John Gilstrap has started an excellent discussion over at The Kill Zone blog. His post is good; some of the comments are even better. (mine excepted.) Well worth a look.

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Comment by I. J. Parker on May 29, 2010 at 5:00am
Yes, interesting. I've been angry for a while, primarily at my first publisher, whose mishandling of two of my books added to subsequent problems with sales. But fundamentally, our problem is that publishers will take us on without much faith in our catching anyone's eye. It's more a gamble: let's throw this out there and see if people will bite. If they do, we'll promote the heck out of the next one.

That means that there are a gazillion books out there without any sort of publicity. Of course readers don't know about all these new writers. And if the writer goes all out doing personal promotion, he/she may reach a hundred people, fifty of whom will buy the book, 25 of whom will read it and like it well enough to buy another. Only the next book doesn't appear for a year, and by that time nobody remembers, because there have been lots of other books since -- many of them with major national publicity. It's a prescription for failure, and the new author is the last to find out.

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