A new blog from the creator of The Vincent Zandri Vox about writing, traveling, and the world in the present tense.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dear Random House/Penguin Author....

Dear Random House/Penguin Author:

Congratulations on the merger of the two giants who control your career and your life. I just wanted to let you know that from this point on, your agent will be telling you, "All's cool bro, no problems. Random House/Penguin (...or insert imprint HERE) loves you man. They totally fucking dig your style. You are their dough-ray-me future...Oh, sorry, gotta go, call from the Bertlesmann bros on the other line..."

Right now, author, you are feeling sort of sick. Your stomach is tight. You haven't slept much over the past few days. You might have a headache. You are irritable towards friends and family. You can't work.

You're not getting a straight answer from anyone.

All you want to know is, "Is my present publishing contract secure in the midst of this new merger?"
Or, "Are you going to renew my contract like you promised?"

You probably gave up your day job once you were told a major pub had accepted your new book and were paying you a six figure advance to start out with. Maybe you told your entire circle of friends and family about your good fortune.Maybe even the local newspaper ran a "local boy/girl makes good story" on you." Maybe you've never been so happy in your life. Maybe even your significant other now believes that all those horrible moments of doubt...all those arguments about "getting a real job and writing on the side" ... were for naught.

Your ship has finally docked. Or so you thought.

Problems: Maybe your only source of income is the advance promised you by RH and/or Penguin. Perhaps, they paid you the first installment but now that a merger is taking place, your agent can't seem to get anyone who knows what they're doing on the line. Maybe you never considered what might happen in the face of a corporate merger. Of course you didn't. What writer anticipates a corporate merger?

Maybe you have new friends in New York who work in Editing, or who work in Marketing. Maybe you have already partied with them and now consider them your buds. Maybe they can help you. Because that's what friends on the inside do, right? They help you.

But then, you're not hearing from your new friends no matter how much you call, email, or text.

Maybe their fate is as hellish as yours. Maybe after years of service they are being let go. Maybe the corporate merger is dictating that they go find new jobs in greener pastures. Perhaps pastures that have nothing to do with publishing.

Dear author. I hate to say this, but there's a pretty good bet that unless you're already bringing in publishing numbers equal to James Patterson or Harlan Coben, you are going to be dropped from the list. You are going to be the "casualty" of the inevitable "cleaning house" that the new RH/Penguin company will have no choice but to do. Because after all, these conglomerates are two white whales that are already dying and making them co-join like two gigantic Legos ain't gonna work. For some reason, the powers that be feel like by joining up, they can beat a publisher who actually cares deeply about its authors: Amazon Publishing.

Dear author...Have no fear.
The future is here and if you have talent, endurance, and the willingness to adapt, you will survive to publish another day. You will be around for years to come. Your former, now gigantic conglomerate publisher will not be. In fact, it is already dead.




  1. Here's a great comment from my Thomas & Mercer colleague and friend, Amazon Bestseller J.Carson Black:

    I remember being let go during The Great Mass Market Paperback Midlist Writer Purge of 2007. First there was the bloodbath in Editorial. My editor survived, but next, she had to jetison me. If you didn't write Paranormal Romance, Vampire, Cozy, or Erotica, you were out. Check out their mass market thriller list. It won't take you long, because there isn't any. Not unless they're paperback versions of Harlan Coben and company. Now I'm with Thomas & Mercer (amazon) and thrilled to death about it. They are completely different. They ask me for my opinion and they respect it. They try every single day to keep me and my fellow T & Mers on track and to give us the best chance to reach readers.

  2. i think it's very generous for you to put this out there for writers to see and be aware, to be inspired and encouraged.

    write on, vince