This novel set in Japan around the year 1000 has been on the L’Express bestseller list since January publication.

Book title: Le Bureau des Jardins et des Etangs / The Office of Gardens and Ponds

First published by: Editions Stock, January 2017

Author: Didier Decoin is the author of some twenty titles, including Abraham de Brooklyn (Le Seuil, 1972 Prix des libraries) and John l’Enfer (Le Seuil, 1977 Prix Goncourt).

Format: Trade Paperback

Acquiring Editor/ Publisher: Manuel Carcassonne

How It’s Done: For four weeks, the book has been on the L’Express bestseller list. Rights have sold to Italy (Ponte Alle Grazie), Spain (Alfaguara) and the UK (MacLehose Press, WEL). The publisher reports there is an offer in for German rights.

Why They Think It’s Working: Noting that the author took 12 years to write the book due to the large amount of research he did, Carcassonne calls it a “complete immersion into another world.” When asked about the book’s promotional campaign prior to publication, Carcassonne explains that publishing a good book is always the best strategy, and the publishing house took many conventional tactics: “We sent out proofs to booksellers ahead of publication, invited a group of 20 booksellers to a dinner with the author in an excellent Japanese restaurant, chose a strong cover of a woman riding a giant carp that received much praise, and utilized a lot of press, especially morning shows on the radio which, in France, remain one of the main vehicles for commercial success.”