The Making of a Bestseller: From Author to Reader

Front Cover
McFarland, Jan 1, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 234 pages
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Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald's career itself is a metaphor for the vagaries of book publishing. If Fitzgerald would have had his way, we would today refer to The Great Gatsby as either Gold-Hatted Gatsby, Trimalchio in West Egg, or The High-Bouncing Lover. A few years before Gatsby, Fitzgerald had become a literary sensation at the age of 23; Helen Hooven Santmyer, a contemporary of Fitzgerald's, would not have a successful novel published until she was 88 and living in a nursing home.
In this book, the author explores that mysterious place in publishing where art and commerce can either clash, mesh, or both. Along the way, a wide range of authors--from the literary greats to today's commercial superstars--editors, agents and publishers share their thoughts, insights and experiences: What inspires writers? (John Steinbeck, for example, wrote every novel as if it were his last, as if death were imminent.) Why are some books successful and appreciated, while others fall into oblivion? The answers are often elusive, never absolute, but the stories and anecdotes are always fascinating.
  

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Contents

Preface
1
A MATTER OF MYSTERY
3
WINNING THE GENETIC SWEEPSTAKES
17
SING O MUSE
29
THE WRITING LIFE
39
YOUR STUPID BOOK STINKS
49
WERE ALL CONNECTED
65
BARBARIANS THROUGH THE GATES
79
MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE
119
MAKING THE LIST
133
A BOY HAS TO PEDDLE His BOOK
145
WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK
155
HATS Off TO JACKIE
165
APPLY IT TO THE PROBLEM
179
Chapter Notes
201
Bibliography
219

JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER
89
DE GUSTIBUS
103
NON EST DlSPUTANDUM
111

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