One of my blog readers emailed an article from the New York Times to me, recently. His note said, “the parts I read sounded as though you might have written them.” I could see why. I’d covered the story of J. K. Rowling’s recent mystery novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling in a recent blog. (8/16/13). Like the emailed article by James Stewart, I remarked that once the author, Robert Galbraith, was unmasked as being the pen name for Rowling, book sales rose from for 1500 copies to many thousands. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/31/business/
Stewart’s column differed from mine on one point, though. He’d included an observation by Morgan Entrekin, president and publisher of Grove Atlantic. Reading it, I laughed. Like most of us, Entrekin was baffled that a book with modest sales under a pseudo name should become a best seller once the true author was known. Nothing had changed about the book, neither the content nor the cover. He had to admit that he was unable to account for why some books fail where others succeed. “A book’s fate is ultimately in the hands of the book gods,” he said. (Ibid)
Despite Entrekin’s quandary, the publishing world is alive with entrepreneurs who claim they know how to promote books. They thrive on a writer’s ambition like fish feeding on a clump of algae. Avoiding them is difficult. Writers will find them at workshops and conventions, see their ads on the web or in writers’ magazines. These experts call themselves by various names: agents, public relationships people, marketers and distributors, to name a few. They’ll insist they have important contacts that can open doors. But the truth is, they aren’t any smarter than Morgan Entrekin and he prays to book gods.
If a writer should meet one of these entrepreneurs, my advice is to hold on to your wallet. Better still, re-read my blog of August 2.
(Courtesy of catchthefire.com)