You Can Lead a Horse to Water…

…but you can’t make him drink. I was just reading agent and writer, Nathan Bransford’s blog, and he makes an interesting and often widely overlooked point. No one person, publisher, or business can turn any book into a blockbuster success. No one in this industry has the power to turn any book into a bestseller. Yes, publishing houses can make business deals with bookstores and have their “BIG” books placed in prime, front-of-store, realty. They can have cut-out, life size displays and ads in every paper and magazine from here to Timbuktu. But if the book doesn’t build the ever elusive “word of mouth” or “buzz” that we so frequently hear about, it is not going to move off those carefully picked shelves. And what builds that buzz? Strong, compelling, well-written work that connects with readers. Because guess what? Readers talk! As Bransford says, “Lots of books get marketing dollars. Not all books become TWILIGHT or THE DA VINCI CODE or THE HELP or HARRY POTTER.” What Bransford doesn’t mention in his piece is that sometimes great books don’t get any help out of the gate and the author has a long, hard road of spreading the word about a book they believe in. It took years before Jenna Blum‘s THOSE WHO SAVE US to get the recognition it deserved. It wasn’t until it was out in paperback, years after its initial launch, that it made it onto The New York Times Bestseller List. This is why publicity is so important in the world of publishing. It can’t make a bad book a bestseller, but it can help an overlooked book rise up and shine.


“Whatever big events have recently occurred, sure enough, I’ll see projects that are trying to capture that lightning in a book.”

-Agent Nathan Bransford on the trends he sees in queries.

Bransford wrote last year about a wave of chick lit with heavy protagonists. Sure enough, fast forward one year and that is exactly what we are seeing on the bookshelves.

From the article:

In this brave new ‘chick lit’ world, women realize that weight loss and dieting isn’t the way to happiness. If these new heroines lose weight in the books, they do so incidentally, as a result of finding genuine happiness and fulfillment in more substantial areas of their lives.

The ultimate fantasy for most women today is simply accepting themselves, whatever their body weight.