Yeah, I probably shouldn't even bother expressing my personal opinion on topics like this; no one's going to believe me anyway. But for the record, if I didn't like the book, I would just keep my mouth shut about it rather than bother responding.
No, no. . . although I still believe a can of worms may have opened. . . that's exactly what's needed in here. We need to throw ideas around. Publishers need to step up and both throw some heat and and take some heat. God knows writers are not always right. Or always wrong, for that matter.
Well, yes. It's good to hear from the other side. And Wes wasn't always working for a publisher. He has a wider perspective on the whole business of publishing. He's a brave man to come here and face so many disgruntled authors. :) Good for you, Wes!
There is something to be said to have an ear to the ground, and maybe it's a good sign that publishers take an interest in the general opinion exchange. Now if we could get Wes to divulge what LB, for example, thinks of Joe Konrath's rebellion, we might be on the way to a dialogue.
I'll take a pass on Joe Konrath, thanks very much . . . lest I put my foot in my mouth. Plus, unless I'm wrong (could certainly be), he doesn't have LB publications, so it's not like I'm some insider expert anyway.
I'd like to see this thread go back to its original focus: Celebrating the fact that the risk-averse, in-full-retreat publishing industry still occasionally throws its full weight and budget behind an up-and-comer who's far from established, that it still takes a calculated risk.
Every once in a while, it's nice to see an author, an agent and an editor and publisher whose agendas, ambitions, literary tastes and procedural preferences are in perfect alignment. Whether the reading public agrees is nothing something any of us can divine.
I don't think Michael Kortya, for example, will be a bestseller because his publisher is carpet-bombing the world with advertising messages about him (I've been blasted with Establishment messages about him, but I'm not buying So Cold The River because the jacket copy simply didn't draw me in; because supernatural thrillers are not my thing). Word-of-mouth is what makes bestsellers, and word-of-mouth is an organic thing, impossible to artificially generate.
And this comes from a person who so disdains the publishing industry that I plan to work as an author outside of it.
I'm not sold on the word-of-mouth thing. I don't think Stephen King or James Patterson or Clive Cussler found the success they found thru one reader passing on his enthusiasm for a book to another potential reader. I think it was concerted efforts of writer and publisher and some succinct advertising that does the trick. But maybe I'm wrong.
Yeah, with all due respect, you are wrong on this B.R. If stardom were as easy to orchestrate as that, then every book would be a hit. Sometimes, publishers throw a lot of money at a book and really back the author, and the book never takes off because the readers just don't get excited about it. Other times, a book with very little publisher support breaks out because of word-of-mouth (Sara Gruen's Water For Elephants was one).
I'm with those who say hooray for Kortya, whose publisher is backing him to such an extent BEFORE he makes it big. Here's hoping it works!
Personally, I'd say word of mouth is what _sustains_ sales , that it's certainly rare for a book to generate above-average sales without reader recommendations. But it would be hard to gain the market visibility necessary for those recommendations to build momentum without an initial publicity push of some kind. As I see it at least, the public adopting a title as something of significance is the second (crucial) step in the road to "bestsellerdom;" at present, it would be tough to get there without a concerted effort of some kind, large or small. And yes, there are publishers out there who still do take risks.
Wes is right, though. Word of mouth will keep an author going if his or her first book is good or of popular interest or at least entertaining and after there has been an initial publicity campaign. A bad book followed by bad second or third books could cancel out the initial investment.
Without initial publicity, word of mouth is like single drops of water falling on the Sahara desert.