The Business Rusch: Marketing And Readers (Discoverability Part Who Knows) « Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Traditional publishers don’t really pay attention to a fan base. Publishers sell books to distributors and bookstores, remember, and so target their advertising to those companies. When the chain bookstores took over the business, traditional publishers only had to convince a handful of book buyers to take tens of thousands of copies of certain books, based not on the author’s sales record, but on what was “hot” or a “great cover” or a “new concept.”
I snatched this from a KK Rusch post of a couple months ago. It’s true, of course. I’ve been selling books in the traditional NYC publishing model since 1985, and I’ve learned the hard way about how books are really bought and sold, while personally going from bookstore to bookstore begging them to order my latest title – usually with no success. “That’s all handled by the SF buyer in NY,” I’d be told.
Sigh. Of course, most of those bookstore chains are now dead as the sands on which Ozymandias stands, just as the number of major publishing houses has also drastically shrunk.
Which means traditional publishing is now in the curious position where writers sell books to a couple dozen acquisition editors, and half a dozen publishing houses sell to even fewer bookstore chains.
In other words, what you, the reader, is permitted to buy is determined by a tiny handful of gatekeeping decision makers at publishing houses and chain bookstores. The dayI finally figured that out was the day I decided to try to transfer my efforts toward becoming a successful independent author.
You see, I want to write books for, and sell them to readers, not editors or chain buyers. It’s that simple.