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?
Tags: books, bookselling, publicity, reviews
Interesting market data noted by the Grumpy Old Bookman–well, he points out a book with the data, but he writes this: “One interesting (and possibly encouraging, provided you put it in perspective) piece of information is that 14% of all fiction sales were for six figures or more.”
Grumpy OB is also the first stop in a July contest which encourages us to buy books for our friends.
The man who gave me my chance as a published author, Jim Baen, passed away yesterday. Author David Drake provides an eloquent eulogy here.
In the ups and downs of our working relationship, I never lost my deep respect for the man they used to call the “GE” (officially General Editor, though many fans preferred God-Emperor, begging your pardon).
You’ll read now and then about the great old days of publishing, when Mighty Editors roamed the earth (or at least the hallways) wielding their red pencils and showing callow authors who showed some promise how to tell a real story.
Those days are mostly gone now. Today the industry is run by bean counters who sell books by the yard. Editors flit from house to house, perpetually frustrated that they can’t get approval for books and authors they believe in.
Jim Baen was a throwback to the glory days. He ran his own shop, and he ran it his own way. He published the kind of books he wanted to read himself, and he showed the world that you could make a nice living doing just that.
He was fiercely, even frighteningly, honest. When he said he’d do a thing, he did it.
He believed in freedom of speech and, unlike many in the publishing business, he practiced it. He published me (a Christian) and Eric Flint (a Communist). He himself was an agnostic.
I doubt I’ll ever see another editor/publisher like him.
We can never know for certain the fate of any soul. I pray Jim will have found grace at the end.