Topics in Publishing
Book Marketing in the United States Five hardcover novels published in the United States sold over a million copies in 1991; fiftyseven sold over 100,000. 1 But not a single first novel was among these successes.2 "Apparently, the typical first or midlist novel is published with virtually no promotion to help it, even if the editors believe it's wonderful ," complains consultant Col in L . Jones. "Everyone sits back and prays for-gulp-good word of mouth. That's a funny way to run a business totally dependent on new products . " 3 Funny-or tragic, depending on one's point of view. Yet the condition is symptomatic of the strange, confusing, and frequently irrational manner in which some American publishers approach their markets. To examine these markets and the means and methods publishers employ to reach them is the objective of this essay.