The Swedish crime novel Quicksand, about a shooting in a Stockholm school, has been dominating the bestseller lists in its home country all summer and has sold in 23 territories to date. Its editor thinks the book, which has benefited from a groundswell of critical praise, was also helped along by unusually strong publisher support.
Book title: Störst av allt (in English, Quicksand)
First published in: July by Wahlström & Widstrand
Format: Hardcover, audio, and e-book
Author: Malin Persson Giolito was born in Stockholm and worked as a lawyer for a large Nordic law firm. She has published three previous novels.
Acquiring Editor: Åsa Selling
How It’s Done: The book has sold in 23 territories to houses such as Other Press (U.S.), Simon & Schuster (U.K.), and Intrinseca (Brazil). It has hit the bestseller lists of the Swedish newspapers Bokus, Adlibris, Svensk Bokhandel, and Förläggarföreningen.
What makes this book stand out from similar titles on the market? “Crime is a popular genre in our country," Selling said. But she believes Quicksand distinguished itself from the competition early by appealing to an usually wide variety of readers. "It can be read by [people of] all ages, and both men and women. I have heard about a number of middle-aged mothers that passed it along to their teenage daughters, who liked it just as much."
Why do you think it’s working?: Selling said that Quicksand had "massive" in-house backing. Wahlström & Widstrand encouraged retailers and book clubs to read the book early, and it was chosen as a main selection in the biggest book club in Sweden, Bonniers Bokklubb. Media attention swelled after the book club pick-up and, in late August, a long interview with the author ran in Dagens Nyheter, one of the country's most popular morning newspapers. The press attention helped solidify the book's status as one of Sweden's hottest books of the summer.