Quickie with Katherine Deauxville
(October 12, 1997)
Katherine Deauxville is a long-time reader of my column and has contributed to All About Romance in the past (see her terrific review of Lightning that Lingers on the Desert Isle Keeper Review page). When she read Issue #36 of my column, she recognized herself, and wrote in. I asked her to expand on her comments, and here’s what she wrote in response:
In her column last week, Laurie printed a letter from a romance fan, Phyllis Lamken (Phyllis also happens to be an attorney) saying how unhappy she is that she can’t find new books by her favorite authors. Phyllis mentioned me (Katherine Deauxville), Roberta Gellis and Sharon Green as her particular faves. She was appalled that none of us had new books coming out – although we told her we had finished books ready to go.Knowing that many of you are looking for new books too, Laurie has asked me to comment on why many readers can’t find their favorite authors on the shelves these days.
Part of the reason is that overall book sales are down, drastically, in one of the biggest “readjustments” the book world has ever known. Big multi-national companies now own most book publishers, and since they own film studios, TV stations and other businesses, they want to appeal to the largest audiences and make the most money they can.
What this boils down to is: if you’re not at least a one-shot “New York Times Bestselling Author”, most publishing houses are not interested in offering you a contract. Salesmen run publishing operations now, and they naturally want to sell big popular authors. It’s easier. (Incidentally, most of them I’ve met bragged they hardly ever read books, and never romances!!!).
In addition, publishers also have quite a list of “bestselling” writers under contract for two or three or more books, for which they have paid six and seven figures. They can’t afford to let these writers crash – whether their books are selling well or not – because they’ve got a big chunk of money invested in them.
I know some of you are asking: Why do publishers pay some writers enormous advances they know the writer can’t earn back?
There are probably a variety of reasons – editor/publisher ego and the desire to make a big “deal” that will get in the papers and publicize the house, plus salesmen who figure they can push a sale better for an author with a staggering advance, and sometimes just the corporate game-playing that makes mega-million dollar mergers take place all through the business world, but that often don’t pay off dollarwise!!!
When you go to the supermarket or bookstore and look for your favorite author and don’t find her new book there, remember that the author probably has a new book ready to publish, and would very much like to get it to you, too.
If you want to do something about this, you can write to “Sales Manager” of the publishing house of the author you’d like to see on the shelves again. The addresses of all publishing houses are found in the first pages of all books.
I want to say particular thanks to all my fans who have written me and my last publisher, Zebra, saying how much they liked my books and that they want more!!! Thank you, thank, you, and bless all of you out there who like to curl up with a good romance novel! We need you.
You can access Katherine’s web site at http://members.aol.com/madav1/mdavis.html