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 Another skewed view - hope in the Baker & Taylor Catalog

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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Another skewed view - hope in the Baker & Taylor Catalog   Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:21 am

When I browse through "Forecast," the monthly Baker & Taylor catalog, my attention is first captured by the BIG BOOK offerings on the front and back covers and nearby pages.

Otherwise, as I look at the names and titles in each 120-page issue, my first thought is: WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE?

Many of them are the authors whose work becomes part of the several hundred thousand new titles issued each year. And I haven't heard of 99.99% of them, and that includes some of the authors featured as bestselling.

Looking at the stats for a couple of years ago when 291,000 new titles were released, I realize that even though it seems like all of those titles come from big name authors, corrupt politicans, brothel owners, and celebs with more muscles or cleavage than brains, when it comes down to it, most of each year's titles come people most of us have never heard of.

That gives me hope: if this many people can walk through the publishing labyrinth each year, then it's not quite as hard as, say, building a spaceship and flying to Mars.

On top of that, I see the plots and titles of SOME of the books, and think, OMG, how did an agent or publisher stop yawning long enough to read the manuscript? Some of these wouldn't even keep a guppy reading to the end of the first page.

Certainly, we can do better with the title and/or the plot.

All in all, when I look at "Forecast," and ponder the sheer numbers of people who have figured out how to make it, and that includes both the wonderful and the lame, then I believe we all can figure it out.

Malcolm
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Another skewed view - hope in the Baker & Taylor Catalog   Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:33 am

Known as "midlist" (I never figured out what the stuff BELOW midlist is called)

Yeah, it's amazing. All that weird stuff out there, but nobody wants to read our latest thing.

Much of it comes back to a concept that seems to find no favor around here: the crapshoot.
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Pam
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PostSubject: Re: Another skewed view - hope in the Baker & Taylor Catalog   Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:11 am

lin wrote:
Known as "midlist" (I never figured out what the stuff BELOW midlist is called)


I think that's the shredding pile there below midlist. Yup, I'm pretty sure.
lol!
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Another skewed view - hope in the Baker & Taylor Catalog   Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:37 am

Well, no, because that would shift the "midlist" to the bottom, wouldn't it?

If there is a middle to something, there must also be a bottom.

Maybe nobody wants to talk about it. :=)
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: Another skewed view - hope in the Baker & Taylor Catalog   Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:58 pm

Some midlist authors do well over a period of time. If they write nonfiction, perhaps it's about narrow or unusual subjects; if they write fiction, they may have a faithful group of followers. It can be a no-man's land for some, but I would rather be there than in the slush pile because the books are making enough money to keep them from being discontinued. And, naturally, most people haven't heard of a lot of the authors in this group.

Malcolm
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