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"No matter how big or how consolidated or how commercial the publishing industry becomes, it will remain at its core a cottage industry, for the product it is selling is homemade, woven by hand by individual craftsmen, piece by piece, book by book."
The Making of a Bestseller

THE MAKING OF A BESTSELLER

American publishers release thousands of new titles every year. Most disappear quickly from bookstore shelves (if they reach bookstores at all). A few win modest acclaim and a small market. A very few become best sellers—sometimes for a month or two, sometimes for decades.

 

The book business is built on questions that seem impossible to answer. What drives a person to write? How can a publisher determine which manuscripts will be successful books? Why do people buy (or not buy) the latest titles? What can authors, editors, publishers, and reviewers do to help a book's chances to be a bestseller?

 

The possible answers—and the many new questions each answer raises—make for intriguing reading in this lively survey of writing and publishing in America.

CONTENTS

 

A Matter of Mystery

Winning the Genetic Sweepstakes

Sing, O Muse

The Writing Life

Your Stupid Book Stinks

We're All Connected

Barbarians Through the Gates

Judging a Book by Its Cover

De Gustibus

Non Est Disputandum

Make a Joyful Noise

Making the List

A Boy Has to Peddle His Book

With a Little Bit of Luck

Hats Off to Jackie

Apply It to the Problem

PRAISE FOR THE AUTHOR

Vanderbilt tells all that every aspiring writer should know about publishing today, and every reader, too.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS

It's a joy to take this tour of the book business with its eye-opening emphasis on writers.

JUDITH APPLEBAUM

A Slant of Wind
Best-Kept Boy in the World
Changing Law
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Fortune's Children
Gardening in Eden
Golden Days
The Making of a Bestseller
Olmsted's Genius
The Richest and Most Famous Private Chef
The Soul of a House
Treasure Wreck
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