropped, and series release dates pushed into the future. But then, I’ve also seen lots of new authors picked up and some series have added titles beyond their original scope. So it’s hard to tell and publishers generally aren’t forthcoming about the true state of affairs with their company. It would damage their sales to say they were struggling.

Personally, like most other bookaholics I know, I’ve had to put myself on a book diet. I buy fewer titles now and get a lot more from the library. Which totally stinks, but…

Publishers? Authors? Readers? Want to chime in on this?

My Bad…

I just read this post yesterday after posting the news on A Motley Vision that WindRiver had purchased Mapletree. So I called JB, the owner of WindRiver, and was told that your information is NOT correct. WindRiver has NOT purchased Spring Creek.

I don’t know what exactly this means. Perhaps you could check on your end to see if there is an error in the information you got?

I try so hard to make sure I don’t pass on industry gossip and misinformation. I could have sworn I got an e-mail from WindRiver announcing their acquisition of Spring Creek. But apparently, I had a brain burp and that was not the case at all. WindRiver acquired Mapletree, another small publisher.

So I contacted Chad Daybell, owner of Spring Creek, and here is his reply, copied and pasted straight from his e-mail back to me:

Hi there!

Thanks for your email, and I’m happy to clear up any confusion. Spring Creek hasn’t been acquired by another company. Spring Creek still exists, but we haven’t produced a new title since August, and we aren’t accepting manuscripts. We have shut our warehouse and Brigham Distributing is handling our distribution. . .

I feel we did our best, but after the Deseret Book/Seagull merger, . . . as the other publishers have also seen, their plan to “vertically integrate” their operations left us on the outside. We still received invitations for their catalogs, but the catalog prices increased to the point we were actually losing money when we advertised because of all of the returns they would send back as soon as the catalog period ended. Of course, once we stopped advertising, our books entered the Dead Zone, which you have explained so well.

So I guess the succinct answer is we (as a company) are barely breathing . . . but we aren’t dead yet.


I apologize to Chad at Spring Creek, to WindRiver, and to all my readers for disseminating incorrect information here at this blog. I will make sure in the future that I get my facts right.

How Many Books Did You Buy for Christmas?

Every writer who hopes to become a published author should be an enthusiastic buyer of books, not just an avid reader. Why? Because you’re supporting the industry you want to become a part of.

Another small LDS publisher recently called it quits. That statement may seem like it’s unrelated to the previous paragraph, but it’s not. Why? Because many of this small publisher’s titles were pushed into the Dead Zone and sales tanked.

They were acquired by another small company so I’m not sure how that will shake out—if the acquiring company will keep it as an imprint or if they’ll just sell through the current stock in print and let it die. Regardless, the whole thing makes me sad because now we have one less avenue to publication, which means by default, the control that Deseret Book/Covenant has over the LDS publishing industry has just increased.

I’m not dissing DB&C. The products they release are top-notch and despite the fact that their business decisions are hurting smaller companies what they are doing is not bad or evil. But when you have one small group of people deciding what is and is not appropriate for a market of readers, it’s just not healthy. We need more small publishers, more opinions, not less.

So, how do we help? What can we do to influence the market and insure that alternate avenues to publication stay open? We can buy books.

You influence the state of the industry with your checkbook. When you find a book that you really like, buy it—especially if it’s published by a smaller press. Buy several copies and give them as birthday and Christmas gifts.

Another thing we can do is to support published authors by attending their book signings and other appearances when possible. Even if you’ve already purchased their book, even if you’ve met them before, go out and meet them again. A well-attended signing says something to a publisher and author, even if the sales at that signing are low.

So here’s your assignment:

1. In the comments section of this post, name one (or more) title(s) published by a small press that you purchased in the past six months.

2. Take my poll in the sidebar.

3. Go over to LDS Fiction and post some recommended reading comments for titles by smaller presses—titles that you’ve read and you like.

4. If possible, buy a book this week.

Correction: When first posted, I mistakenly identified Spring Creek as the small publisher that had been acquired by WindRiver. That is not correct. Mapletree was the company that was acquired by WindRiver. I apologize for the confusion here.

2008 — By the Numbers

I’m not absolutely certain that my list of fiction titles by LDS authors published in 2008 is complete. If you find that I have missed some, please e-mail the information to me and I will update the list and the LDS Fiction site.

But assuming the list is complete, here’s a run-down of the numbers. Pretty impressive, I think.

Titles published: 136

Authors publishing: 109

Authors publishing four titles: 2
(Anita Stansfield, Orson Scott Card)

Authors publishing three titles: 5
(Christine Feehan, Marcia Lynn McClure, Brenda Novak, Chris Stewart, RaeAnne Thayne,

Authors publishing two titles: 19
(Traci Abramson Hunter, Amanda Ashley, Michele Ashman Bell, Allyson Condie, Wendie L. Edwards, W. Dave Free, Jessica Day George, Betsy Brannon Green, Jennie Hansen, Christy Hardman, Lynn Kurland, Stephenie Meyer, Rachel Ann Nunes, James A. Owen, Anne Perry, Leora Potter, Brandon Sanderson, Obert Skye, G.G. Vandagriff)

By LDS Publisher

Covenant: 34

Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain: 20

Cedar Fort: 16

Leatherwood Press: 3

Parables: 1

Spring Creek: 1

Zarahemla: 1

National Publishers: 39

Small Press/Self-Publishers: 16
(Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, so I lumped these two together. Best guess: equal split.)

By Genre
(Some books are included in two categories.)

Romance: 41
(including Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance)

Speculative: 41
(Fantasy/SciFi/Paranormal Romance/YA & MG)

Mystery/Suspense: 23
(including Romantic Suspense)

Middle Grade: 18
(all genres)

Historical: 16
(including Historical Romances)

General: 14

Young Adult: 13
(all genres)

Christmas: 6

Sports: 1