Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Monday, January 5, 2009

“This Business Was Never Meant To Sustain Limousines”

Two interesting pieces for your perusal today, folks, which appear to send mixed messages but actually dovetail depressingly well. First, the Wall Street Journal on why publishers can’t afford to break out of the ‘blockbuster trap’:
When a publisher spends an inordinate amount on an acquisition, it will do everything in its power to make that project a market success. Most importantly, this means supporting the book with higher-than-average marketing, advertising and distribution support … With such high stakes and money tied up in a few big projects in the pipeline, the need to score big with a next project becomes more pressing, and the process repeats itself. The result is a spiral of ever-increasing bets on the most promising concepts, creating a “blockbuster trap.”
  And then there’s the New York Times on ‘the new austerity rippling through the industry’. To wit:
Amid a relentless string of layoffs and pay-freeze announcements, book publishers are clamping down on some of the business’s most glittery and cozy traditions. Austerity measures are rippling throughout the industry as it confronts the worst retailing landscape in memory. “This business was never meant to sustain limousines,” said Amanda Urban, a literary agent who represents Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison, among other authors …
  For authors it means the prospect of smaller advances and fewer books being acquired.