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This time it comes from Publishers Weekly’s article about the effect of NYTimes reviews on non-fiction titles. Reading the article, it seems clear that reviews on their front page for books that weren’t already planned to be blockbusters were worth nothing more than a few hundred sales on the week it came out, with the exception of one book on economic inequality. That book not only sold well on the week it came out, but sales continued to go up.

What does it mean? Well, inequality is one of the more popular ways of talking about our political problems at the moment, so I’m guessing the readers who were prompted to snap up that book on the week it was reviewed started telling others about it.

In other words, the review was only useful because it helped spur the only marketing that really matters: readers talking to readers.

Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.

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msagara
Jul. 8th, 2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
Non-fiction depends a lot more on non-review outlets: talk shows, print interviews, radio interviews. It's why, for non-fiction, publishers often want to meet the author and know about their existing platform. If they're good at performing in public, there's a decent chance that it will push the sales up when their sent out on publicity things.

Fiction, not so much. Literary fiction seemed, the last time I saw numbers run, to be positively affected by good reviews, negatively by bad - but no other genre seemed to suffer from that correlation.
burger_eater
Jul. 9th, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
I sometimes think it would be much easier to get non-review attention if I wrote non-fiction. It's rare that, say, NPR will invite an author I would read into their studios.

As for lit fiction writers, that's damn hard for them.