Here are some snippets from an excellent blog post by author M. J. Rose on the stupidity of our current system of book promotion. This should be required reading for everyone in the book biz:
...No other product/commodity/thing spends a year in
development and then gets three weeks on the shelf.
Over the years I’ve explained publishing to everyone I
ever knew in every other business and get back blank
stares. From CEO’s to marketing mavericks, no one gets
the logic of what we do. Especially when they hear that
the way we do it doesn’t work with the majority of books.
Even in the film industry – and movies are probably
closer to books than anything else – each film is
promoted for months to the CONSUMER before it’s
released. And what’s more about hundreds of thousands
of filmgoers see every film FREE before it’s released to
get buzz going....
Word of mouth takes at least 12 - 14 weeks to build. Yet,
the publishing industry continues to give a book – at
best – 3 to 4 weeks of promotion and co-op. What’s more,
there is no pre-promotion of the book to the READERS.
Are you beginning to get the feeling the average 12-year-old with a lemonade stand has a better grasp of successful marketing principles than the majority of book publishers do? Back to M.J.:
...the number of readers in the US has not increased in
the last six years but we have managed to double the
number of novels we’re putting out there. Meanwhile
we’ve lost 50% of our review sources and we’ve increased
competing sources of entertainment (DVD players,
wireless computers, pdas, ipods, 300 chancel cable boxes
on our TV’s, services like Netflix). And the cost of books
has gone up and up. And used bookstores online
Where is the logic?
Sorry, M.J., but if it's logic you're looking for, I don't believe you're going to find it in the publishing industry.
Book publishing is sinking under the weight of its elitism. Common-sense marketing strategies are deemed just a bit too, well -- common for publishing. Oh, those approaches are fine for the plebeian industries, but publishing has its own way of doing things.
Yeah, we've noticed. And how's that been working out for you, guys?