Thursday, December 3, 2009

(Novel) Pimpin' Ain't Easy: Part 2 of 2

Continuing from yesterday

6. The author. This kind of ties into #4 from yesterday's post, but it deserves its own treatment. If the author of the title in question is a celebrity—even D-list (or lower, if such a thing exists)—that will generally translate to a larger buy than would be the case if the author were not already famous. I mean, come on, do you think Jodie Sweetin could have even gotten a book deal at all had she never been on Full House?

7. House enthusiasm. This is sort of an extension of #2 from yesterday. Simply put, certain titles generate more excitement in-house than others, meaning they are higher priority and are more likely to receive advertising dollars, co-op, a stronger marketing push, and so on. Not all titles are created equal, and those that receive more support from editors, publishers, &c will more often than not see bigger buys than those that don't.

8. Comp titles. As I've said before, your book is going to be compared to similar titles that have already been published. If you've published a book in the same genre before, you'll likely be compared to yourself; otherwise, a book similar in genre, seasonality, and format will be chosen. While comparative titles are only one factor among many, they do have an effect on the size of the buy for your book.

9. Awards. If your book won a major award in hardcover, the buy for the trade paperback will be significantly higher than it otherwise would be. The same goes for any of your new hardcover or trade paper titles that go on-sale shortly after you win a major award for any of your previous books. (NB: by "major award" I mean National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker Prize, and so on.)

10. Rep and/or buyer preference. Maybe the buyer is a huge fan of this particular book and wants to put it in special promotion (e.g. Barnes & Noble's "Discover Great New Writers" program or Borders' "Original Voices"). Maybe the rep feels so strongly about the title that his/her enthusiasm convinces the buyer to take more stock. Either way, significant interest on either party's part can drive the buy up.


  1. Number 10 made me think of something that's semi-related. Borders also has a "local authors" section (my Borders does, anyway), and whenever I go there, which is frequently, I find where my novels will someday be featured. I do this on the genre shelves, too (and for the record, it wasn't originally my idea, but I'm glad I tried it). If you've never done this, you'd be surprised how much of a motivator it is. Try it. Eric is right; novel pimpin' ain't easy. Give yourself something to look forward to.

  2. Eric,
    Does the level at which the author is willing/able to generate publicity on her own ever come into play?

    Aside from being able to land an interview on GMA, would it matter if the author already has a television interview book tour lined up from her own connections?

    The reason I ask...Through my career in television, I've already managed to secure a variety of interview commitments. Though my connections are with smaller markets, I figure between television and radio interviews I have the possiblity of reaching about 6 million viewers on my tour I've already set up (I've included the details in my book proposal).

    Would that even matter when my book hits the publisher rounds? (Hopefully in about two months)


  3. So now all I have to do is become a D-list celebrity, easier than A-list. Find an enthusiastic house and fabulous comp titles. Win the Pulitzer Prize and get a rep or buyer all hot and bothered over my book.

    Piece of cake, Eric. Not a problem.

    Lydia, Thanks for the great idea. I'm going to start doing that. Give yourself something to look forward to, is right. It will be fun.

  4. I also wonder about the author's level of promotion (i.e. pounding the pavement). Does this impact a lot or a little? Does generating a small fan base locally have any sway with retailers, publishers and distributors?

    I have just published my first novel (a mystery) and the prognosis is good... But I wish I had something concrete and it's so hard to assess fan base & enthusiasm vis a vis sales.

    Alos, awards... the ones you mentioned are great but they doen't really apply to genre fiction. Does it mean anything to be on the short list or to win an award specific to a genre?

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing...

    Cheers, Jill
    "Blood and Groom" is now in stores.

  5. #6 Made me think of the offer Stephenie Meyers recieved for Twilight. I read it was around $750,000 which seems awfully high for an unknown person not to mention a new writer.

    Why do you think they took the risk?

  6. Curious on the time spent with rep factor. If there is little time to spend on each book, how much effect does book cover and jacket copy have on this? Do buyers glance at a cover, wince and say "no way!" or see another and, "that's eye-catching, I'll take ten"?