September 13th, 2010

Nothing is stronger than word of mouth

NPR looked at one thing that hasn’t changed in book selling: the power of word of mouth. (The book in question is Room: A Novel, which I’m really looking forward to because a) all the buzz, b) her first book, Slammerkin, was excellent, and c) I’m really interested in stories about hostages and kidnappers, and she puts an unexpected slant on things.)
“Getting everyone within the company talking about the book is the first step in building the buzz.  The next step is spreading that excitement to the outside world.  So to market Room, Little Brown knew the best way to overcome any discomfort with the concept was to get people to read the whole book. Fain, the marketing director, said the publisher sent out some 6,000 advance copies of the novel — for some smaller novels, that's the number of books that get printed to go out into the marketplace total.

"We really, really have tried to make sure that every bookseller, librarian, blogger, reviewer — anyone who might possibly be interested in this book and interested in talking about it, has a copy already," Fain said.

The next step was BookExpo, the annual industry convention, when booksellers from all over the country converge on New York, and publishers compete to win their attention.  They woo booksellers with parties and events where authors turn out to mix and mingle.  Sara Nelson, book editor at Oprah's O magazine, said winning over booksellers is crucial.

"Even though they may be a tiny bookstore and they may only buy 10 copies of the book they've just heard discussed lovingly by the publisher — they talk to each other about it, and they get a galley and they lend the galley out and so on," Nelson said. "That's sort of where it starts."
Read and hear more here about the power of word of mouth.

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To Kindle or not to Kindle

Authors have all kinds of choices open to them nowadays. One is to put their books out there themselves. There are three times when authors might consider this:
- As a way of getting published for the first time
- As a way of reaching new readers with out-of-print books whose rights have reverted back to you
- As a way of publishing books that came “this close” with traditional houses.

Author CJ Lyons looks at the pros and cons of Kindling in a couple of great posts which you can read here and here.

I’ve put five of my previously published books on the Kindle. April's books on the Kindle

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Countdown to one-million with another giveaway: Learning to Fly

According to Statcounter, I'm just a few thousand clicks away from having one million page loads for my blog. To celebrate, I’m doing a bunch of giveaways. See them all here: .

Learning to Fly: A Novel was one of my best-selling novels. It went into four printings. It has been optioned a bunch of times for film. It sold super well in France in both hardcover and paperback. It was a Booksense pick, got starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, was a “Penzler Pick” for Amazon, was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal, and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.

About the book
The chaotic scene of a huge, fiery chain-reaction car accident leaves Free Meeker in the possession of someone else's bag and the hitchhiker she has just picked up dead. By the next morning, 19-year-old Free, daughter of aging hippies, has discovered that the bag contains nearly a million dollars—and that the hitchhiker's body has been identified as hers. Fate seems to be handing her the chance to make her life over. But when the owner of the drug money realizes it didn't burn up in the fire, things get complicated. And things only get worse when the hitchhiker's stalking husband decides that Free must be some do-gooder hiding his wife.

What the critics said
"The suspense becomes deliciously unbearable. With Learning to Fly, Henry soars straight into the big leagues." — Starred Review, Booklist

"Features a most interesting plot, told with easy grace, choice characterization and mounting tension."— Starred Review, Library Journal

"A sure-footed chase novel that starts with a bang and rarely slows down." — Seattle Times

"A high tension thriller [with] an endearing heroine." — Denver Post

"Compulsive reading. A classic tale of an innocent on the lam, Learning to Fly has the kind of plot that would have made Hitchcock smile in evil anticipation of its cinematic possibilities." — Penzler Pick,

"Fast paced and harrowing." — Book Page

"April Henry kicks into high gear ... [with this] endangered woman saga." — Kirkus

"April Henry's debut, Circles of Confusion, garnered a lot of attention. This book proves that she's a talent to watch, delivering solid characters, good plot, and a great sense of place." — Canada's Globe and Mail

"Learning to Fly soars with suspense." — South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Real-life inspiration
A huge multi-car accident in Oregon. I ordered all the accident reports. They were grim. One said something like, “Turn signal unit from Vehicle 17 is found in the back seat of Vehicle 14.”

What you can win
A signed, first-edition hardcover.

Leave a comment if you want in. You can enter as many of the drawings as you want. I'll be drawing names after I reach my one-millionth page load. If you are not on LiveJournal, then please leave me an email address or Facebook page or something or I'll have no way to contact you.

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