Thursday, December 02, 2010

Marketing Getting It one reader at a time

A few minutes ago I ran into a senior (emeritus) NYU colleague in the faculty library, and he asked me how Getting It (although he didn't know it by name) is doing.

A few hundred copies sold and some on-line or local newspaper reviews, I said.

Ah, he replied, that's better than 33,000 of the 35,000 books published each year (numbers that he knew as of a few years back for family reasons), which get no reviews and sell next to no copies. Compared to the norm, you've had a huge success.

True enough, I agreed, but apart from my admitted bias in favor of its merit, I also think it has a real commercial niche that it's had difficulty penetrating as fully as I'd like. [OK, this is admittedly not a transcript - I was talking more colloquially and am now translating it into more of a written style.]

He asked me to explain, apparently knowing only that I had published a novel but not being familiar with its style or content. I said it's basically a Wodehousean satire (but nastier, a la Waugh) set in a law firm where associates are competing for a partnership slot.

Wodehouse? he replied. You've just said the magic word. So apparently he now plans to buy it.

There's just one problem, from the standpoint of very short term authorial vanity. He is not the on-line purchaser type. So he will order it through a local university-affiliated bookstore, rather than buying it from Amazon (which would have given me a modest two-or-three day ratings spike).

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