I’ve been following Karp’s successes at Twelve since its inception five years ago. (See my previous entry: Are Profits in Publishing Still Possible?) Founded on the premise that it would only publish one book a month and therefore concentrate its full efforts on promoting and marketing each title, Twelve has scored some hits during Karp’s tenure. From what I understand, Rosenthal was striking out lately.
I was interested in Karp because the publisher I was working for at the time seemed to take the opposite approach to publishing—put out as many books as possible and hope that a best seller springs magically from the heap. For authors waiting in our slush pile, it didn’t necessarily seem like bad approach. The more books we published, the better chance they had of getting published.
But when a publisher doesn’t give each book it produces the marketing attention it needs, authors quickly realize that a book contract doesn’t necessarily equate to large royalty checks and long lines at book signings.
So why did S&S go with Karp? Have they gotten the message? Will they trim their list (Rosenthal left with 100 books on his plate)? Will they give their authors more TLC? Or did they just hire Karp to swallow up a competitor?
We’ll see. But this wasn’t first shakeup in the publishing industry of late, and it’s far from the last. Writers (and editors) can only hope that the powers that be at these large companies realize that business as usual is no longer possible. Before it’s too late.