July 9th, 2010

“The Girl Who’s Paying Our Salaries for the Next Few Months”

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is supposed to the THE hot book of the summer, according to Entertainment Weekly and a bazillion fans. And the New York Times says, “ Independent booksellers, giddy over the bump in sales, said that many customers in their stores are just learning about the Millennium series for the first time. At Powell’s in Portland, Mr. Larsson’s books are selling so quickly — at least 1,500 a week — that the store’s grateful employees have given them a nickname. “We call them ‘The Girl Who’s Paying Our Salaries for the Next Few Months,’ ” said Gerry Donaghy, the new-book purchasing supervisor.”

I was one of the few who did not love The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Vintage). Here’s what I said about it, and author Lee Goldberg, among others, also weighed in. Clearly, we were nearly alone in our thoughts. I wonder if that had to with us both being writers and perhaps more picky?

Bottom line, though, I’m just glad that people are excited about reading.

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What one writer - published after 19 years of trying - learned

Brando Skyhorse is the author of the new book The Madonnas of Echo Park: A Novel [which is getting some sweet, sweet reviews] spent 19 years getting published.

In an essay for Powells, he talked about what he learned in that time. It included:

“Focus on the work, not on social networking. I worked in publishing for 10 years. I knew my current editor socially for several years. Yet it still took me seven months and 12 agent reads before the 13th agent said yes. My current editor never saw a single word I wrote until my agent sent her the work along with everyone else on her submission list. When my book was bought, I had no platform, no Facebook page, no Twitter "presence," not even a single publishing credit. All I had was the book I'd written, and if you think that a book about a group of working class Mexican-Americans living their day-to-day lives in a small Los Angeles neighborhood is commercial gold, then the names Dan Brown and James Patterson don't mean anything to you. If you make the work as good as you can make it, you won't need to network your way to the hottest agent or editor. Let your work do the work.”

Read more here.

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