Here, Tayari Jones writes about her publicity tour for her second book. What I found interesting was what a difference the marketing slant can have on a book’s success.

Anyhow, she writes:

My publisher, Warner Books, sponsored the dinner where they would be featuring one of their new writers: the author of a magnificent work of art called Redneck Nation.

What I found so… deflating, I guess would be the closest word, about this, is that I think when we (writers) imagine a publisher finally saying “Yes, we want to publish you!” we also imagine that this “yes” means they “get” you. They think your writing is cool, they’re on the same wavelength, etc. etc.

Which… really that’s silly, of course. They’re not picking your book because they think it’s the most brilliant piece of prose ever written, they’re picking it because they think it will sell. Which means their catalog will contain works of varying degrees of quality and competing philosophies. I’m a pragmatist. But still, it must be bizarre for a publicist to be promoting one book with the message “X” and then turn around the next day and promote a book with the message “not-X”. I guess this is why I’m not in marketing.


Anyhow, I liked Tayari’s writing there so, as you do, I clicked on the link to her own website, saw “blog” at the top there, and started reading.

I haven’t been doing much gushing or eking lately. *sigh* Well, I did write an AB article, but that’s not what I mean. I can’t say that I haven’t had time to write creatively this past month; I just haven’t been able to
focus. At least part of the problem is that writing query/cover letters is sucking my brain dry. Bleh.