: views from the Hill

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Track record? Should mean something, shouldn't it?

Michael Allen over at Grumpy Old Bookman put me on to this one.

I popped the names he mentioned into Google and found this article in The Globe and Mail

The Great Fiction Crash of 2005
Saturday, December 3, 2005


Whatever the causes, it's clear that international publishers are giving every new novel greater scrutiny.

Consider Stratford's James W. Nichol. His first novel, a mystery thriller called The Midnight Cab, has been moving like bratwurst in Germany, with more than 200,000 copies sold under the title Ausgesetz (Exposed). Short-listed for Britain's Gold Dagger award, it also did well there (selling more than 50,000 copies) and has been sold to eight other countries.

With that sort of track record, selling the second novel should have been a breeze. Not so, says Nichol's Toronto agent, Bev Slopen. His Canadian publisher, Knopf, took a pass, as did his British publisher, Canongate.

Call me gobsmacked.

If selling hundreds of thousands of books doesn't mean a shoo-in for your second spin ...

What's the story? Was the asking price too high and too immutable?

Was the new book being shopped something completely different?

Enquiring minds. ...

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