How Many Times Must One Question Be Asked?

April 28th, 2005 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

Today, David Thayer poses the big one:

How can a publisher get books into the hands of readers? That’s the battlefield of the next decade. Sometimes the best way to deal with a large obstacle in your path is to go around it. The asteroid has already landed. The only restaurant is Carl’s Junior. Streets are paved with grease. Five crazed wholesalers have hijacked an entire culture. We’re doomed. On with the show.

David’s is not an idle question. If it is true that word-of-mouth is the best method of marketing books, then it stands to follow that marketing needs to focus on word-of-mouth. Obviously, this involves getting books into the hands of the right people — let’s call them the big mouths. We believe this requires treating readers as partners rather than targets. If we may be so bold, let us suggest that readers have as much of a vested interest in good books as publishing houses. Maybe the time has come to enlist the other half of the equation in the process.

File Under: Publishers and Editors

2 responses so far ↓

  • Susan Gable // Apr 29, 2005 at 5:45 am

    I recently had the good fortune to hear author Harlan Corben speak. He happens to be a friend of Dan Brown. (Stop wincing, Booksquare, and stay with me on this. I promise it will be worth your time. (g) )

    Anyway, you know that “word of mouth phenomena” otherwise known as Da Vinci Code? You know how that word of mouth got started? According to Mr. Corben, the publisher sent out 2,000 arcs, including 2 to each of the B&N’s in the country. Those booksellers read the book, many enjoyed it, and there began the “word of mouth” – it wasn’t a purely grassroots effort, the publisher got behind the book in a big way, and it was their involvement that began the word of mouth.

    Huh. Interesting. It seems to have started just as you advise (when will they start listening to you??? (g)) – getting books into the hands of the big mouths – the mouths who have direct access to the customer.

    Susan G.

  • Booksquare // Apr 29, 2005 at 7:30 am

    My, what a thing to see at the crack of dawn. Luckily only one eye is open! And this is what I’m talkin’ about — getting the big mouths to speak. Maybe rather than wondering what the next Code might be, publishers should be out there trying to build it.