The Norwegian novel The History of Bees, about three generations of beekeepers, was published last month in Germany. It is currently a bestseller there, having hit #3 on the Der Spiegel list. Outlined below are some of the steps that helped turn the book into a bestseller.
Book title: The History of Bees/ ( In German, Die Geschichte der Bienen)
First published in Germany: on March 20 by btb (Random House)
Author: Maja Lunde is a Norwegian author who has written several books for children/young adults. The History of Bees is her first novel written for adults.
Acquiring Editor: Regina Kammerer, publisher at btb & Luchterhand
How It’s Done: The book is, as of this writing, #3 on the Der Spiegel bestseller list, and in its fifth printing in Germany. Translation rights to the book, which are controlled by Oslo Literary Agency, have sold in over 15 countries. (Touchstone will be publishing the book in the U.S., in August.)
Why They Think It’s Working: Kammerer acquired the book at the 2015 London Book Fair, off of a proposal and a handful of translated chapters.To promote the book, btb ran a major marketing campaign which included the shipping of an extensive number of ARCs (1,000 of which were sent to key retailers in Germany & Austria), along with non-book items for display, such as wooden honeycombs. The strategy was effective in drawing positive feedback from retailers, and greatly helped the book gain high visibility in bookstores.