Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Here comes a blockbuster 

If Joseph Finder's PARANOIA finds its way to the New York Times bestseller list, it will be the least surprising thing since THE DA VINCI CODE made it (the only shocker was how long it's lasted in the top spot.) Why? Because St. Martin's has been hyping the shit out of this book since May, when Book Expo America took place. See, that's the new new thing in publishing: first, get everyone in the house behind the book, from the head honchos to the squawky interns to the squealing publicists to those dudes in the mailroom. Next, rally the troops at the major trade show conferences where they will saturate the buyers and sales reps with galleys and promotional materials; then they in turn talk up the book to the big distributors, and both double-team the booksellers. Then the advance reviews come in from the likes of PW, Kirkus, and Booklist; even if their word is god, it doesn't matter. Once the bandwagon atmosphere has taken over, with booksellers talking amongst themselves and getting the word out to special customers, by the time the book's actually released into the public domain, those in the know are bloody sick of the whole thing and have moved on to something else. Even if said book goes gonzo on the major lists.

If you've written one of these manufactured blockbusters, congratulations to you. Just be prepared to be Maslin-ized and then some. Although in Finder's case, she finds the book to be OK in terms of brain candy, just pedestrian in terms of the writing.

And if you're at the same house as a Blockbuster Baby and not getting enough attention, well, boo hoo but that's how it's going of late. And I don't see things improving much in that regard.

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