Friday, September 23, 2011

Social Class Book Publishing

Will Barratt

I am new to the book writing world and business, so every part of the process of writing, editing, and selling my new book has been fascinating to me.  While I believe that my topic is important and that the book should required reading in every diversity class, I also recognize that others don’t agree.  I suspect that people avoid the book the same way they avoid talking about social class.

I get the occasional positive email from colleagues and others who have read it and like it, but overall the response has been underwhelming.  Perhaps the book is like The Princess Bride.  The movie did not do well at the box office, but over 25 years has become a classic.  Perhaps not.

I have become very interested in the Amazon page for my book because it shows me my rank.  In July I ranked in the top 1,000,000, in late August I ranked in the top 200,000, and seem to have settled at around 400,000 to 500,000.  The August boom was for the fall semester of book orders. 

For me, the interesting part of the Amazon data is the section “Customers who bought this item also bought”  I can recognize many books required by my colleagues like Identity Development of Diverse Populations, and Multiculturalism on Campus.  It is the odd ones, the books I don’t recognize, that puzzle me.  Moral Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture puzzles me.  My response is to add another book to my reading list.

I started writing with a specific audience in mind.  John von Knorring , my publisher at Stylus who understands books, text, information, and media on a very deep level, suggested that I write the book for a larger audience.  He was right.  I had been reading on a wide level so why not write to a larger audience.  I had been consuming blogs like Social Class & Quakers by N. Jeanne Burns (, and Education and Class by Jane Van Galen (, so why not write to a larger audience.  I had been reading books like Tearing Down the Gates (Peter Sacks), Higher Education and Social Class (Louise Archer, Merryn Hutchings and Alistair Ross), and The Psychology of Social Class (Michael Argyle), so why not write to a larger audience.

The question of course is how large the audience is.  Is there no audience for topics on social class or is it that people don’t want to confront social class in the US?  Those writing on social class comprise a small group, especially exploring social class as a personal characteristic rather than an economic or sociological trend.  Those reading about social class also seem to comprise a small group.  Apathy, satisfaction, and intentional disinterest all have the same behavioral consequence.  Is it that people read about ethnicity and gender because they don’t want to read about social class?

My publisher tells me that if you are a faculty member that you can get an exam copy if you are thinking about adding the book to your reading list for a class.
If you want to buy a copy after reading some of my blogs, then you can get a 20% discount using the code WBBLOG at the checkout:

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