A Tale of Two Books

August 16th, 2005 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

What with it being August and all, it is hard to find interesting industry news. Especially since analysis of The Traveler has di–oops, not so fast. We have one more angle — oh sure, it’s been touched upon, but now the showdown between Elisabeth Kostova (The Historian) and John Twelve Hawks moves to center stage.

Okay, it’s really more a look at how two books with (apparently) equal prospects fared in the market. It’s a tale of publicity tours and lack thereof. Of publishers who see the potential for a breakout novel and take appropriate steps. Of how readers respond to new books.

And, of course, of understatement:

Says Doubleday’s Mr. Rubin: “Prepublication, I know hands down that we didn’t need the author. But postpublication, it might have helped.”

Now, when we read the lead comparing the two titles, The Historian being a vampire story and The Traveler being a futuristic thriller, our first thought was “vastly different audiences.” Which makes head-to-head comparisons difficult, if not impossible. It’s not about quality as much as it is mass market appeal, and the former naturally appeals to more of the mass than the latter. The trick is now to find that cross-over angle for The Traveler (also to stop using those stupid quotes around living off the grid).

But Vivien Jennings, the founder and president of independent retailer Rainy Day Books Inc. in Fairway, Kan., says some readers, especially women, had trouble with “The Traveler,” a book she says she enjoyed and has tried hard to sell to readers.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs

1 response so far ↓

  • A UK Reader // Aug 16, 2005 at 11:20 am

    If touring equals sales, then why is The Traveller currently #4 on Amazon.com.uk??? The Historian is approximately #90.

    John Twelve Hawks hasn’t toured here either.

    From my perspective, the surveillance photos of the failed tube bombers in July seemed to correspond to the theme of The Traveller. In other words — what sells a book is not necessarily touring, but the way it clicks in some strange way with the book-buying public.