There’s an old adage that bestsellers are chosen rather than made, and there’s some truth to that. The amount a publisher splurges on the advance has to be recouped before the book turns a profit. The more money that has to be recouped, the greater the marketing budget.
Sleeper hits are the exception for a reason. It’s a lot easier to hit the bestseller lists when you are on the front table of every single Barnes & Noble than if you are spine-out at the back of a handful of stores (or gathering dust in the warehouse).
It often comes as a surprise to those outside publishing that these bookstore spots are bought and sold, that whether a book is face-out or spine-out (or on the front table) is something that tends to be agreed in the contract between the publisher and the retailer. But when you explain how valuable this…
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