Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Can You Find 2,705 Buyers Of Your Novel?

This past week’s Publishers Weekly bestseller list (ending June 10) revealed some interesting insights into the state of book publishing, particularly fiction.

The top 25 hardcover fiction books reveals if an author can sell 2,705 hardcover copies in one week of his or her book, he or she will make the best-seller list. To crack the top 10 one only needed to sell at least 6,608 copies. Only seven titles sold at least 10,000 copies in that week.

I conclude that:

·         If an author or publisher were to more aggressively promote and market a book, such book has a real chance of making a best-seller list.
·         Books tend to spread their sales over a period of time – but each week they would sell a few thousand. The first week a book goes on sale – and the first few weeks of its launch tend to be the biggest weeks.
·         Publishers and authors need to do a better job of selling a book pre-launch. To my knowledge, presales count towards the book’s debut date/week, so if you can get people to pre-order via Barnes & Noble, for instance, you can take weeks and months to gather up enough sales to help you gain entry on to the book’s debut week bestseller list.
·         Price, within the hardcover pricing, must fall into a range. Only one of 25 was higher than $28 ($35) and one was lower than $24 ($19.99), so that is a tight price range. Fiction  hardcover books are not cheaper than ebooks or trade paper but many people are still willing to pay to have the books in their hands.
·         Many fiction authors on the bestseller list are repeat performers – Cussler, Grisham, Balducci, Lustbader, King, Irving, Roberts – to name a few. It appears bestselling authors retain loyal followings.
·         The big publishers dominate hardcover fiction. Many publishers had three, and others had two, including Ballantine Books, and St, Martin’s. I didn’t see any books from self-publishers, POD, university presses or small presses.

Of course the best-seller lists don’t list the key thing that all best-sellers should have in common: be well-written escapes from reality. And if you can find 2705 buyers of your book in one week, you likely will make a best-seller list.

Interview With Tracy L. Carbone, Co-Chair Of New England Horror Writers Association,  And The Author Of The Soul Collector

1.      How big is the New England Horror Writers Association? Our numbers build weekly but right now we are at about 300 members.

2.      How is the genre selling these days? Horror is selling very well thanks to the media embracing shows like True Blood and movies and books like Twilight in addition to all the movie remakes from the 80's. Horror fiction for all age groups is expaning rapidly and including those who once thought it was taboo.

3.      What is the future for horror specifically and fiction in general? I think horror will always do well. For fiction in general, so long as humans have strife or boredom to escape from, they will seek out fiction in any form. We are too restless as a species to ever be content with only nonficition.

4.      What advice do you have for authors? Learn all the basics of structure and style in school and by reading as many good authors as you can. Read all the time. Also, watch and mentally record everything around you. If you walk through life oblivious or blind to your surroundings and the feelings of others, your characters will not be believable. 

5.      What do you love about being a part of the publishing industry? Everyone in the industry is very creative, from the writers to artists to pubilshers. They're an exciting group who are always putting out new work. Being in the midst of all that brainpower is exhilerating.

6.      How should authors promote their books? Social media is far more effective than print ads. Be everywhere you can be. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, AuthorsDen, Linked In. Join message boards. The best way to get attention isn't to post your accolades everywhere, as that gets old quick, but to interact with everyone, everywhere. The more people who have heard of you, the better.

For more information about Tracy, please consult: www.tracylcarbone.com

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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