Thursday, November 16, 2006

The National Book Awards (or, This Ain't No Quills)

Once again, the National Book Awards have delivered up five nominees that have garnered weak sales on their own (except for one). Courtesy of Publishers Marketplace, the Bookscan data is as follows:

Mark Z. Danielewski, Only Revolutions 14,000 units (Amazon rank: 1,743)
Richard Powers, The Echo Maker 4,000 units (Amazon rank: 982)
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document 4,000 units (Amazon rank: 215,013)
Jess Walter, The Zero 3,000 units (Amazon rank: 25,449)
Ken Kalfus, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country 2,000 units (Amazon rank: 41,823)

I've reviewed (several) POD titles on this blog that have sold more than all of these, except for Danielewski's. Granted, some of these titles have only been released for a few weeks. Of course, the real benefit is now that the nominations have been made public, all of these will probably sell at least 50,000 units.

Also important to note is the Amazon rank of each (from a few hours ago), further indicating its unreliablility.


Also, check out
this article over at Independent Publisher (home of the IPPY awards) which touches on the recent issues within the commercial publishing industry. A snippet:

Granted, these days we also see books published by the major houses in which editorial assistance seems to be lacking and/or spelling and typographical errors occur. In other cases we see books published by the majors in which one must ask whether the cause of Literature might have been better served if they had saved the paper. Scan the stacks of remaindered books in the aisles of bookstores in any city, and especially those of the big box stores. Just as an MFA does not guarantee the quality of the writing, publication by a major publishing firm does not guarantee the quality of the writing or its success in the marketplace. Furthermore, the notion that a book published by a major firm guarantees the authenticity of its content is undermined by the claims of plagiarism and falsification made against some of their better-known authors.


And for all my whiney commercially published friends (like me), check out Jason Pinter's blog. His latest entry is about the books that did become successful after [lousy advances] and helped change the publishing landscape. Make sure to read the comments for more examples.

Want a chance to be one of the members of RiotLit? Well, here's your chance. Please, for the love of all that is holy, try to become a member of something meaningful in the publishing industry (aka not ReganBooks; the best part of OJ's book is that James Frey can finally get his life back).

And for all you Science Fiction authors who are looking for reviews . . .