Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Much Ado About Pub Dates

Hey, and thanks so much to J. Kingston Pierce for letting me blog on The Rap Sheet today. I’m truly honored to be here.

Today happens to be the publication date of the mass-market paperback of my 2007 thriller, The Follower. I’m particularly excited, as this is my first mass-market-size book in the United States--my other paperbacks are available in trade editions. But as far as the pub date itself is concerned ... well, it’s pretty much like any other day, really.

Like New Year’s Eve and prom nights, pub dates have built-in expectations, and they rarely live up to the hype. The perception is that on pub dates, authors have big parties, and hang out with Bryant Gumbel, and are surrounded by mobs of adoring fans. But the fact is, most of the time, nothing much happens on the actual pub date. There are no red carpets or book parties catered by Nobu. Maybe when a new hardcover is released, an author will have a book party or store event on the pub date; but usually due to scheduling considerations these events don’t take place on the actual date of publication. Interviews with members of the press might be conducted on a pub date, but they probably won’t. In fact, books are generally released into stores a week or even two weeks before the official pub date, so the date of publication doesn’t even mark the first appearance of a book. By the time the pub date comes around, a book is already old hat (and some chains may have even have returned the copies they ordered).

But today I vow, Screw it: I’m going to live up to the expectations of my pub date. OK, so I won’t have a huge book party and that bottle of champagne from my agent won’t arrive, but I’ll drop by a few bookstores and “visit my books” (and turn them cover-out, of course). And then tonight I’ll go out to dinner at a nice restaurant and have a few glasses of wine. As authors, we should celebrate the publications of all of our books. Just because pub dates are usually anti-climactic, doesn’t mean we can’t go out and have a good time.

3 comments:

John Kenyon said...

Enjoy it, Jason! The Follower is worth the celebration. OK. Now that you've gotten that out of your system, what's next?

Michelle Gagnon said...

I don't know what you're talking about, Bryant and I always chill with a bottle of Cristal on my pub dates. And nothing from your agent? Shocking.
The Follower rocks, btw.

Jason Starr said...

Thank you both!!
You party with Bryant? Every writer probably does. I knew it, it's a conspiracy. Now I'm raging