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Suddenly... an unsuspected literary success

Personalized promotion, random and a little help from critics, social networks and booksellers. This is how publishers can convert quality works into sales phenomena

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Suddenly... an unsuspected literary success

There was a time, says Julián Rodríguez, editor of peripheral and of successes like you are not like or mors, of Angelika Schrobsdorff, and itinerant bookshop, of Christopher Morley, in which purchase of books was a purchase by impulse. He is talking about years before crisis, when figure of prescriber had disappeared. And when he talks about prescriber he refers to bookseller, but also to editor, first passionate about book that has just come to bookstores. But, based on fact that every publisher publishes books that it considers indispensable, why do only some end up crossing barrier and become a success, in many cases, entirely unexpected? Unexpected because y are part of a ship, publisher in question, in which ors travel that, like him, expect to be rescued by as many readers as possible, and sometimes do not. What is hidden behind those books that, unexpectedly, do work? Sometimes it's just a letter, or a handful of m. Letters like se days Rodriguez writes. To be able to cross your fingers, you have to bet first.

"If we knew how it works, we wouldn't be here, we'd be on a nice yacht in Bahamas," says Enrique Redel, editor of Impedimenta. Although Jan Martí, from Blackie Books, says that, in part, you know. "You notice a special feeling with books that work. You know something's going to happen. Sometimes it doesn't happen, but sometimes it does. What never happens is that a book that you do not feel that something special, works, "he says. Jan noticed that feeling with first book of James Rhodes, and with first horse of Battle of his seal: things that grandchildren should know, of Mark Oliver Everett, leader and brain of Eels, which was never a super sales as musician in Spain , but I do as a writer. Jorge Herralde, a veteran anagram editor, remembers a specific case that suggests that behind that special feeling re are, in many cases, a coincidence. "Our most sounded case was Bella from Mr. Albert Cohen. The book had been published in France in May 68, and despite this, it had managed to succeed. A long time later, in 1987, we published it. I remember Gimferrer said it was kind of book that only people like us could like. We published it with fear, because it had almost 800 pages and it was from an author who could not travel because he was almost 100 years old. He wanted chance to leave just before Madrid fair, and that Rafael Conte, n critical star of this newspaper, dedicated a page to full, saying it was one of great novels of century. I was with Lali, my wife, at fair, and we couldn't believe. All of a sudden, everybody wanted to read it, "he says.

That became Bella of Lord in, says, "a perennial classic" which, by way, has just been reissued, for 50 anniversary, in collection anor twist, with epilogue of Sara Mesa. In his case, unexpected success was result of chance, but sometimes it is hard work. Julián Rodríguez assures that his greatest successes, including Liars ' Club, by Mary Karr, in co-publishing with Typo Naturae, have been worked from below. "We present it in bookstores in a close and insistent way," he says. And how do you do that? "We visited 100 bookstores throughout peninsula. We rented a car and traveled with local distributor in each of provinces to present book, two months before launch, "he replies. At time, you are not like or mors was also one of books stars of Year and itinerant bookstore have sold more than 20,000 copies only in Spain. "The prescriber has become an indispensable element today," Rodríguez said. And who is prescriber? "The literary Supplement, Social network, and Bookseller," he replies.

Enlarge photo Angelika Schrobsdorff. R. Schulten Getty ImagesEl prescriber work

The case of Redel and Stella Gibbons, of more than 30,000 copies that were sold before a single review came out, is anor good example of old work of editorial prescriber. An ear mouth that starts editor itself. "In case of Robert Poste's daughter, what happened is that I fell in love with book, and I was dying to have everyone fall in love with him. I recommended it almost bookseller to bookseller, I esmeré very much to communicate what I was passionate about. I said, ' This book is going to tell you something y haven't told you yet. ' And it worked. If you sell something honestly, something that is really good, with passion and energy needed, reader will believe you, "he says. As Jan Martí, Redel believes that re is something, "a series of intangibles", which tells you that book is "very good". The same thing happened to Penelope Fitzgerald's bookstore, and Mircea Cartarescu.

Maria Fasce noticed it when she read Lucia Berlin. That could be something big, and it was. These days, Rodriguez sends to newsrooms throughout Spain life in peacetime, of Francesco Pecoraro, most ambitious project of his publisher to date. In some cases it includes one of mentioned handwritten letters, a letter asking journalist to pay special attention to him because it is something big. Yes, in times of social networking, publishers still write letters. And y cross ir fingers to make m work.

Tips and recipes to sell

The conventional circulation of a consolidated editorial is usually between 3,000 and 5,000 copies of a title that is not signed by a bestselling author. When a book exceeds 10,000 "something is happening" and can become an editorial phenomenon, explains Ana Grijalbo, editor of company.

Bella del Señor, by Albert Cohen, was published in Spanish by anagram in 1987. After a eulogy critic of Rafael Conte in country his sales were shot to 100,000 copies. It's just been reedited.

Instrumental, by James Rhodes, has sold more than 100,000 copies. His editor in Spain, Jan Martí, of Blackie Books, wrote personal letters to recommend his reading.

daughter of Robert Poste, of Stella Gibbons, has reached 30,000 specimens. The editor of Impedimenta, Enrique Redel, came to advise this comic novel bookseller to bookseller.

Christopher Morley's itinerant bookstore , published by peripheral, has exceeded 20,000 copies.


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