When the National Book Award finalists were announced last Wednesday, Wayne State University Press was the only small publisher represented in the fiction category, with Bonnie Jo Campbell's American Salvage. It also marked the first time one of the press’ authors was nominated for the award. In the days following the announcement, American Salvage—a collection of stories about rural residents “living on the edge of the American Dream”—sold out, and has now gone to its fourth printing since its April 2009 release.
Press director Jane Hoehner said that like most university presses, Wayne State typically does small print runs; “a few thousand for us is a good seller.” The press initially printed 1,500 copies of American Salvage and went to press twice more for the same before the NBA nomination. It is printing another 3,500 copies now, bringing the total in print to 8,000.
American Salvage is a paperback original, and Wayne State has hired agent Ryan Fischer-Harbage of the Fischer-Harbage Agency to license rights. Fischer-Harbage said, "based on enthusiastic conversations I’ve had over the last few days, I expect to close a deal this week. The stories really are amazing. Bonnie’s the real thing. Her being named a finalist for the National Book Award makes perfect sense to everyone who’s read the book."