Amanda Gorman’s books are topping best seller lists and they haven’t even been released yet

From CNN:

Amanda Gorman is fast becoming a household name after she delivered a powerful inauguration poem at the US Capitol on Wednesday, challenging Americans to unify and “leave behind a country better than the one we were left.”

And if her words to the country weren’t incredible enough, the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate has two books topping best seller lists — and they aren’t even expected to release until September 21.

. . . .

Gorman, 22, is the writer of “The Hill We Climb: Poems,” and “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem.” The titles are currently topping both Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s best sellers lists. The poem Gorman No. 1 on Amazon’s list.

. . . .

Born and raised in Los Angeles by a single-mother and sixth-grade English teacher, Gorman started writing poems when she was a child, but found performing terrifying due to a speech impediment.
She overcame that fear by drawing confidence from former President Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr., and practicing songs from the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

From celebrities to politicians, Gorman’s words resonated with many and praise on social media was not in short supply.

Link to the rest at CNN

For those outside of the United States, Ms. Gorman’s performance delivering her poem during the inauguration of the recently-elected president yesterday was a perfect antidote to Covid gloom and doom.

Sour English professors may make snide remarks about prosody in the faculty lounge, but the combination of the poem and Ms. Gorman’s presentation of it was wonderful, far better than any speech given by a politician yesterday.

Unfortunately, Ms. Gorman’s first books, published by Viking, are evidently stuck in Publisher Production Hell:

The Hill We Climb, her debut poetry collection (currently #1 bestseller in Books on Amazon US) and is scheduled to be released on September 21 (currently only in 80-page hardcover for $19.99).

A special 32-page quickie edition of her Inauguration poem, The Hill We Climb, (no Sales Rank when PG checked) is scheduled to be released on April 27 ($15.99 for a 32-page hardcover).

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, an illustrated children’s book (currently #1 bestseller in Children’s Poetry on Amazon US) is also scheduled to be released on September 21 in Kindle for $10.99 (no Look Inside available) and hardcover for $16.95. It is also 32 pages.

PG notes that, while the children’s book has an enjoyable cover, The Hill We Climb in both the published in September and the quickie 32-page version each have cheapo-looking covers that PG could have turned out with his mediocre artistic skills in about 10 minutes or less.

Perhaps, Viking is trying to speed up its creaking production process up just a tiny bit and has forgotten to notify the largest bookstore in the country, but any sentient organization, hearing that one of its authors would be featured on nationwide television event watched by a much larger than normal audience, would have whipped the peasants with extra vigor and had at least an ebook and POD edition available for sale before most people had put Ms. Gorman into the mental “Oh, I think I remember her” category of their Covid-impaired memories.

Big Publishing idiocy at its shining best.

11 thoughts on “Amanda Gorman’s books are topping best seller lists and they haven’t even been released yet”

  1. This is the drum Shatzkin has been beating lately. You have to be ready with POD for when a book suddenly gets the spotlight shone on it. Her moment is now. September is too late, “schedules” be dammed.

    I would also point out that the only reason the book is meeting with any success at all is because of Amazon pre-orders, and here I’ve been told that Amazon was _bad_ for books.

    • Okay, this didn’t post last night; fortunately I saved it. (The local internet provider went down for several hours.)
      Competition, apparently – and only started very recently (at least, they describe Ms. Gorman as the “inaugural” poet laureate).

      Regional winners get:

      All-expense paid trip to perform at the National Youth Poet Laureate Commencement during April 2021*
      *An artwork/poster featuring their likeness and poetry
      An All-expense paid writing retreat in the fall of 2021*

      Their site had nothing about whether there is any actual cash award (or a college scholarship as many other competitions have). Not having the interest – as I am not an “activist,” nor a poet, nor (dang it) anywhere near being a youth – I have not investigated what agreements an entrant must sign. But I would be willing to bet that none of the profits from these books will actually end up in the pockets of the poets.

      I also note – without making an absolute assumption about their goals – that they emphasize “activist” poets. Which may well turn off at least 80 million potential customers right from the get-go.

      Myself, I wouldn’t be whipping the peasants – I’d have them out chopping the pulp trees down and grinding the inks. These are actually #1 through #4 right now – but may very well set a record at Amazon for canceled pre-orders before they are shipped. For a normal new Administration, the honeymoon is just about over by April 21st, and long forgotten by September. Considering what they have managed to “accomplish” with barely a full day under their belts so far – I think the period will be quite a bit shorter.

      • Fair estimate.
        April is one of two times in the year when a fleet could safely cross the straits of Taiwan.
        It is also when the weather warms up enough to resume riot season. Because nothing will have changed by then nor will the Georgia vote geld been delivered.

        FWIW, I’m keeping track of the timetable for future use.
        (The orange dude had me worried for a while because I expected the populist dystopia to arrive from the left, not the right. Although in the end it wraps around to encompass both extremes.)

        • Oh, my. That had to be the shortest one on record – already -2, with barely two full working days.

          In a fair world, this would have absolutely no effect on Ms. Gorman, but I fear that it will. She is a decent poet (in my opinion – YMMV), and an excellent reader of same.

          • In today’s world you associate too closely with one camp or the other and you lose half the audience. Maybe more because you also lose the “pox ‘pon both houses” camp.

            One good outcome might be celebrities learning to keep the trp shut and stop contributing to the tribalization of public life. But I’m not holding my breath just yet.

  2. I’m absolutely with you about the last part. I was working in a bookstore, lo many centuries ago, on the day Elvis Presley died, and it seemed like the books about him were out within minutes – and that was before the super technology we have today.

    • I had a thought about that…

      You have a person who is already a celebrity. You know – for sure and certain – that they are going to have one last bit of massive public interest by dying (entirely unintentionally, but they can’t avoid it). You may have a book on hand that is mostly through the publishing mill. It’s a bit less trouble to rearrange schedules for this kind of thing.

      How much expectation and warning – if any – did Viking have that Ms. Gorman was going to be on national television at the inauguration? Even the planners may not have had much of a heads up; these events tend to be rather chaotic, especially when they involve political lobbying efforts to get exposure.

      Astronomers can plan years ahead to study a known variable star – but they scramble madly when an unanticipated supernova suddenly blazes forth.

      • How much expectation and warning – if any – did Viking have that Ms. Gorman was going to be on national television at the inauguration?

        See above. If the book was available via print on demand, then it wouldn’t matter. The problem here is that all media types need to be part of a “coordinated” release, that is crippled by paper.

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