Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Both Encouraging And Mysterious

I often feel a sense of desperation among writers who are trying to give their newly published books the best possible marketing push. The How-To Information that's spun-out all over the place insists we need to promote, promote, promote, but it never mentions that bookstore contacts may refuse to call back, that regional publishers may bump your interview down to a local publication because "He said that if he covered every author who contacted him, he'd be publishing a book review," or that at many literary festivals the hand full of bestselling authors in attendance get ninety percent of the crowd while everyone else could have stayed home and cleaned or taken a nap.

So these posts at Pub Rants and author Ally Carter's blog on how Carter's book, I'd Tell You That I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You made the New York Times bestseller list two years after it was published were encouraging, even though they can only offer theories about how it happened.

Note in particular Pub Rants' point about the book receiving "few to almost no reviews." The book's "success was not review-driven."

Also note Carter's point that the book didn't hit the list because of self promotion. "All this time I was home...writing."

4 comments:

Chris Barton said...

There's another quote of Carter's that I like:

"[I]n the long-run, word-of-mouth determines what you can still find on shelves months or years after a book's initial lay-down."

Given five minutes to market my book, I'd much rather spend that time talking about it to someone I would have been talking to anyway (and who may then tell two friends, who...) than trying to chase down the local newspaper editor. And I think it would pay off better, too.

gail said...

My experience with local newspaper editors has been so unproductive that I agree--speaking with an individual could get you a lot further.

Debby G said...

Well, yeah, but I believe she got a six-figure advance (I think it was mid-six-figures, actually) and the publisher made her book a lead title and probably paid for prime promotion space in the bookstore.

I'm sure the author is very nice and her book is probably great. I'm just saying it's not just word of mouth that made her book a bestseller.

I had a couple of chapter books come out in June. My local Borders manager was nice enough to let me put the books on the table in front of the kids area. At my local Barnes and Noble, they were put on the bottom shelf, spine out. After a month, the eight books Borders had were gone while two of the eight books B&N had were gone. I think bookstore placement is really important. And don't get me started on my book that neither chain store ordered at all. :-(

gail said...

Yes, either the agent or the author was clear that the book received a lot of support from the publisher.