RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir Then, Noir Now

From: hardcasecrime (editor@hardcasecrime.com)
Date: 29 Jun 2009

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    > I hope you don't mind me asking, and feel free not to
    > respond but do you have a particular blockbuster in
    > your stable that subsidises some of the slower sellers?
    > I'm thinking of The Colorado Kid but I might be way
    > off. I remember a writer of very literary, navel-gazing
    > (albeit amusing) books saying once at a reading how
    > he is indebted to Stephen king for giving his publishers
    > enough money to waste on his first two books. (He had
    > to find another publisher after they tanked.)

    Absolutely -- THE COLORADO KID singlehandedly sold roughly as many copies as all our other titles put together, and that did help subsidize our slower sellers for a while. But given that the book came out in 2005, the effect is pretty much over by now. If we could publish a book that successful once every few years, it could keep the line afloat forever.

    That was one of the points I was trying to make when I wrote "having a lot of titles that sell 4,000 copies and none that sell 40,000
    (forget about 400,000 or 4 million) is a good way to go out of business"
    -- if you do have the occasional title that sells 40,000 or 400,000 or 4 million, it can pay for a lot of titles that sell 4,000. This is why it's necessary for publishers to chase blockbusters, at least some fraction of the time.

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