Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hello? Welcome to a Recession.

People seem to be panicking over Black Wednesday, as if it's the end of publishing as we know it.

image I think our world is a little too small. The US Government has just declared a recession. Layoffs are EVERYWHERE. People are losing their jobs like crazy.

In Ohio, the unemployment rate is up so high, Ohio will run out of money for unemployment in January or February, and will have to borrow money from the federal government. They are so busy, they can't answer questions about filing or if you're eligible. Isn't that something?

Ohio is second in the nation for mass layoffs, and jobless rates keeps going up.

If it's the end of publishing as we know it, it's the end of our country as we know it. And we may very well be living in a different world in the coming months and years. Who knows?

It is going to be a tough winter, a tough year. Maybe it will only last until the middle of 2009. Maybe not. I just love when people with cushy jobs and a nice house say not to worry, things will be fine. Why don't they go out on the street and then say things are fine? Why don't you go hungry and freeze a little while, Mr. Things Are Fine?

Yesterday, Angie said that there are plenty of self-indulgent novels, too. When I read this, I wondered if she wasn't right. I enjoy a good play with form as much as the next author, but is this really necessary?

Mathias Enard's ZONE, A 500-page, single-sentence French novel, with Charlotte Mandell translating, to Open Letter, for publication in summer 2010, by Actes Sud.


It better be one heck of a sentence. There better be a good reason for making it one sentence, something other than let's see if we can write a whole novel in one sentence!

It's one of those things that will be genius or annoying, LOL.

image Let's end with good news: ebook sales are up everywhere. My own royalties are over 400% above what they were last year. (And that's nothing to do with me or my stories, so please don't take that as bragging, but as hope for authors. It's just my one publisher's work and the ebook market in general. Random House's ebook sales have tripled, too.)

So are you nervous about the recession? Is it affecting you? Could it, or have you got your hatches safely battened up?

After the piano store closing in our greater area, I've definitely shifted more of my income-generating focus on writing. I don't know what else to do, besides keeping faith that we will all survive.

Today I am grateful for people like her who help people out so much, and that I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach.

20 bonus scribbles:

Kath Calarco 12/04/2008 11:18:00 AM  

Hell yeah, the recession scares me, but not so much that I'm losing sleep. I know how to tighten my belt, cut corners, etc.

And now when I think about Black Friday I think about that poor Wal-Mart employee killed in the line of duty. It surely puts a new spin on the phrase, doesn't it?

spyscribbler 12/04/2008 11:37:00 AM  

Kath, it sure does. Were you the one who blogged on that? It was where I discovered the story. Just makes me sick. I mean, that is just awful. The greed!

I've cut our expenses a TON this year; we've been tightening like you wouldn't believe. Honestly, I don't own a house, and I feel the worst that could happen would be we'd have to go camp at a free camping area and eat fish until we got on our feet again. I doubt highly things would get that bad for us, but knowing we could survive, if they did, gives me comfort.

R.J. Keller 12/04/2008 11:57:00 AM  

My hubby's hours just got cut back last week, so we're a little nervous. Fortunately we're a frugal lot.

My own "day job" is secure. In fact I can work as many hours as I want. Sadly enough, convenience stores specialize in recession-proof fodder: liquor, cigarettes, lottery tickets.

Congrats on the e-book royalties!! I'm just getting started in that world, so only time will tell how it works out for me.

spyscribbler 12/04/2008 12:23:00 PM  

That's a relief, R.J.! They say entertainment sales go up in a recession, so I think that's good news for ebooks, particularly because they're priced reasonably.

Good luck with the ebooks!

Edie 12/04/2008 12:33:00 PM  

Even mass paperbacks are reasonable. People should still afford them. I hope.

I just hope to hell my husband keeps his job. In the meantime, I'm going on as usual. I'm frugal too.

Mark Terry 12/04/2008 12:37:00 PM  

Yes, but I'm trying not to get into panic mode. I'm focusing more on marketing, bringing on new clients, touching base with older clients, and keeping the current crop. Stiff upper lip, and all that...

Aerin 12/04/2008 01:43:00 PM  

Hey, Ms. ebook Author - what ebook reader do you prefer? My hands don't feel the Kindle is as nice as the Sony Reader, but I don't really know in terms of performance one from another.

