And what he found ain't good news. He shares his impressions of the retail scene (as it pertains to authors) and issues a challenge to authors to help with some additional research: A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: The Great Bookstore Experiment
Mr. Konrath also makes these remarks:
If you're a writer, ignorance isn't bliss. It's death. If a customer isn't directly seeking out your book--because they read a review, or had it recommended to them, or learned about it somehow--then the only chance you have of selling it is to a browser, and there aren't that many browsers. Seven paperbacks on the new release tower might have a shot at selling a few by chance. A single hardcover spine-out in the Mystery section has very little chance of selling by chance.Find details of his "Great Bookstores Experiment" at the above link.
You hear me preach about the importance of meeting booksellers, of self-promotion, of establishing brand and name recognition. Invariably, many writers will tell me that promotion is up to the publisher, that writers can't make a difference, that all they need to concentrate on is writing a good book.
My response is always the same: the bookstore is filled with good books that customers walk right past. If no one knows about your book, it is going to rot on the shelf no matter how good it it.