Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The great big "if"

What a tease this must be for all concerned.

"Hi, I wrote a book that might sell."
"Hi, I'm a bookseller that might sell your book."
"My book might be worth your time and energy."
"I certainly hope so. If not, my business might suffer."
"I might not be around to apologize."
"I might not either."

This is social networking, not business.
This is the pre-publication book tour, a ritual an increasing number of authors are enduring so that their books can have a fighting chance in an industry that issues, by some estimates, more than 175,000 titles a year.

Unlike the postpublication book tour, which focuses on publicity and public appearances, the pre-publication tour is meant to win the hearts of the front-line soldiers in the bookselling trenches, and more and more publishers are finding it an indispensable part of their marketing plan.

While major decisions are left to the bookstore chains’ influential buyers, the people out in the field — the store managers and the clerks — can wield considerable power over how long books continue to be displayed on prime tables at the front of the store, and therefore over the what their customers choose to buy and read.

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