Author and publisher Michael Korda on what is needed to make a book a bestseller.
While literary merit is all well and good, writers, booksellers and publishers are interested in sales. Book publishers Corgi describe the latest novel 'Worldly Goods' from author Michael Korda as,
A compelling novel of power, passion, greed and revenge.
As well as being an author Michael Korda is also editor and chief of one of New York's top publishers and understands the hype needed to make a book a bestseller. From nationwide advertising to author tours, anything to gain attention is good for sales.
To sell a novel like 'Worldly Goods', you've got to get out there and actually publicise and promote the book yourself. I think the person and the book become a package.
Michael Korda writes with a broad readership in mind in the hope that sales numbers will match this wide audience. For Korda, a combination of sales and literary acclaim would be ideal, but as a publisher, he would take sales over reviews any day of the week.
Book sales are the raison d'être of bookshops and volumes left on the shelves cost money. As such, bookshops appreciate any assistance the publishers offer to help sales.
Bookshop owners are only too pleased to join the marketing merry-go-round.
The need for sales may result in shops promoting books of popular appeal over literary merit.
Sally Mimnagh, a buyer for Eason's bookshop on O'Connell Street in Dublin, says there is a place for entertainment over literary merit. While sales are important, Sally feels that you can't really hype a very bad book to the public.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 22 November 1983.