Commercial/trade publishers give few books any publicity, or at least succeed in getting none for the vast majority, even if they do send out ARCs for some and include all in catalogs. But they are vastly better at getting them on bookstore shelves (although those are vanishing even as we speak) than all but the most accomplished self-publishers.
Few among the tens of thousands of commercial/trade books published annually get such attention. There are not that many end caps -- nor oodles of cash -- to go around. And priority, by definition, can apply to only a relative handful.My rather small niche consumer computer book publisher has been super about publicity. It's very different though in terms of the kinds of publicity publishers do for fiction.
Tables at trade shows. Direct emails to known customers with a coupon.
Priority placement in iBooks and other online bookstores.
Endcaps at Barnes and Noble. Features in Apple retail stores (now, alas, no longer carrying books in most stores)
Trade show placement.
I was actually referring to the kind of derogatory comments being made here about how he'd never be published again and what not.... Did my post really read that wrong lol? I can fix that if I was unclear (or out of line for that matter).
As my own two cents, Anne, if you have the chance to skip the waiting line and you're confident that your book is good enough, send it to the editor.
Worse case scenario? He says no and you still self publish it
Send 'em. And look up AW member K.L. Brady. (Unfortunately, her own site is so larded up with flash-and-dazzle as to be difficult to use, but try it if you have the patience). She started as a self-publisher.. . . competely unexpected invitation from a big New York editor to see two chapters of my manuscript, what should I do?
. . .
So: Konrath writes nine novels that don't sell, then sells the tenth for $33,000, which is pretty good for a first novel, and quite a breakthrough for him. In the bedtime story version, that's the only book he sells to his first publisher. He busts ass promoting it, and it sells okay, but it doesn't sell enough copies to make his publisher happy, so they dump him.
I have trouble bringing that picture into focus in my head.
A first novel means extra work for the publishing house. If you really believe in an author -- and $33,000 is a healthy amount of belief -- you want to continue publishing them, building audience and public awareness with each successive book. A first novel is unlikely to be terribly profitable all by itself. What you're aiming for is profitable sales levels on later books, and new readers going back to pick up that first novel they missed when it came out.
No, I don't think so. Those are weird numbers. That's a weird story.
First novels don't have to sell all that many copies to achieve satisfactory sales levels. Profitability on the first book is not what it's all about. If Konrath's sales figures were the reason his publisher dropped him, his book didn't "sell well." It sold abysmally, and there were probably other problems.
The part about all the touring in support of the book is equally weird. That was a lot of traveling. It was expensive and time-consuming. It was also remarkably unsuccessful, given that Konrath says he hit at least 1,400 - 1,500 venues, and he still didn't sell enough copies to roll up respectable sales numbers for a first novel. At that rate, he's spending more money traveling than his readers are paying at the register for his book.
This led me to wonder whether he should have been putting more of that time into writing the second novel. On the other hand:
Doesn't sound like it took long to sell it, and he got another nice advance for a first-time author, so the second book can't have been all that bad. The story's getting odder and odder.
I don't think that's his third published novel he's talking about. I think it's his fifth, Fuzzy Navel, which was the last one published by Hyperion. Konrath's novels always get dinged a little bit by reviewers for their cliches and implausibility. However, if you look at the one-star and two-star reviews on Amazon, what you see are readers who liked the earlier books just fine, but are complaining that this book is a complete dud: no plot, no characterization, no real ending; just the same damned things happening over and over again.
That makes sense to me. After four successful books, Konrath's editor wouldn't start demanding pointless and arbitrary changes. I can easily believe that Fuzzy Navel needed a major rewrite, because it still needs one today.
Why the sudden drop in quality? I don't know. I do have one theory: Konrath started putting a huge amount of effort into promoting his books. It has to have cut into his writing time. Here's Wikipedia's description of it:
Note, by the way, that Konrath's self-promotion jag started the year his third novel came out. The sales, marketing, and promotion that laid the foundation for his career was done by Hyperion.
Back to the bedtime story:
Even if I hadn't checked Wikipedia, at this point I'd have known the story wasn't accurate. If his first novel earned out its $33,000 advance, no way would his publisher have dropped him for having inadequate sales.
His advances weren't keeping up with his expectations. Dog bites man. Film at eleven. Et cetera.
Nice big advances. Attractive unified-format packaging on his series. Miscellaneous evidence I won't go into that to me says "well-published books, well-published author."
As for his editor asking for rewrites, assuming that's what really happened? That's not mistreatment. The easiest thing to do with a bad book delivered under contract is to throw it into production and forget about it. It'll be bad, the readers will be unhappy, and the author's reputation will take a permanent hit, but it'll be the least amount of trouble for the in-house staff. Actually editing the book is a lot more work and bother.
False, misleading, and disingenuous. When Konrath started self-publishing, he already had a readership and a reputation because his publisher had put a lot of work into building them. If he'd started from scratch, he wouldn't have more than a fraction of whatever readership he enjoys today. He might still have mailed out 7,000 letters to libraries and bookstores -- self-published authors do that sort of thing all the time -- but few of the recipients would have been interested, because he wouldn't have had Hyperion to give him credibility.
I will now skip over a bunch of Konrath's alleged sales figures.
Tentative translation: "I've made a hash of my career, and I think you should do the same."
At best, you're a misguided fool who did lousy research.
At worst, you're a complete idiot with some agenda.
I disagree.I almost hate to mention this, but the star averages on Amazon are about as reliable as the weight I give the DMV to go on my driver's license. What's 20 lbs more or less? And, of course, when one is the leader of the Greek chorus, it's fairly easy to run those reviews up. Content farmers do it all the time, to mask the sincere and very serious 1 star ratings people gave their "book."
I almost hate to mention this, but the star averages on Amazon are about as reliable as the weight I give the DMV to go on my driver's license. What's 20 lbs more or less? And, of course, when one is the leader of the Greek chorus, it's fairly easy to run those reviews up. Content farmers do it all the time, to mask the sincere and very serious 1 star ratings people gave their "book."
My guess overall, though, would be that a writer who uses terms like "stupid" or "foolish" or "sucks" in reference to a fellow professional in the industry is probably better off self-publishing. *shrug* Just a guess.
But if most of the sample can't be relied upon as valid since it's so easy to game the system, how can the average be reliable? I would think the average would be just as invalid and unreliable since it's derived from inaccurate data.I disagree.
Average review is likely to be more representative. When I'm choosing a title to read I usually inspect the outliers and the middle reviews. The low reviews can usually be classed as either stupid reviewers (this book has words in it, I don't like words) or people who honestly hated the book. High reviews can usually be classed as being turned on by tap water or they really enjoyed the book.
For example, I have seen reviews that complain about constant use of poor spelling. This was an American reader complaining about an Australian author's correct use of English. I have also seen 5 star reviews by people who haven't even read the book. It is safe to reject both of these ratings and look at the average, as Konrath suggested.