Current Book Marketing

The WallStreet Journal ran this article this week:
‘From Hardcover to Paper,How a Blockbuster Was Born’.
‘When Pearson PLC’s Viking imprint published Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” early last year, it printed 30,000 copies — only 5,000 more than the total U.S. hardcover sales of her previous release. “We had high hopes, but we didn’t put it out in best-seller numbers,” says Viking Publisher Paul Slovak.
The title — a chatty recounting of the author’s divorce, spiritual search and self-redemption as she traveled the world — was the fourth for Ms. Gilbert, a former writer at GQ magazine. Although her work was well-reviewed, Ms. Gilbert was considered a mid-list author, talented but not a proven seller.
Then a strange thing happened: The paperback edition of “Eat, Pray, Love,” published in January, quickly gained must-read status. Women everywhere, it seemed — on trains, planes and exotic beaches — were suddenly entranced, making it this summer’s break-out publishing hit. The book has had a 32-week run on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best-seller list, where it currently occupies the No. 1 position. Paramount Pictures acquired the movie rights for actress Julia Roberts. The author says a sequel is already in the works.’

The article is a hard reflection of modern publishers in the US for stand alone books and how they are sold to booksellers and promoted. And it is tough reading for anyone not writing category romance.
Bottom line?
‘most book authors don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of mass market success. That means you have to find a different business model, and fast – one that doesn’t rely on big publishers and traditional marketing, and one that doesn’t leave you trying to eke out a living from a relatively tiny royalty’.