So Penguin and Random House are merging, as some of you may have heard on the various news fronts.
Now, I’m a Penguin author. The Dragonbreath books, as well as Bread Wizard and Hamster Princess, are all through Dial, which is an imprint of Penguin. I love my editor, I love my art director, I got quite a nice note from the president of Dial when I won the Hugo. They’ve been good to me.
I have, it must also be said, been good to them. Dragonbreath, as a series, has sold in the neighborhood of half a million books, and while an illustrated book costs a lot more to put out than solid text, they’re still not losing money on me.
They’ve sent out letters to the authors and agents that basically all say “In this day and age, it’s a good idea to combine forces, this will have no effect on contracts, and the various imprints will continue without interference.” Given that, and the above, it’s unlikely the merger will actually affect me much.
My big concern is if imprints get folded together and staff eliminated, which might result in my losing my editor, in which case I will wail and gnash my teeth (that’s part of what happened to Nurk, back in the day, when Harcourt-Brace got bought right as it was in the pipes.) But at the moment, they’re saying that won’t happen.
All of this is infinitely better than what could have happened if NewsCorp had actually made a successful bid (which they attempted.) I would be VERY worried then.
Obviously anything can still happen, but at the moment my concern is all the knee-jerk “But I don’t LIKE change!” rather than any specific concerns, so…we’ll see how it goes.
(As for the statement that’s been going around that this will make them more competitive in dealing with authors—as opposed to Amazon, which I expect is the real cause–I say, feh. They’ve always treated me quite well, and furthermore, my agent is a starving wolf with good hair. I’m not worried.)