This is more of a ramble than anything, but in reading Jason Pinter's post on comparing debut novels in various formats to what you eat on a first date (I'm paraphrasing, but the post is worth reading) and seeing JT Ellison refer to several upcoming authors as the "Class of 2007" got me thinking.
Because when it comes to debuts in the mystery/thriller world, 2007's newbies may have the highest profiles of any so-called "new class." Just off the top of my head: Pinter, Ellison, Brett Battles, Marcus Sakey, Robert Gregory Browne, Sean Chercover. It's a tiny proportion of the number of debuts that will actually be published next year, but that's still several more than I'm usually aware of anywhere from six months to a year in advance.
Will it translate into direct sales? Obviously, it's hard to know, but having that early profile is a plus in making readers dimly aware early enough so that they can pre-order books, buy them on sale, or have a general recognition of said names. So will this trend continue for future classes, 2008, 2009 and beyond? My feeling is yes - with less effort required.
Which isn't to say I'm advocating that all debut authors apply some sort of kitchen-sink mentality to getting their name out there. Because, simply put, they don't have to. Be smart, be selective, and be early, and chances are your probability of survival in this crazy business will increase that much more.