Home » Bestsellers, Big Publishing » In 2017, publishing really needs a blockbuster

In 2017, publishing really needs a blockbuster

30 December 2016

From The Los Angeles Times:

This year, publishing needs a hit.

Not that 2016 was bad; it was fine. Books sales basically held steady — down a little here, up some there — for the most recent period for which we have numbers, from January to July. Although the Assn. of American Publishers wants to crow about the fact that books for children and teens were up quite a bit, overall, trade books sales were down 0.4% in 2016 from the same period in 2015.

Which isn’t terrible. But it isn’t good, or at least, not good enough.

What publishing needs is one book, one big book, that comes out of nowhere and takes America by storm. You know what I mean: You hear people talking about it in line at the grocery store. Your grandmother asks if you’ve read it and the same day your college roommate does. It’s the book you see people reading on subways and on planes, that you hear about on the radio and on TV talk shows, that seems to be everywhere at once.

. . . .

In 2015, that book was “The Girl on the Train.” In 2012, it was “Gone Girl.” Before that came “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” (2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively).

Girls, girls, girls!

. . . .

The piling on once a book gets mega-successful may be dismaying from a creative standpoint, but from a business perspective it makes sense: The big hits are impossible to predict.

Link to the rest at The Los Angeles Times

Bestsellers, Big Publishing

20 Comments to “In 2017, publishing really needs a blockbuster”

  1. X-rated adult coloring books! OH, and some new colors from Crayola for the win! 😉


    And what publishers fear most is another man on Mars book that’s a best seller from the indie side …

  2. “The big hits are impossible to predict.”
    Right out there for all to see- a business that depends on throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall and hoping something will stick. Their profits are based on huge gambles, because they don’t know how to do their business well. And if they have a dry year or two, they’re totally screwed. Wonder how those long-term contracted writers will do when the company closes.

  3. If only we could just make a book be a bestseller! Think how great business will be. Let’s look through the slush pile — I mean, the indie authors on Amazon — and anoint someone. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    If one’s business model rests solely on having a “blockbuster” hit, then perhaps some reorganization is in order.

  4. How about an autobiography?

    “The Girl Who Wrote A Bestseller” – by bestselling novelist _____

  5. Dangerous by Milo Yiannopolis. It was released for preorder on Wed. and was #2 in all of Amazon by yesterday.

    • How many are buying to read and how many buying to trash/incinerate/take photos and post on Internet of destroying unread book? And does the author care? (In Milo’s case, probably not.)

      • Heh. What was that line? Fighting Milo with outrage is like fighting a dog by throwing bacon at it.

        • Lol. He’s my fav troll. Makes Coulter look like an amateur. So theatrical!

          If you think of yourself as valuing argument and free speech Milo will test you. If you think you have this left/right political divide all figured out, Milo will test you.

  6. The indie big book that takes the world by storm may already be written – but it won’t exhibit the behavior that a pushed novel from the big publishers will have.

    It will have a long tail, build slowly, then be dissed by every major award available for books BECAUSE it picks up speed slowly, because it will go big in a later year, NOT the year it is published.

    Especially if the author refuses to do all the work and then let trad pub take over and take credit.

    Or the books will have to be judged purely on merit – and the big houses won’t know WHICH of their books have actual merit, to send them to the awards committees.

    Some indie awards already take this into consideration, by allowing books from, say, three consecutive years to be eligible for this year’s award.

    There is more disruption ahead.

  7. I’ll get right on it.

    • You’re too late for 2017 if that’s for trad-pub, there’s that 12-24 month lead time — remember?

      Now if this is for an indie best seller you’ve got plenty of time. 😉

  8. I’ll just keep writing, keep my editor busy, and keep hoping for a win! Even without it, I simply love writing too much to stop. So many stories…

  9. Oh I’m sure that if Trad pub don’t get a best seller in 2017, they’ll make one
    Probably by threading together A handful of disparate pages, getting an unknown writer to fill in the rest And slamming the name of some long dead But incredibly famous author on to the cover.

    • Heh, and that would be their swan song once people got burned buying it. Heck a lot of people are going to look twice after that HP ‘script’ thingy.

  10. They keep conflating the Manhattan Mafia with “publishing”.
    Publishing is a process and a distribution method; both are doing fine.
    And, except for Hachette, most of the BPHs are still finding ways to meet their financial targets without lottery-winner “blockbusters”.

    Either way: no, “publishing” doesn’t need a blockbuster, real or manufactured. If anything, the process of publishing will do better if the BPHs *don’t* get their desired flagship release.

    They might run out of magic bullets and tricks and have to resort to (gasp!) marketing! Maybe even promoting midlisters!

    (Yeah, I know: Obese opportunity.)

  11. The Last Valentine releases on Valentine’s Day (iTunes, B&N, Kobo) and on February 13th on Amazon Kindle.

    Let’s help make THAT novel become a sleeper hit! 😉

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