Publicity, Good or Bad, Is Publicity

Author Katha Pollitt has turned a bad review into an interesting article in the NY Times on whether publicity is bad only when it’s unnoticed.

“Actually, this is good,” my editor said when my book got panned. “It’s a long review by a well-known person. It’s on a good page. It’s even got a caricature of you.” . . .

“Yes, it was pretty negative, and your arms looked like tree stumps,” said one friend, helpfully. “But so what? That just means you’re a star!”

I wonder how many people told her to avoid watching Amazon’s sale rank. I understand the appeal having checked my own site stats more often than I knew I should, but what is an author’s alternative? Do publishers let you know how many of your books sold in a certain time, say quarterly at least?

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9 thoughts on “Publicity, Good or Bad, Is Publicity”

  1. In my experience (and I’ve only worked with one publisher), sales reports are few and long out of date by the time they get sent to an author. What an author has to go on is basically what his agent tells him, the buzz that filters back to him, and those misleading Amazon figures.

  2. I’ll agree, Micah. That book looks interesting, but I’m still uncomfortable with comment promotion like this. I don’t mind emails–maybe this is the same thing.

    What does anyone else think? Does Micah’s publicity comment bother you at all? If you had a book, would you want to do the same thing?

  3. It looks to me like comment spam. The book has nothing to do with publicity, or with the sales reporting practices of publishers. Micah’s comment doesn’t add anything to the conversation. Had it appeared on either of my blogs, I don’t think I would have published it. (I use comment approval.)

  4. I can’t claim that I’ve never touted my books in blog comments, myself. All I can say in my defence is that I’ve always tried to have a point to make beyond just self-promotion.

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