Cassandra Clare Builds Buzz Like ‘Clockwork'

The glut of fantastical YA series crowding bookshelves means it can take a lot of effort for an author to be heard above the roar of his or her peers. One writer who's proven adept at generating excitement for upcoming releases is Cassandra Clare, whose Clockwork Princess, the third in the Infernal Devices trilogy, debuts at #1 on our Children's Frontlist Fiction list—and was also the top-selling book this week across all categories, with 66,844 units sold.

As the clock ticked down to the release of Clockwork Princess, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing used Clare's popularity on social media to great advantage. Fans controlled the February 26 online chapter reveal, as they collectively tweeted the hashtag #ClockworkPrincess, unlocking the opening chapter word by word and enabling fans all over the world to read it simultaneously in real time. And there were lots of them: more than 560,000 tweets were sent in 27 hours, and the hashtag became a top trending topic on Twitter worldwide. The chapter reveal followed the model of the publisher's fan-driven cover reveal for the book, which generated 30,000 tweets within two hours.

Clare says she was “thrilled” by her fans' enthusiastic response to the chapter reveal—and at the Twitter campaign's scope. “I was really pleased that all my readers could participate,” she says. “And because there's often such a long gap often between finishing a book and having it released, where you wait in anticipation to see how it's received, it was great to be able to watch people react in real-time as they read.” She'll want to keep that momentum going through the August 23 release of the film version of her The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. With the success of Clockwork Princess right out of the gate, she's off to a good start.—Sally Lodge

Coben Counts

Harlan Coben's Six Years, a standalone novel of domestic suspense, debuts at #1 on the Hardcover Fiction list. For six years, Jake Fisher, a political science professor at a Massachusetts college, honors the promise he made to the woman he loves, Natalie Avery, to leave her and Todd Sanderson, the man she married, alone. Then Jake sees Todd's obituary, flies to the deceased's funeral in South Carolina, and finds that the widow is not Natalie. This is merely the first of many shocks in a thriller that the PW review called “Kafkaesque” and ranked “among his strangest and most ingenious plots.”

Coben's previous five books were #1 New York Times hardcover bestsellers. He has been interviewed by the Today Show, CBS This Morning, the Wall Street Journal, Hannity, Glenn Beck, Morning Joe, and the CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. He has 260,000 fans on Facebook, and 40,000 followers on Twitter. France has awarded him the Vermeil Medal of Honor for contributions to culture and society. The film Tell No One, based on Coben's 2001 book of the same name, won four Cesar's, the French Oscar. An American adaptation is in development.

Coben received more good news on the movie front last month. Paramount announced that Hugh Jackman, who played Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, has agreed to star in the film of Six Years.—Peter Cannon

Going Green

According to her publisher's press release, Jane Green's novels “deal with real women, real life, and all the things life throws at them.” That last topic is borne out by a recent interview with the author, who said, “I have long been fascinated by our inclination to assume others we meet have the same moral code, similar values, and yet we can never be sure. Then a couple I knew of ended up having their lives turned upside down after the husband was discovered to have another, hidden family on the opposite coast. It was far too good a story to not let it inspire me.” That inspiration led to her 14th bestseller, Family Pictures, which lands at #21 on this week's Hardcover Fiction list.

A former feature writer for the Daily Express in the U.K., Green took a leap of faith when she left England in 1996 to freelance and work on a novel. Seven months later, there was a bidding war for her first book, Straight Talking, the saga of a single career girl looking for the right man. The novel was an immediate bestseller in England, and Green was on her way. She's now graduated to more complex character-driven novels that explore the concerns of real women's lives, from marriage (The Other Woman, 2006) to motherhood (Another Piece of My Heart, 2012) to divorce, stepchildren, affairs, and—in Family Pictures—midlife crises.

As well as writing her books and blogs and teaching at writers' conferences, Green contributes to various publications, both online and print, including Huffington Post, the Sunday Times (London), the women's Web site Wowowow, and Self. A foodie and passionate cook, Green filled one of her books, Promises to Keep, with recipes culled from her own collection. She says she cooks only food that's “incredibly easy, but has to look as if you have slaved over a hot stove for hours.” That's because she has six children, she explains, and has realized that “when you have six children, nobody ever invites you anywhere.”—Dick Donahue

How To Make A Lot of Drinks

Amy Stewart, the Mary Roach of the natural world, takes the #17 slot this week on the Hardcover Nonfiction list with her sixth book, The Drunken Botanist. It's pretty well-known that sake is make from rice and tequila from agave, but in The Drunken Botanist, which has already sold 6,000 copies, Stewart explores hundreds of plants that one way or another (fermentation, distillation, maceration) are made into beverages that encourage dancing with a lampshade for a hat. A seasoned media veteran, Stewart has a vibrant Web presence, has had three New York Times bestsellers (Wicked Bugs; Wicked Plants; Flower Confidential), he's appeared on radio and TV, and is a coveted figure on the speaking circuit. But with The Drunken Botanist, “book tour” takes on new meaning. According to Algonquin publicity director Kelly Bowen, Stewart's 15-city countrywide tour is “basically one big cocktail party.” Boswell Books in Milwaukee, Wis., for example, is having their Amy Stewart event at the Great Lakes Distillery's tasting rooms. A distillery rep will speak about absinthe, which is made entirely from locally farmed ingredients, and cocktails—from the book, of course—will be served. Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and our own Ernest Hemingway will be there… in spirit.—Louisa Ermelino

All In the Family

The brother act of Ryan (he's 24) and Josh (he's 23) hit #5 on our Nonfiction Hardcover list this week with Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own (WaterBrook). Such success seems to run in the family: parents Kerry and Chris Shook, founders of the megachurch Woodlands Church, near Houston, had a bestseller in 2008 with One Month to Live (also from WaterBrook). Besides good genes, the authors had the benefit of a long-lead marketing campaign, with advance review copies available at conferences and events last fall, and a mailing to church pastors and youth leaders with information on setting up a church program based on the book. Dad Kerry Shook's program on ABC Family and TBN, Kerry Shook Ministries, featured both the boys and made the book available for preorders. A release-week tour included a speaking engagement at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, a proven-winner platform for Christian books. Writing for an audience that can outgrow youthful faith, the authors address the issue of developing a faith of one's own. “We're thrilled that Firsthand has gotten off to such a strong start,” said WaterBrook publicity manager Beverly Rykerd. —Marcia Z. Nelson