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advertising and what not--with John Seargeant or Ken
McCormick I do this--we can hardly keep straight faces
because we all know the time-honored answers. I know what
they are going to say, and they know what I'm going to
answer. It's like a minuet. We go through this routine of
my grumbling about something and their giving me the precise
answer that I give my own authors. We usually end up by
going to get a couple of drinks together. But it's always fun.
How much do you think.... I mean there's always a big
debate on advertising of a book. Is there any set rule
that you have at Random House about how much...?
Our average that we figure is ten per cent of the
retail price of the book. If it's a five dollar book, you
should spend fifty cents per copy for advertising it. In
other words, if it sells 100,000, you'd spend fifty
thousand dollars. Of course, as the sale gets bigger and
bigger, that ratio goes down. You don't have to keep it up.
On a failure, the ratio is correspondingly higher. Ten
per cent of nothing....
Do you think that most publishers are the same way,
that they usually spend....?
That's a generous yardstick. I'd say that it's the
upper range. It's between seven and a half and twelve and
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