As for the recession, my son's autism treatment center tuitions costs more than an Ivy League college, year for year, so we're already up to our eyeballs in debt, and the cutting corners, etc, is nothing new. Thank god (over and over) for my in-laws who help with tuition. Wait, that's another topic. Sorry.

spyscribbler 12/04/2008 02:06:00 PM  

Edie, I hope so, too! And you're right, mass paperbacks are still affordable. Especially the Harlequins and such.

Melanie Avila 12/04/2008 02:06:00 PM  

The recession worries me because I'm putting all my energy into returning to the US, but we'll need to find jobs, etc. If I can start freelancing now that will help, but it's a concern.

Congrats on the increased royalties!

spyscribbler 12/04/2008 02:07:00 PM  

Mark, I find doing that sort of thing comforting at a time like this. It really keeps me hopeful and the energy moving in the right direction.

spyscribbler 12/04/2008 02:11:00 PM  

Aerin, well, I LOVE my Kindle. Absolutely, without a doubt. The ease of ordering from the store and it popping up on the Kindle without ever going near a computer is just beyond wonderful.

Other readers require you to hook up to the computer and download and stuff. That's a lot of work.

The Kindle/Amazon Store/Samples are just unbeatable, and features I couldn't live with out.

The new Kindle is going to be shaped much like the Sony Reader: thinner, more streamlined. I actually prefer my Kindle now. I like the big page-turn buttons and the thicker design.

If you go to Borders, you can play with the Sony: they usually have a sample model on the floor.

The Kindle is prettier, but I just like white. :-)

spyscribbler 12/04/2008 02:12:00 PM  

Melanie, that will help! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

It's a tough job market right now, that's true. We just have to hope it will all work out!

Angie 12/04/2008 02:34:00 PM  

We're very fortunate and are doing well. My husband's job is secure, as is his retirement income. We bought our condo very cheap and even if it loses half or more of its current value, it'll still be worth more than we paid. We're definitely better off than a lot of other folks, and I appreciate that very much. :/ I still hope things turn around soon, though, because even if we're basically okay, having most of the population financially strapped isn't good for anyone. :(

Angie

Dominique 12/04/2008 02:49:00 PM  

I hear you! Especially here in Michigan.

Tim lost his job two months ago, and my freelance writing jobs dried completely up early this year. Thankfully, I still have another income...we have no major bills...and we've got savings enough to last a while --knock on wood--
My morning writing group was talking about the sorry state of the publishing/writing biz earlier today. We're all non-fiction folks who have worked/or still work with local pubs freelancing.
The sorry state of the print biz sent me out online with my own blog this year. I'm in the early stages of working to increase my traffic, so I suspect it will be a while before I can attempt "monetizing" the darn thing. My writing group folks are starting to get a little frantic...thinking they "should" be online, but not being able to get the nerve up to get out here an do it.
Hopefully we'll all be able to realize the potential online before too long. :)

StarvingWriteNow 12/04/2008 03:20:00 PM  

I live in hope that I will be okay. My job is currently stable, I have a side job that provides a bit extra as well. But if I got laid off tomorrow? I'd be pretty screwed.

Barbara Martin 12/05/2008 12:48:00 AM  

When there are news reports of a recession it tends to have a domino effect with people. A person has to find ways to cut back their expenses, and find an alternative method of earning money.

I'm in that situation, as after Christmas I will be coming off of medical leave with no job to go back to. There is unemployment insurance, but in the long term one still needs to find some kind of job.

The best advice I can give others, and this is something I use all the time, is to keep a positive outlook while pushing negative thoughts away. I have always managed to find some kind of job to work at during past recessions.

On a positive note, congratulations on your e-book royalties. Keep thinking you're going to get more royalties, and you will.

And, Spy, thanks for being a follower.

spyscribbler 12/05/2008 03:40:00 PM  

Good point, Angie. It isn't good for anyone. I do hope we hit an real strong upswing soon!

spyscribbler 12/05/2008 03:43:00 PM  

Dominique, online is one of the places where it strikes me most that we're becoming a global economy. (Btw, I love the pictures on your blog.)

Michigan and Ohio aren't doing well, that's for sure. All we can do is work our fingers off and hope!

spyscribbler 12/05/2008 04:51:00 PM  

Writenow, that's a blessing! You have a cool job. And a side job? Aren't you going to school, too??

spyscribbler 12/05/2008 05:14:00 PM  

Barbara, yes. They've called it now, but they say it started last December. That's how long I've been feeling it, for sure!

Your positive outlook is inspiring. :-)