Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, has thrown down the gauntlet.
How? He has announced that as a publisher they are going to reduce their new titles by 50%. Yes, you read that right. 50%.
Why? As he says on his blog:
“23% of our titles drove more than 90% of our revenue. Or to say it another way, 74% of our titles accounted for less than 10% of our revenue … We can cut the title count and eliminate a significant portion of our workload, without reducing our revenue or our profit margin … We believe that by doing so we will put at risk less than 10% of our revenues (and even less of our margin). More importantly, by slowing down the conveyor belt, we believe we can improve the quality and more than make up for any potential decrease in revenue.”
So will Thomas Nelson still take chances on new authors? The answer is yes, but here are Michael’s words:
“In fact, we will continue to take risks on those relatively few manuscripts that are exceptionally well-written”
So the gauntlet is down. Will we as aspiring authors of Christian science-fiction and fantasy be up to the challenge of not just making our work “Well Written”, but “Exceptionally Well Written”? I hope so.
For me, personally, this is a big challenge. At this point I am considering NOT going to the fall ACFW conference.
Why? Two reasons, the first being financial as some expected overtime during late winter did not pan out.
Second is my readiness. Am I really ready to meet with an agent and pitch my work? I think I definitely could be, but it is probably better to wait than rush it, especially in light of the gauntlet.
Not that I’m necessarily aiming for Thomas Nelson (although that would be great), but imagine this: Every Christian author who WOULD have been published by Thomas Nelson will be swamping the other publishers! The competition has just gone up everywhere! I’ve generally been known as someone who knows what finished work looks like, but I am honestly re-evaluating the quality of what I need to pitch.
BUT … it is incredibly tempting to go, especially since the conference is in my hometown and I would be able to visit family before and after the conference.
Read Michael’s words yourself at his blog.