Will It Play in Peoria? Every Publisher Can Take a Pulse

February 2009
by David Ash

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Will It Play in Peoria? Every Publisher Can Take a Pulse

by David Ash

Groucho Marx made the phrase popular in the movie A Night at the Opera, but everyone watching vaudeville knew what it meant when someone asked, “Will it play in Peoria?” If a new show was successful in that Illinois city, a demographic microcosm of Midwestern values, then the show could gain mainstream acceptance in the rest of the country. Many performers before and since have cut their teeth in Peoria to find out.

As both a publisher and an author, I have to listen to the customer. If my friends and family think my work is great, that’s nice to hear, but fairly insignificant. What a wider group of prospective readers thinks matters more. And there are some things every publisher can do to improve the odds of seeing whether a book will fly after launch.

How It Works with My Haiku

I write and publish a series of humorous haiku gift books. Each of the 100 17-syllable pages per book is a chance to elicit a chuckle or bomb miserably.

The writer in me thinks I’m hilarious. But the publisher in me remembers something my college choir director said once to other choristers: “You know, one in ten of David’s jokes is incredibly funny. You can…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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