*This is an opinion piece*
Thanks Bette Davis, but it's going to be more than a bumpy night, it could very well be a bumpy year.
First few days of January and already a digital publisher, AMBER QUILL PRESS, announced it is closing its virtual doors March 30th. If you can't read the snippet (I can't make it any larger) , go to their website HERE the announcement is at the top of the page.
It is also being reported by Dear Author, (a small snippet in their Dec 29th news of the day post), that Samhain Publishing is downsizing. Check it out HERE
In a nutshell, Samhain is giving up costly rental of office space to work virtually, on site staff will be reduced through attrition, and supposedly submissions are closed, though their website does not reflect this. No matter which way you parse it, it shows the market is changing, is in flux, and people (and publishers) are tightening their belts.
I predict there will be more reports of this nature, either downsizing or closing altogether.
So what does this mean? I read on-line Amber Quill Press has about 1600 e-books to revert to authors, which means a vast majority of these will be republished either by other pubs or done through self-pubbing. Some authors may call it day. (happening more and more often)
Add all the books reverted by Secret Cravings Publishing who recently closed, and all the hundreds of authors getting their rights reverted from Ellora's Cave, and you have a real glut.
Let's face it, there are waaayyy too many romance e-books out there. Sales are down, e-readers sales are down. its getting harder to be noticed in such a crowded pool. New York publishers have doubled-down on e-books, venturing into genres that mid-size and smaller digital pubs had control of at one time. Can these smaller pubs compete? Hardly. The 'Big 5' have huge ad budgets, big blogs, and a market share that's difficult to chip away at. Though not all their e-books are selling. I've seen a few authors lament their sales with the 'Big 5' , they've been affected same as everyone else.
Amazon is taking a bigger bite out of the romance apple. Look at any author published with Montlake (Amazon's Romance Pub) some are constantly at the top of Amazon's bestseller lists and the books have hundreds and if not thousands of reviews. Does Amazon give their own authors favourable visibility? They would never admit it, but I'm sure they do, just as they give more exposure to those in KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Amazon: it is what it is, I don't believe all the evil empire stuff, but they certainly do what they can to tweak things.
So what does all this gloom and doom mean for the vast majority of mid-list to small-list and all aspiring romance writers and beginners?
Just tell yourself this over and over: It's not YOU. Don't take low sales as a rejection of your writing or your talent. The market is adjusting. It always adjusts. Remember the dot com bust of the '90's? It's a similar situation in some ways. I predict (and this entire piece is just my opinion, I could be dead wrong as I'm no expert) things will continue to be in flux for the coming year. Accept the disappointments and move forward. Enjoy writing and don't let the dire market predictions ruin the fun of creating a story.
And fasten your seatbelts.