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Sep 7, 2010

Tours, Publicity Budgets and Advances - A List

Meanwhile, back in the world of Big Publishing, "big" is a relative term. Here on this blog, I've been highlighting small presses, but remember, no one's got a sure ticket to selling a blockbuster. A huge PR budget, book tour, big publisher doesn't guarantee it. Anyway, a lot of these are from big presses, and some are from medium and small publishers.

Here's what Publisher's Weekly calls "sleepers" -- books that someone, somewhere is apparently hoping will win a Pulitzer Prize. *cough* out of my league *cough* This list is interesting because it gives how many cities are in the tour, the number of books run in the first printing, the prestigious places the author will be reviewed or interviewed.

West of Here, Jonathan Evison, Algonquin
50,000 first printing
15-city tour; trade show appearances at six regionals;
4,000 galley printing; 500 deluxe edition boxed galleys;
one of six books selected for the Editors Buzz panel at BEA

Life with Maxie, Diane Rehm, Gibbs Smith
Author tour;
$50,000 advertising;
co-op; interviews on NPR and affiliates

The Instructions, Adam Levin, McSweeney's (dist. by PGW)
8,000 first printing
14-city tour; three covers in different colors; excerpt mailing
1,026-page debut novel

The Report, Jessica Francis Kane, Graywolf (dist. by FSG)
12,000 first printing
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection;
10-city tour; satellite radio tour;
special promotion with

Safe from the Sea, Peter Geye, Unbridled
10,000 first printing

Quiet as They Come, Angie Chau, Ig Publishing (dist. by Consortium)
paperback original;
7,000 first printing
9-city tour

A Fistful of Rice
Vikram Akula, Harvard Business Press
25,000 first printing
Author tour,
Named one of the world's most influential people by Time magazine in 2006

Sleep in Me, Jon Pineda, Univ. of Nebraska Press
5,000 first printing
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection;
regional tour in Norfolk, Va.

Extraordinary Renditions, Andrew Ervin, Coffee House Press (dist. by Consortium)
$14.95 paperback original;
7,000 first printing
3-city tour;
more than 1,000 galleys

Richard Yates, Tao Lin, Melville House (dist. by Random House)
50,000 first printing
14-city tour; excerpt on Gawker

The Eden Hunter, Skip Horack, Counterpoint (dist. by PGW)
17,000 first printing
September Indie Next pick;
5-city tour;
Hudson News and Baker & Taylor promotions;
1,500 galleys

Extra Indians, Eric Gansworth, Milkweed (dist. by PGW)
5,000 first printing
Regional tour supported by a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant

Zone, Mathias Énard, trans. from the French by Charlotte Mandell, Open Letter (dist. by Longleaf Services)
$16.95 paper
U.S. tour in the spring
This 517-page novel, winner of the Prix du Livre Inter and the Prix Decembre, has an unusual conceit; it's told in a single sentence. Author and translator Christophe Claro acclaims it as "the novel of the decade, if not the century." [Srlsy? It's pretty early in the century to tell, isn't it? And you haven't seen my 1,000 word novel written all as one word.]

Hiroshima in the Morning, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, Feminist Press at CUNY (dist. by Consortium)
4,500 first printing
8-city tour

A Novel Bookstore
Laurence Cossé, trans. by Alison Anderson
Europa (dist. by Penguin)
$15 paperback
Winner of a Prix Drouot

The Wilding
Benjamin Percy
Graywolf (dist. by FSG)
$23; 12,000 first printing
10-city tour, including PNBA Author Feast

John Reimringer
Milkweed (dist. by PGW)
Sept., $25; 10,000 first printing

The Still Point
Amy Sackville
Counterpoint (dist. by PGW)
Jan., $25; 8,000 first printing
Longlisted for the Orange Prize

Patricia Engel
Black Cat (dist. by PGW)
9,000 first printing
East Coast tour, including an appearance at SIBA

Habit of a Foreign Sky
Xu Xi
Haven Books Publishing (dist. by NBN)
World launch with appearances in Iowa City, Iowa; New York; Singapore; Hong Kong; Beijing; and the Philippines.

Jealous yet? Just remember. If someone did a print run of 50,000 of your books, and you only sold 49,000, you will be considered a failure. Whereas if they only printed 10,000 of your books but you sold 20,000, you'd be a success.

Therefore, all I have to do is sell 10 of my books before I've printed any, and I too will be a success! Sign up in the comments section if you're interested. ;)


C. N. Nevets said...

Count me in. I'm game for any sort of bait-and-switch scheme.

scott g.f.bailey said...

"If someone did a print run of 50,000 of your books, and you only sold 49,000, you will be considered a failure." isn't precisely true. Publishers can make money on books that don't earn out. Don't let anyone tell you differently. The financing is built around an assumption that it won't earn out anyway. The advance is, on most books, one of the smaller costs of going to print anyway. If you sold 49K on a 50K print run, you'd be a success because the book would be not only very popular (49K is big sales, especially for lit fic), it would have turned a healthy profit for the publisher.

Tara Maya said...

LOL, thanks, Nevets.

Scott, thanks for the info. That makes sense. I have heard these horror stories of writers who sell quite a few book, but underperform expectations, so are still dropped by publishers -- especially new writers. And also there seems to be the expectation that each book MUST sell better than the one before, or booksellers checking your sales on their computers won't order that author again. This would be a distribution issue the publishers have to take in to account.

scott g.f.bailey said...

There's some truth to the booksales/book buyers stuff. Though if book 1 sells 25,000 copies and book 2 sells only 10,000 copies, they'll likely still stock book 3, just at smaller numbers. If book 2 sold only 1,000 copies, it's a different story. Unless the book rep really loves and pushes book 3, or the book buyer is a fan of the author, etc. Really, nobody knows how the industry works. Because there isn't, as far as I can tell, any single way anything is done in publishing. Mighty Reader works in non-fiction publishing, and it's a whole different world than fiction. Still insane, but insane in a wholly different way.

Jai Joshi said...

Those numbers are very interesting.

I've always felt that the way the publishing industry is run makes no sense.


Michelle D. Argyle said...

This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing these numbers. Needless to say, this scares me very much. I can't imagine that many copies of my book floating around. That aside, this does make me excited to try a small publisher.