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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Who is to blame when a book doesn't sell?


Galleycat on mediabistro.com has a riveting commentary today from an anonymous editor with a New York publishing house, on who should be blamed when a book doesn't sell.
"At our house we have a policy called, Don't Ask Don't Tell," s/he reveals.
What does this mean?
"Well, it means that if a book fails in the marketplace don't ask anyone and don't tell anyone. Nine times out of ten the author is blamed for poor sales; even though, the house more often than not does support the author in marketing the book. As an editor I can assure you that I have too many books to edit and there are too many books to promote."
Why is it a safe bet to blame the author?
"Because we all want to keep our jobs, that's why. What I am telling you is very important because it will give you some insight into the mindset of publishers today. The bottom line is this: When sales are good we all pat ourselves on the back and take credit, but when sales are bad, we find fault with the author, when in fact many times the poor results are our own fault! At just about every publishing house I've worked at I've run into this problem of having too many books to publicize, as do most of my colleagues. Some you just have to send out into the ether blind, some you champion, others you do the bare minimum on because that's all the time you have. I've actually had my boss tell me to NOT do anything for a book because another book needed to take priority. I think poor sales could be blamed on the new corporate model of publishing that thinks of books as widgets and tries to get away with less staff and more books."
Galleycat ran a poll of readers. How would you vote?
1. Sales didn't get enough books into stores O
2. The publicist dropped the ball O
3. The editor bought an unsellable book O
4. The publisher has too many books on the list O
5. The author wrote a dud O
6. The agent built up the author to be more than they were O
7. All of the above O
For the results, read the story:

1 comment:

Joan Druett said...

Here is the link to the rather waffly result of the survey:

http://polldaddy.com/poll/814254/?view=results