Discover an Unknown

The e-book is good news for some. Big-name authors and novels that are considered commercial are increasingly in demand as e-book readers gravitate toward best sellers with big plots. Unlike traditional bookstores, where a browsing customer might discover an unknown book set out on a table, e-bookstores generally aren’t set up to allow readers to discover unknown authors, agents say. Brand-name authors with big marketing budgets behind them are having the greatest success thus far in the digital marketplace.

It’s a different story for debut fiction writers and those with less commercial potential, who might have print runs of 10,000 copies or less. [It’s] difficult to sell a debut novel about small-town life because many editors are no longer committing to new writers with the expectation that their story-telling skills will evolve with the second, third and fourth books. In the past, many literary authors were able to build careers because of such patience.

Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg

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