SUBHEAD TEASER: "What's the big deal? Technically, you pre-order food. It hasn't been made," says a literary man of letters in Brooklyn over my shoulder as I was writing this informal oped. "[So] I see no problem pre-ordering recherche [unknown, obscure, unagented] authors to give them a chance."
For many writers today, of nonfiction and fiction, publishers and their PR units and marketing people expect them to be involved with the PR and promotion chores as well. It's not in the contract per se, but almost. They want authors to get on Twitter tweet news of their book and how to pre-order it, and the same with Facebook. And use a blog to tell everyone they can pre-order the book. And don't forget RSSing the blog. A newsletter, too. See? publishers have forgotten that authors became authors to sit alone and write ideas or stories.
"It used to be when a writer finished a book it would be a celebration. Now it’s when the PR and promotion work starts. It’s torture," says one writer I know.
''Reasons for this vary, typically publishers wish to ensure strong initial sales for a product, and the offered incentive is used to induce shoppers (who might otherwise want to wait for positive reviews or a specific shopping period like the holiday season) to commit to a purchase. Having paid for part or all of the purchase when placing the order, these consumers will usually complete the transaction shortly after the product's release, often on its first day in stores. Individual stores or retail chains may also offer bonuses for a popularly anticipated product, to ensure that the customer chooses to buy at that location, rather than from a competitor."
So dear reader and pre-ordering bookworm, caveat emptor. You are being used as part of a multi-level marketing ploy and PR gimmick. Am I right or am I wrong?
A literary person in NYC tells this blog via Twitter: "Technically, you pre-order food. It hasn't been made. I see no problem pre-ordering recherche [unknown, obscure, unagented] authors to give them a chance."
So how about the new and unknown recherche author with no big publisher or PR unit behind them? They get lost in the shuffle here, no?
SEE UPDATED VERSION HERE ON THIS OPED HERE: