I love our sales reps. I truly do. They work really hard for us and are all so enthusiastic about books and indie bookstores and the publishing industry. Part of their job is to get their accounts excited about their company's upcoming titles, so we'll buy more copies and help them create buzz. Publishers love buzz. It might be their favorite word. Buzzzzzz. Buzz is the goal because it creates sales and can send a title into the pop culture stratosphere. The type of book your neighbor, mother-in-law, dental hygienist, and the random guy on the bus all tell you that you simply must read. Gone Girl started with buzz. So did The Girl with Dragon Tattoo. So did The Hunger Games (a very quiet little buzz that grew to a deafening decibel). Sometimes the books deserve the hype, sometimes they really don't. (I won't name names...frankly, it would take too long.)
When a sales rep presses a book into my hands and tells me to READ IT IMMEDIATELY, I honestly don't always take them up on it. Or I do and the book just doesn't grab me. But let me just tell you about a book that I was given by one of our lovely Random House reps 5 or so months ago. This book was Night Film and boy, was that lovely sales rep right. For once, I took the book home and started it immediately. It may have been the New York Times website screenshots with photos of the arrestingly beautiful girl floating around the the center of the story, Ashley Cordova, that started off the book. It may have been the goosebumps I got as I paged through the Time magazine website screenshots telling the story of Stanislas Cordova, the father of Ashley and the dark heart beating at the center of Night Film. It may have been the mythology of Cordova himself: a famed filmmaker whose movies have inspired madness and violence, and which have driven him into hiding on a huge, Gothic estate in upstate New York. Whatever it is, it grabbed me by the shirt collar and didn't let go for 600 pages or so. I loved it so much I gave my copy away to this guy (BTW I'm still waiting for my signed copy as thanks, Random House).
I think Night Film will be one of the big books of the fall, one of those books that grabs all different kinds of people, (you know, your neighbor, your mother-in-law, your dental hygienist, the random guy on the bus) and I hope it grabs you too. Careful, it might not let go.