Fellow midlist author and writing teacher Holly Lisle has an interesting post on her blog. Titled "My War for the Midlist", she talks about how when she got into the business, fiction authors could rely on their backlist (older books) to give them regular royalty checks that helped keep them going as they wrote their next book. Nowadays publishers don't keep their backlist in print and focus on the frontlist. Authors who have been making steady money for the publishing industry for years are being dumped if they can't score big with their latest.
With their obsession with short term profits, publishers are hurting themselves, but they hurt midlist writers, and their loyal readers, more. The quest for the Next Bestseller makes publishers more cautious, only picking up what has worked for them in the past. This has always been New York's failing to some extent, but it's gotten worse in recent years.
While Lisle's statement that "there are no midlist writers anymore" only pertains to fiction, it is a bad development that may leak into my turf. She's recently announced that she's setting up a publishing company that will pay authors on time and nurture midlisters. Sounds good to me! I wish her luck.
Lisle has some interesting advice for writers and an impressive list of publishing credits. Check her out! It's always nice to hear from another writer who wears the midlist badge with pride.