Maybe all the publishing industry needs is focused and targeted support of new, untested authors by star scribes and bestselling veterans.(See: the time when David Sedaris surprised author Tim Johnston with an endorsement of his novel Irish Girl.)
Ever since Stephen Colbert recommended fellow Hachette author Edan Lepucki’s California (in response to bruising negotiations between Amazon and publisher Hachette Book Group), it has become “one of the most preordered debut titles in Hachette history”. The New York Times adds, “Little, Brown and Company, the Hachette division behind California, has increased the initial print order and doubled the length of her author tour.” (Wait, she got an author tour? :-))
The article is careful to add: “Even before the boost from Mr. Colbert, California was receiving praise from respected novelists like Jennifer Egan and Ben Fountain and popping up on summer reading lists. Little, Brown ultimately printed 60,000 hardcovers.”
Perhaps the most ironic (and awesome) detail of Lepucki’s story is that her husband works for Goodreads, which Amazon acquired last March. Seems the power doesn’t necessarily lie with any one retailer or publisher or prize. A reader’s decision to pick up a book comes down to what it always has — a powerful recommendation (or three).