Jim Butcher: The Longshot Becomes a Sure Thing

Jim Butcher’s 15th novel in his Dresden Files urban fantasy series is riding a tidal wave of bestsellerdom. With almost 50,000 copies sold since its May 27 release, Skin Game has landed at the top of our Hardcover Fiction bestseller list. It also debuted at #1 on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list and that of the Sunday Times (U.K.). Last, but not least, the novel is #2 on B&N’s science fiction and fantasy bestsellers list, just below the George R.R. Martin boxed set. Butcher celebrated the book’s success this past weekend with more than 55,000 attendees at Phoenix Comic Con, where he is one of two dozen celebrities headlining the four-day event.

It wasn’t always like this for Butcher. According to his website, his online moniker is “Longshot.” It goes back to the early ’90s, when Butcher decided to become a published author. After writing Storm Front, his first fantasy/hardboiled detective mashup, about a professional Chicago wizard named Harry Dresden, he spent the next two years looking for a publisher. He signed on with his first agent, Ricia Mainhardt, who hooked him up with Roc, and Storm Front was released as a trade

paper original in 2000, four years after he’d written it. He “beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist,” his website states, but “refuses to change his nickname.”

Butcher plans to write “23-ish” books in the series, in which Dresden battles evil, and, since Changes (2011), undertakes impossible quests as Winter Knight to the Fairie Queen of Air and Darkness. There will be, Butcher says, “20-ish case books” plus an “apocalyptic trilogy” rounding out the Dresden Files. There are also two graphic novels published by Dynamite; two more graphic novels are in the works, scheduled for 2015 and 2016.—Claire Kirch

Love and Death in New Hampshire

Joël Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, a thriller set in New Hampshire, debuts at #14 on the Trade

Paper list. Rights to this novel, the book of the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, have been sold in 32 countries, hitting #1 so far in Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. At the time of the U.S. acquisition, PW reported that “Penguin Books has acquired the French bestseller... for an advance the imprint claims is the highest it has ever paid.”

Aug. 30, 1975: the day 15-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods, never to be heard from again; the day Somerset, N.H., lost its innocence. Thirty-three years later, Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist living in New York City, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of the country’s most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer’s block. But Marcus’s plans are violently upended when Harry is suddenly and sensationally implicated in the cold-case murder of Nola Kellergan—with whom, he admits, he had an affair.

Joël Dicker was born in 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland, where he later studied law, and spent childhood summers in New England. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair won three French literary prizes, including the Grand Prix du Roman from the Académie Française.

Last month Dicker spoke at BEA’s Global Market Forum. He’s done events in New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee and will appearing this week in New Hampshire, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Houston. A profile ran in the Wall Street Journal, Sara Nelson from Amazon picked it as one of her top summer reads on CBS This Morning, and thriller author Chelsea Cain gave it a rave review in the New York Times.—Peter Cannon

A “Mortal” Series Comes to an End

With 34 million copies of Cassandra Clare’s novels in print worldwide, her fans have been eagerly anticipating City of Heavenly Fire, the sixth and final installment in her Mortal Instruments series; it was released on May 27, and debuts at #2 on our Children’s Fiction list. After revealing the cover on TV’s The Insider in January, S&S launched a social media campaign on April 2, branded “TMI Tuesday” (so named for the series, not the amount of information disclosed). This countdown-to-pub-date promotion involved releasing new content every Tuesday on a website for fans to share through social media. “TMI Tuesdays have been a huge success, with us seeing increased traffic to the site on Tuesdays as well as significant bumps in pre-orders each week,” said S&S’s Chrissy Noh. S&S announced a two-million-copy first printing.

The author told PW she has mixed emotions about wrapping up Mortal Instruments. “I keep likening the experience to raising a child and sending them off to college,” she said. “You try to do your best job, and then there comes the moment where you have to say ‘OK, go—you belong to the world now.’ That’s how I feel about a finished series. It leaves your hands, your ability to make changes that would affect the outcome, and belongs to readers afterward. I just hope they like it!” —Sally Lodge

No Blues for Tom Robbins

Tom Robbins, best known for his 1976 novel, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, hits the bestseller list again this week, landing at #12 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list with a memoir titled Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life.

In our starred review of the book, we say, “Ever the raconteur, Robbins carries us along a magical wonder tour in this high-flying, Zen koan–like, and cinematic tour of some of the episodes in his journey through space and time. The book is roughly chronological, and readers follow Tommy Rotten (a nickname given to him by his mother), from his North Carolina birthplace, through Hargrave Military Academy, to San Francisco, where he wrote his first novel (he would write eight).”

Robbins was featured in the New York Times Magazine q&a and was on Weekend Edition,” says Michael McKenzie, Ecco’s senior director of publicity.

His appearances have included a reading at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, the PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, and the Tattered Cover in Denver. Still to come—Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; L.A.; and Seattle.—Mark Rotella

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint This Week Units
1 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin/Speak 112,355
2 City of Heavenly Fire Cassandra Clare S&S/McElderry 101,012
3 The Fault in Our Stars (movie tie-in) John Green Penguin/Speak 58,036
4 Skin Game Jim Butcher Roc 47,825
5 Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Dr. Seuss Random House 29,070
6 One Nation Ben Carson Penguin/Sentinel 28,873
7 The Marriage Pact Linda Lael Miller Harlequin 28,696
8 Insurgent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 25,970
9 Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 25,260
10 Inferno Dan Brown Anchor 24,476