Rejections - bottom line

Are you trying to find a publisher for your novel? Finding too many obstacles? No replies from literary agencies, publishers? Wondering what the heck is going on?

Here's something I've received from the prominent literary agent, H.M.:

The publishing business has been erratic since the latter part of 1995, when most publishers took a big fall in sales. Sales were mixed until 1999, and then got better. However, 2001 was a very bad year in terms of bottom-line profits, because most publishers produced too many units of too many different titles, and therefore were either marginally profitable or actually took a loss for the year. 2002 was also marginal, and sales fell apart in early October through the Christmas selling season. 2003 was better for nonfiction, but fiction sales were still very soft, and 2004 continued the same. Over the last several years, bookstore business seems to fall by one or two percent month by month, but bookstores are showing higher profits. This generally means that they're selling more copies of a limited number of books, usually by established best-selling authors--and very often in the area of nonfiction in its various forms rather than fiction. Happily, bookstore business in 2007 took an upturn by about 4%, but there still seems no indication as to where that business specifically came from, and publishers are still wary. Publishers are still cutting their lists, and editors are still buying extremely carefully. H.M., Hamptons

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