The Blame Game Followup

By Ethan Comment

286 of you voted in our poll about who is to blame for poor book sales with 41% voting that everyone was to blame and 25% agreeing that the publisher has too many titles on their list. The poll has sparked some interesting conversations across the net most notably from Buzz, Balls & Hype which points out that I forgot to include “lack of marketing.”

What’s telling about the vote at the end – asking what “you” think goes wrong they list everything but “not enough marketing.” They do mention the “publicity” failing… but in today’s marketplace there’s so little available publicity anyway, no one should be relying on publicity to get a book out there. Esp with fiction!!!

Of everything, it won’t come as a surprise to readers of this blog that I believe lack of marketing is the reason most books fail. If no one knows the book exists, no one can buy it and publishers simply don’t have enough money or time or creative thinking to give every book the marketing it needs to break through the clutter.

Bookseller Captaincurt posted an insightful comment about how publishers are putting out too many books:

As a longtime bookseller of 27 years I can tell you far too many books are being published every year. Shelves groan under the weight of all the new releases. Lets be honest. Few are really special reading experiences. Books deserving of wider readerships are crowded out each season by the obvious blockbusters Target and the price clubs stack high. I love handselling, but there are only so many hours in a day. I push what I love, show people what they ask for and go out on a limb once in a while and score new fans for my old favorites by the likes of Peter Taylor , Mark Helprin and Jeffrey Ford. No book should be published without some kind of marketing push behind it. I know resources are limited but to do otherwise does the author and his/her book an injustice.