Macmillan (parent company of Tor, Tor.com Publishing, St. Martin’s, and others) has instituted layoffs company-wide, reduced pay for some employees, and has frozen hiring, effective April 2, in response to the projected impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Employees laid off include Tor executive editor Diana Gill, senior editor Melissa Frain, and editor Diana Pho; their last day is May 1. The salary reductions are expected to last through June and only impact those making more than $60,000 a year, with greater reductions for higher salaries; senior executives are on half pay, while others will see 20-30% reductions. Fritz Foy, publisher and president of Tor and Forge, told us,
I think I can honestly say that the last seven weeks have been the most intense of my 35 years in publishing. While abruptly (and unexpectedly) transitioning to a work-from-home environment, Tor has seen the majority of its retail outlets shuttered, or switching to curbside pickup, and the bulk of its annual shows and events cancelled. We’ve moved book-release dates as manufacturing bandwidth ebbed and flowed, we’ve had to crash-develop more and deeper “virtual” marketing and publicity competencies, we’ve dealt with layoffs and salary actions, and we’ve faced the illnesses of family, coworkers, and colleagues.
No decisions have been easy or straightforward.
That said, books seem to be incredibly resilient, and book lovers incredibly resourceful. Although business is far from great, there are any number of bright spots, and the worst-case scenarios have yet to manifest themselves. There are clearly a lot of long days ahead, and hundreds of unanticipated decisions that will need to be made. We hope for an eventual return to normality and a continued healthy science fiction and fantasy publishing environment.
[This story was previously reported on April 3, 2020, and updated April 30, 2020.]
While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall free, but WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT to continue quality coverage of the science fiction and fantasy field.