The topic Jordan started on traditional mysteries has evolved, with more discussion about marketing/trends etc.
I have a question: Can you manufacture a trend? Can you deliberately create the next big author?
Here's my thinking. To some degree, the average consumer is more sheep than wolf. I grew up in a tourist town, spent time working in retail. You've got your impulse items near the tills and use end displays to move items. From time to time there have been the inevitable scandals - things marked down as discounted to make them look like a deal when they were never sold at the full list price. Yet the perception, the idea of getting a good buy, often moves merchandise.
How many readers realize that the publishers are usually paying for prominent displays in bookstores, not that the bookstores think these are the books of note right now that their customers should be interested in?
Will good writing win out over the long term, or do you think it's possible to 'create' a superstar if you put enough money behind them? (I guess this may go to the same debate with American Idol - Kelly Clarkson hasn't been a flash-in-the-pan but I hear more about Clay Aiken than Rueben what's-his-name.)