RE: RARA-AVIS: Ellroy - SALON and marketing: Benz after all

From: Todd Mason (
Date: 14 Jun 2001

It's the inconsistency that can be particularly annoying. When I worked at a Goliath BookPulper, that chain considered Stephen King and Dean Koontz horror but Anne Rice and Jonathan Carroll fiction, Louis L'Amour and Elmer Kelton western but Walter Clark and Larry McMurtry fiction, Ian Fleming mystery but Tom Clancy fiction or war fiction, depending on the month. And Diana Gabaldon was definitely still romance along with Nora Roberts, while Danielle Steel and a few others were fiction. It bespoke of at least as much ignorance, confusion, and second-guessing the customer's ignorance and/or snobbery as the corporation's marketing snobbery, but the latter snobbery was there...the presumption that the shelves that held Harold Robbins were inherently better than the shelves that held Hammett or Fritz Leiber or Georgette Heyer always left me breathless as well. TM

-----Original Message----- From: Philip Benz [mailto:]

Mark Sullivan wrote:
> All he did was
> exaggerate everything he was already doing [...] So how is it no
> longer crime fiction? Just because
> bookstores changed what shelf he was on?

I'm convinced this is primarily a marketing and perception thing. Take Diana Gabaldon. She wrote this series of 1000+ page historical/romance/time travel novels. Although the first one,
_Outlander_, started out on the romance shelves, very quickly she was able to move into the fiction section, with the help of her editor and agent.

I'm also convinced that Ellroy's attitude is a marketing ploy. Seems to be working quite well for him too.

Jess said:
> Ellroy doesn't control how AMERICAN TABLOID is categorized. The "big
> bookstores" (and libraries) do.

I think you'll find that authors, agents, publishers and their marketing plan have something to do with it. High sales figures can do wonders.

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