cowboy me, 2.0: jose nazario beauty and the street

book marketing

marketing a new book is a tough job. every year, something like 2 million boks get published (there was a flat period in the early 00's), yet sales are slowly dropping. competition sets in ...

sometimes a book will just sell. the author, the subject, the time is just right. or a good review will help bump it. even the best of books need some marketing saavy behind them, and sometimes it looks a little quirky.

case in point, the book freakonomics by steven levitt. dubbed a "rogue economist" on the cover of the book, levitt takes you through a bunch of seemingly disconnected trends and phenomenae as seen by an economist. it's good stuff, a bit fluffy at times, but overall a good read.

now, let's face it, economists often sound like boring people. let google mine the web to help us compare: 390,000 for exciting economist, about 15,600,000 for economist. only a fraction can be called exciting. so, the publisher has to spruce it up a bit, and he's dubbed a "rogue" economist. almost makes him sound as though he's barred from meeting other economists for his radical thoughts, kicked out of professional societies and meetings, and overall a man on the run, just trying to get the world to accept his vision.

when we wrote the openbsd book, we had to work pretty hard to get that quote from theo. a few favors were called in, and even then it had to be cut just right to work. we had to debate where we would be placed - normal UNIX books, open source UN*X books, security - and ultimately bridged a couple of categories. i went through less of this with the worms book, but in the post-release marketing you can bet the phrase "first book devoted solely to the worm problem" was used a lot. still is ...

all of this because authors need to sell books, and publishers need you to buy them, and that's the job of marketing. so, sometimes you wind up with stuff like "rogue economist" and stuff.

i don't know if or when i'll write another book, i simply lack the time right now to devote to it. it's a lot of work, and i don't want to make the same mistakes i made with the two other books i made. i want to do better, and that simply requires a commitment i don't think i can make right now. that's ok, it's still an achievement to have written and published two books (and a chapter in a third), but we'll see what the future brings. maybe i'll be a "rogue scientist" or something ...



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Last modified: Monday, Jul 04, 2005 @ 07:34pm
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