Apparently, it's hell out there. Nobody's buying anything. And it's worse in the UK than in the US of A. Publishers in London, poor things, are staring out of the window wondering what to do with their lives. It can't go on.
That, at least, would appear to be the case with popular non-fiction, a genre (?) which has been hit rather badly by the recent economic uncertainty (and that uncertainty is currently enjoying something a come back here in the UK). Historical fiction, so they say, is thriving. And knowing some fantastic writers of excellent historical fiction I can only say, well that's great news.
But I'm too scared to write historical fiction. I keep thinking I'll go to pieces if I don't know what colour doublet Will Shakespeare was wearing on a certain Monday morning (and if I make it up - well, then it'll be made up). No, I feel safer with historical non-fiction, especially my own sort of investigative brand. Which just happens to be what publishers don't think anyone is interested in buying at present. Not just me - it's across the industry. Something to do with a certain High Street bookstore chain and its dullard management, fortunately elbowed aside after a truly dreadful Christmas season and now replaced by some human beings.
Anyway, that's what my agent told me over the phone yesterday. Best to wait until a publisher somewhere stops staring out of the window, gives a little shudder and thinks out loud: "Better do a bit of publishing, then."
So what's a poor writer to do in the meantime? Well, here's the weird thing. I'm heading back to the BBC!! Haven't passed through that hallowed portal in twelve years or something crazy. But, couple of weeks from now, I'll be back in the building, discussing DRAMA.
All a result of meeting up with an old producer colleague a few weeks back (just go down a few posts and you'll find it). An idea or two was sent, both were liked, so we're seemingly back in the game. How cool is that?
Like I say, it's been a dozen years since I crossed the threshold of the BBC Drama Building, and I'm extremely optimistic that things have changed. Most important, though - I learnt, way back, that in TV drama you have to be working with people you trust. If you don't, or can't, trust your colleagues to make the right decision every once in a while, the project's probably doomed. And I trust my old producer colleague, not least of all because she's done some terrific stuff while I've been out in the sticks. She's kept the torch alight, bless her, like a beacon in the darkness.
So, while we wait for the publishing industry to shift its collective arse, heigh-ho, it's off to the BBC in London, and a break from history for a wee while.
Funny old world.