I seriously doubt a publisher can make a true bestseller (say a million copies) out of any book that doesn't generate its own word of mouth, or come from an already super-popular writer (say Patterson).
From what little I've read of his work, Kortya's a fine writer who has never been seriously promoted before. Isn't that what we'd all like to see -- a mid-lister getting his shot?
The supernatural is not for me, though.
Aside: I remember an agent telling a room of 50 writers five years ago that vampires were "dead."
I agree with Jack. Sure it can't hurt any pub if they get behind you with a big push, but that doesn't mean the public will respond well. I believe in fate and that things will turn out a certain way regardless.
There have been many runaway best sellers that came from authors who hardly had any push from pubs, some even self-published books.
There have been some books that had all the push behind them, author had huge advance and the book failed miserably ruining the author's chance to sell anything else.
A good example are some of the authors that have been picked by Oprah's book club. I read that some of them folks never sell another novel besides the one Oprah made popular. I read an interview with one lady who thought her career was on the rise because her book had been picked by Oprah. It didn't turn out that way. She was even dropped by her pub because her next book didn't sell hardly at all.
So, I don't believe anything can shift fate. It's gonna happen or it's not. If this man becomes a big star (doubt he'll become Stephen King). But good luck to him.
Heck anyone of US might be the next big star in the literary world. No one knows what will happen. It just takes one breakout book and you're on your way most times.
As far Stephen King, this man is the Master of Horror. It's like replacing Michael Jackson. Can't be done. I don't think anyone can bring horror to the map like King has. The man is a legend. Sure there are other horror writers but none brought horror to where it is like King has. The man has been writing forty years. It'll take some time for anyone to compete with him.
One thing about King is he has longevity. A lot of people who might have best sellers don't even have that. There are millions of writers who had one big book and nothing else. All of King's books are megahits. He's done something to be admired even if folks might not like him. He's won the hearts of three decades of readers and generations.
Not easy to replace the man. By the way we're still looking for the next Shakespeare. (Wink)
Sure there are other horror writers but none brought horror to where it is like King has.
Let's not forget, though, that Stephen King has had a long tradition before him---Poe, Hawthorne, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Aikman (I will have to check on that spelling) , to name but a few. Not all are household names, but they were all masters of the genre of horror and the supernatural. And top notch writers as well. They didn't have the advantage of all the press and marketing that writers like Stephen King have had, though Poe, I believe, was quite popular in his own day. Certainly, without them, there would be no Stephen King. No writer (or any artist for that matter) emerges from or exists in a vacuum. There will be successors.
There can be many "masters." If you are going to talk about a genre, you need to know and remember its history---who came before. How those forerunners laid the ground for those who came after. And anyone can have a successor who is as good or better. Or just luckier. Stephen King is an acknowledged contemporary master. But successors need not be---in fact should not be REPLACEMENTS. We don't need another Stephen King.
We don't need another Shakespeare either. No one ever tires of Shakespeare because, like all truly great artists, he was of AND beyond his time. But we still have had, and will continue to have, many fine playwrights who also speak to their time and with universal appeal. They are just part of that continuum.
I like it, and it can still happen. A good friend of mine, Jon Evison, saw his debut literary novel All About Lulu become a cult breakout hit. His new publisher, Algonquin, believes that they've got a major rising star on their hands, and are backing him up on the ramp-up to his second book's release with an insane amount of money. They're sending him to every fall book fest, they're sending him on a 21-city tour upon the release and they've even sprung for a 1,000-run limited-edition box set with all sorts of intriguing, thematically-linked goodies that'll sell for $60 a pop. Oh, and a 75,000 print run for starters (Lulu is in its fifth edition).
It's a gamble, but I see the logic: Monstrously talented author with monster work ethic + hit first novel + cultish core fan base + second novel with more ambitious scope + off-the-charts personal charisma = risk worth rolling the dice for.
We have to remember that James Patterson became what he is after he first spent some of his own money in advertising and publicity which succeeded enough to convince his publishers to take up the call. Personally, I think editors who have the clout within their establishments, and publishers in general, can make a star out of a mid-list writer. But the writer has to bring some talents withim to the table.
Koryta interviewed Michael Connellyat last year's Bouchercon, and what had to be at least 1,000 advance copies of SO COLD THE RIVER were passed out nine months in advance of its release. I'm a big fan of Koryta's Lincoln Perry novels, so I was psyched. So Cold turned out to be quite a disappointment. Too many convenient plat twists, the supernatural element not handled as well as it could have been, and the writing itself didn't flow as well as his PI stories. To me, they should have invested this kind of effort in his mysteries; they're better books.
Of course, a book's quality is sometimes only coincidentally proportional to its popularity.
Okay, this is like playing the lottery. Maybe one of us will strike it lucky. Do we really live for that? That makes for an almost religious veneration of big publishing, because only they have the gift of success.
Frankly, I do not ever want to see one author promoted over another in the same publishing house. Let them choose wisely and promote equally.
Clearly I'm not part of an impartial sample here, but SO COLD's pretty solid in my opinion. Also it's a damn fine package; I think anyone who picks that hefty beast up in a bookstore just feels like they're holding on to something of consequence.
LB's promoting the book heavily because Kortya deserves it. He's been acclaimed for years and deserves wider exposure than he's been able to get in the past. Personally, I say hats off to him, and am looking forward to reading his next offerings.