Behind the Bestsellers
Daisy Maryles -- 12/4/00

Cross on the Green | A Great Backlist Seller
A 2023 Odyssey | Diamant's Diamond

Cross on the GreenJames Patterson's last three bestsellers featuring detective Alex Cross all landed in the #1 spot after just one week in the stores, and that includes his latest thriller--Roses Are Red. Little, Brown's first printing for the book, 1.25 million copies, is Patterson's largest so far. Last year, the first printing for Pop G s the Weasel was 800,000; it had a 13-week run on the hardcover charts, with three of those weeks in the lead spot. The paperback is currently gracing our mass market list and has 1,861,000 copies in print. Cat & Mouse, published in November 1997, had a 15-week run on the charts, the first two in the #1 spot; its first printing was 500,000 copies. Patterson's 1998 bestseller, When the Wind Blows, had a 675,000-copy first printing. It didn't feature Cross--the main character was a veterinarian--and it changed locales, from Washington, D.C., to Colorado; it had a 13-week run on the hardcover charts and its highest perch was at #2. Earlier this year, Little, Brown released a "reimagined version" of Patterson's long-out-of-print 1980 novel, Virgin. Cradle and All, with a million-copy first printing, made it onto PW's list in the #2 slot; it had a 10-week bestseller run.

The latest novel is being supported by a million-dollar marketing campaign that includes a 21-city bookstore tour, ending December 21 in Delray, Fla., at Books-A-Million. Roses Are Red also benefited from its debut as an e-book (exclusively on Gemstar's platform) available for a month prior to print publication; it is currently #2 on the b& e-book bestseller list. The novel will be distributed by iPublishing. com at Time Warner Books for other electronic reading formats on January 22, 2001.

Patterson fans have more to anticipate in 2001. A Paramount Pictures film of the first Alex Cross novel, Along Came a Spider, is scheduled for release in spring 2001. Morgan Freeman, who portrayed Cross in the 1997 film adaptation of Kiss the Girls, will do so again. Also, Patterson is planning a series that will introduce the "Women's Murder Club" in an April book called 1st to Die. NBC plans to produce a four-hour miniseries to air during the May 2001 sweeps period.

A Great Backlist SellerIt looks like Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation is going to be a holiday favorite for the third year in a row. The Random House book, published in December 1998, has been on the charts for 66 weeks--18 times in the #1 spot--over the past two years. First printing was 200,000 copies, which were fully distributed by December 4. By publication date three days later, RH had gone back to press six times, for 430,000 additional copies, bringing the total to 680,000. Currently, there are 3,918,000 copies in print after 41 printings.

Also, back on the charts is Bantam's Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers. It enjoyed a bestseller tenure of 23 weeks in 2000. It had about 250,000 copies in print after three trips to press by its May 15 debut on our chart. That figure is now up to about 600,000 copies after 23 trips to press.

A 2023 OdysseyBestselling author Caleb Carr moves his new book, Killing Time, into the future, specifically 2023, where the plot focuses on a future where technology has run amok. His previous thrillers--The Alienist and the Angel of Darkness--have been set in turn-of-the-century New York. Carr just completed a 10-city tour. Random House arranged lots of national print coverage and national media appearances. New for this book has been an on-line campaign that included features, chats and reviews on,,,,, b& and

Diamant's DiamondOn August 7 we wrote about the remarkable bestselling sojourn of Anita Diamant's debut novel, The Red Tent, published in October 1997 by St. Martin's in hardcover. A trade paperback was released a year later by Picador USA, with a printing of 10,000. It currently has 700,000 copies and is moving up on bestseller lists across the country. What finally got the book on the national charts was a mailing to 1,500 Reform rabbis (the book is about the biblical Dinah). The clergy recommended it to their congregations, readers told their friends, and the rest is bestselling history.