We spoke with Emmanuelle Boizet at the small publisher Editions Finitude, about the unexpected success her house is enjoying with the debut novel Waiting for Bojangles. The book, about a child with eccentric parents, has already sold over 120,000 copies in France, after being released in January.
Book title: En attendant Bojangles / Waiting for Bojangles
First published by: Editions Finitude / January 7, 2016
Author: Olivier Bourdeaut is a high school dropout. His publisher said that he tried his hand at number of odd jobs, from real estate agent to sea salt collector, and then became unemployed. Bojangles, his debut novel, was inspired by the Nina Simone song "Mr. Bojangles." He wrote the novel, while unemployed, in seven weeks.
Acquiring Editor: Thierry Boizet
How It's Done: The book has sold in 15 foreign deals, with further deals pending. Since its release in January, it's hit a number of bestseller lists, including l’Express-GFK, Datalib, Livres Hebdo, and Amazon (French Literature). Simon & Schuster, which acquired world English rights to the book, will publish the novel in the U.S. in 2017. According to Editions Finitude, the book has sold 120,000 copies to date, won three national literary awards, including the PrixRTL/Lire. It is also on the shortlist of the Goncourt for best first novel.
Why You Think It's Working: Boizet credits the "huge enthusiasm" of booksellers for the book's success. She goes on to say that foreign editors helped propel the book, and that mainstream and literary journalists were "seduced" by it.