Four Things + Horseshoes = Bestseller

[caption id="attachment_391" align="alignleft" width="155" caption="Shana Kelly, who signed debut author Curtis Sittenfeld, one fine day"]Shana Kelly, who signed debut author Curtis Sittenfeld, one fine day[/caption]

Following up on the last post, there's more to what Shana Kelly had to say about Curtis Sittenfeld's success with Prep. Here it is!

The success of PREP was the result of dedicated, creative work by a whole team of people.  There were many factors which contributed to the book’s success, including:


·         Curtis wrote a great book.  There is no substitute for good material. 


·         The packaging was key. PREP was originally called CIPHER, a confusing and misleading title.  The new title was poppy, accessible, and Random House put together an iconic, eye-catching cover design.


·         Curtis had amazing connections with journalists, plus there was an interesting publicity angle.  The publicists who worked on PREP came up with original and fun ways to generate interest amongst journalists and reviewers.  All these factors led to articles in advance of publication, which helped build the all-important and elusive “buzz.”


·         Good word of mouth started very early on this book.  It had tremendous support within the publishing house, among booksellers, and within my agency. 


However, even the combination of all the above elements cannot guarantee success.  There is some intangible component—call it luck, fairy dust, timing, buzz—that is needed to overcome the difficult odds.  In the case of PREP, everything came together as it should, and a talented author enjoyed an amazing start to her career.


Check it out, everyone. It can happen when the harmonic convergence happens. Don't forget to check out Shana's 4-week class on the Business of Book Publishing in April.

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