The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories from Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them

Brian E. Hill, Author, Dee Power, Author Kaplan Publishing $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7931-9308-0
As publishing industry insiders know, there is no way to guarantee a book will be a bestseller. Sometimes a sleeper hits the lists; other times a book, despite being flogged to death, never moves many copies. Nevertheless, it is possible to study how books have become bestsellers in the past and try to learn from them. Hill and Power, founders of the research and consulting firm Power Dynamics Inc., have interviewed a score of people involved in making bestsellers, from the authors to the editors and, last in the chain of reaching the consumer, booksellers. The authors offer a serious look at the business of publishing and how its components must work together to produce a bestseller. Frustratingly, what they don't offer is a complete case history; they never follow any one book from idea to bestseller list. Instead, the book is divided by subject matter, and each chapter consists of short snippets quoting a range of people on the topic under discussion. Publishing industry veterans won't learn much new here, and readers looking for an engrossing account of a bestseller will also be disappointed. So this book is perhaps best directed at newcomers to the industry or aspiring authors who want to know more about how editors make decisions, about the role of the chains, etc. Though filled with quotes from leading publishing people, the text remains a bit dry and textbook-ish.
Reviewed on: 03/01/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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