Sarah has an interesting post about mass market paperback ghettoization. She writes:
But sometimes, it makes sense for a writer to be published in mass market PBO. Especially if they haven’t been heard from in some time. After the jump, I’ll talk of two writers being re-introduced using a marketing strategy that’s worked well in romance and might prove useful for mysteries as well.
She points to Paul Levine and John Ramsey Miller, among many others, as examples. And while Sarah’s dealing specifically with mysteries, I should point out that if it’s an author’s intention of being read, the mass market paperback route might yield better results than a hardcover or even a TPB — assuming, of course, that a regular audience picking up a book at an airport is the audience. Which begs the question: Is it viable for a literary title (say, a midlister) to be released in mass market paperback format? Might today’s publishers be losing a younger audience by not releasing their hot literary titles in MMP?
Beyond this, the most immediate example of an author using the MMP route that comes to mind is Gregory McDonald, whose Fletch books were released solely in paperback and drew an audience this way. (And in an entirely unrelated note, McDonald used the series format to jump around in sequence. The limitations of Fletch, for example, being in Rio with $3 million forced him to think creatively about Fletch’s aftermath.)