I just stumbled across a piece of news on the Locus website saying that Earthlight, a fairly prestigious imprint owned by Simon and Schuster in the UK, is to close down. I followed a link for more details on the website Publisher's News, but it led nowhere. I wonder what happens now? There's another local author called Mike Cobley who has a three book deal with Earthlight, two of which are actually out. Does this mean a new imprint, or Mike and the rest will be absorbed into the general body of fiction put out by s and s, or something more ominous?

What I do know is that John Jarrold used to be the editor at Earthlight. While he was there, he bought Mike's books. He was also later involved in the buying process for Angel Stations and Against Gravity (While I was writing this sentence, I got a phone call from Mike who'd just received an email from me asking what he knew. It turns out he knew nothing about it).

This doesn't affect me - my deal is with Tor UK, a sf imprint with a company (Pan) that previously had no sf imprint - a testament to the success of Peter Lavery's writers (cross your fingers and hope he wasn't wrong about me). I won't speculate on the political and economic motives for the closure, but what little I do know about the nefarious in and outs of the publishing industry does tell me that frequently imprints and authors get dropped not because they're not making money, not even because they're making lots of money, but because they're not making buckets of money. Or at least that's what it seems like to me at times, browsing endless tables of pastel blue books with yellow lettering by women whose first name always seems to be 'Jenny' (Nowadays they call it chick-lit, but in the olden days they called it 'romance').

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