Times have changed, haven't they?
What constitutes a bestseller these days? The number of copies sold is still the criteria, but there is something else, or rather, there are things which don't "pal around with" good writing. Notoriety of the author or subject sells. Even negative publicity sells. Booksellers are still banking on brisk sales for Carrie Prejean's book Still Standing, but perhaps that's because people sometimes buy books for "camp" value. One truly funny "five star" review:
Although the writing in Miss Prejean's book caused me to throw up a little in my mouth, the spirit moves me to give it five stars. I know some might find that a little strange, but a book is more than simply words, sentences, and chapters; it's also cover art, spine glue, and the little blurbs the publisher commands its other authors to write. In sum, all these pieces must come together to make a book. If I love the smell of the book's spine glue, shouldn't I be allowed to reward the publisher with a few extra stars? I certainly think so.
Harper Collins' description of the book:
Certainly the making of a literary megastar! Not! Harper Collins may be trumpeting the pre-publishing sales, but in the end, it's the bookseller who knows what's happening to the book.
Going Rogue traces one ordinary citizen's extraordinary journey and imparts Palin's vision of a way forward for America and her unfailing hope in the greatest nation on earth.
At Amazon the list price of $28.99 has been marked down to --$9.oo! That's a 60% markdown! In other words, damn the pre-pub sales - let's remainder it before we get stuck with it!
A tongue-in-cheek five star review:
All I know is this means she wont be running for President in 2012...she will make so much money from her book deal that she can shop at Wal-Mart for 1,212 days spending $3,000 each day. This will take her way past electioneering season.
I've been in books and publishing long enough to know that a book ala Ann Coulter is only read because of who the author is trashing no matter whether it's truth or "fibrication." Of course, even Ann Coulter can lie more convincely than Sarah Palin, but that won't stop some people from determining the book as the gospel truth. And Going Rogue: An American Life will proudly rest in their bookcases along with the conspiracy theories of Pat Robertson (A New World Order) and My Pet Goat.
And yet another commenter put the relationship between writer and reader beautifully:
When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction. The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer, must give him something worthy of his gift to you.