Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sarah Palin, Library Journal, and Me

So Sarah Palin's book came out yesterday. Did you pick up your copy? If not, you can get one cheap. Amazon (where it's #1) is selling it for $14.50. So is Walmart. Since those two sellers account for a huge chunk of book sales in this country, chances are they'll move quite a few copies.

They'll have to if Palin is going to earn back the reported $5 to $7 million advance HarperCollins paid her. Just how many copies? Let's do the math. For the sake of argument, split that estimated advance down the middle and say she got $6 million. The best-case scenario for Palin is that she gets a 15% royalty on the book's list price of $28.99, meaning that for each copy sold she's credited approximately $4.35. At that rate she needs to sell 1,379,319 copies before her advance is earned back and she sees anything more.

She very well might. HarperCollins reportedly shipped 1.5 million copies of Going Rogue to booksellers. That's a huge number. Granted, Palin will have to sell nearly every single one of them if she wants to see any more payouts, but it's not impossible to imagine. There are a lot of Walmarts.

And I hope she does.

What? You're surprised? Why? I wish every author nothing but success and happiness. Palin worked really hard on her book, and she deserves the attention she's receiving.

Okay, that's not true. I have ulterior motives in wishing her success. Did I mention that Palin and I share a publisher? Well, we do. True, her book was published by the adult division and mine are published by the children's division, but we're all one big happy family. Why, I bet my editor could just pick up the phone and ask Sarah's editor if Palin would like to exchange autographed copies of our books and next thing you know Sarah and I would be chatting over steak and endless salad bar at Sizzler.

Or not. I doubt Palin would want to read my Harper books. She might like my upcoming zombie novel, Z. There are guns in that one. But my last one, Suicide Notes, is about a gay boy. Sarah's not a big fan of the gays. Neither is Lynn Vincent, the ghostwriter who actually penned Going Rogue. She really doesn't like us. In fact, she went so far as to compare us to Communists and declare that "the homosexual ethos depends on an abandonment of truth." I know, rude much?

There's a little bit of irony here. See, the success of Palin and Vincent's book is due largely to the work of Jonathan Burnham, the HarperCollins publisher who shepherded the project. Burnham is gay (calm down, it's not a secret), and enough people have pointed out the irony that it's hard to believe Palin is unaware of it. Then again, that would require reading a paper or something, so perhaps not. But you'd think someone would have mentioned it, maybe right after telling her about Levi Johnston's Playgirl shoot.

Anyway, Burnham has taken some heat from folks who think he shouldn't be dealing with the likes of Palin and Vincent. But I think they're missing the point, or at least not seeing the bigger picture. Think about it. Going Rogue is going to make a heap of money for HarperCollins. And that will make it possible for them to keep publishing writers like myself who don't bring in all that much for them.

So a big thank-you to Sarah and Lynn! And to all the people buying their book! Every time a Walmart checkout person scans another copy of Going Rogue and another $4.35 goes into Sarah's account, there's a little something going into HarperCollins's pocket as well. Eventually that little something gets passed on to me as a littler something and I get to write another book.

Yes, critics aren't being very kind to Sarah. And sure they've found one or two or a hundred factual errors in the book. But she was on Oprah, and that's something. Give the poor woman a break. And buy her book. Heaven knows I she could use the money.

One more thing. Jane Bites Back got another review. This one comes from Library Journal. And they love it. Check it out.
In this clever paranormal tale, YA author Ford has created warm, witty characters that will appeal to both Janeites and vampire fanciers. Literary humor and intriguing snippets from Jane's book are the icing on the cake. Two more books are promised in this series, so readers who fall under Jane's spell will be eagerly awaiting her next adventure.
I know, they call me a YA author. Which I am. I've written what, 30 novels for that audience? But it's not like this is my first novel for adults. It's my seventh. So it's kind of funny. And anyone who writes in different genres will tell you that this is one battle you'll never win. Reviewers of your YA novels will always say something like "Ford takes a break from his popular fantasy series about Jane Austen living as a modern-day vampire to try his hand at a story for younger readers," and reviewers of your adult novels will say something like "YA author Ford moves into grown-up territory with his latest."

Hey, as long as they like it, it's fine with me. (Cue Sally Field acceptance speech music.) And they do like it! They really like it!


ckaiserca said...

I can't even see the woman on television without going into apoplectic fits.

I imagine that her book would be quite good. . . as fuel for someone's wood stove.

Bear Me Out said...

So, you and Sarah, at Sizzler...
Is that too upscale? You're trying to trick her into something, right?