Monday, September 20, 2010

Who Needs A Book Tour When There's Costco

Marketing departments in publishing houses rely on the book tour to promote a book. The author goes from city to city, gives interviews, sits in book stores and signs books, and the book sells.

Not necessarily the case in the modern era of the big box wholesale discount megastore.

Debut author Shilpi Somaya Gowda is tracking at Number Two on the Canadian publishing charts and HarperCollins is a bit stunned.

The author resides in California, where the book isn't to be found in every book store. A novel about a California couple (who would have guessed) adopting a baby girl in India (write what you know!), sales were in the mid-list range until the book buyer at Canada Costco thought it would be a good fit for the discounter.

The book took off.

HarperCollins marketers, being a savvy bunch, pushed the fact that Ms. Gowda was a native of Toronto, giving it the Canadian angle. With that, they published the Canadian version as a trade paperback, which costs less, and pushed the author's connection to the Great White North.

Odd for Costco to sell a book that isn't already a best-seller, which makes you think that the the buyer got caught up in the Canadian author business and might have some connections to India that sparked his or her interest in the novel.

A touch of marketing and a drop of chance brought success to Ms. Gowda. The Secret Daughter is moving quickly, and sales are expected to continue to climb as copies are sold to holiday shoppers buying prezzies for their reading friends.

Those in the know say that the plot of the novel follows along themes popular with Canadians, dealing with family conflicts across multiple generations with immigrants in the mix. Will it play well in the States, given a little more publicity?

Considering the fact that HarperCollins is on the fourteenth printing, you'd have to say they've turned a profit and could afford to budget a few dollars for promotion in the States.

There's a second novel in the works. Don't be surprised if Shilpi Somaya Gowda appears on morning television shows to plug it. She's a proven commodity for HarperCollins, and that's what they want when they take a chance on a debut author.

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