A book launch gone wrong

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2011

Author Alex Shakar shares the story of the sale of his first book. It went for low-to-mid six figures to a great editor, the marketing was tight, reviews were rave, and then…well, I won’t spoil it for you.

I would have felt blessed to work with any of editors I’d met that week, but Robert was my first choice, and Bill’s as well. Robert, though, left nothing to chance. He was the highest bidder at auction, consenting to be turned upside-down and shaken for change. At day’s end, after Bill told me the final figure on the phone, I wandered numb out of the special ed teacher’s apartment and up St. Marks to the subway. I was having dinner with two of my closest friends from college, also aspiring writers, one of whom had been gifted by a grandparent a coupon good for two free entrees at a Ruth’s Chris steakhouse, our plan being to split the cost of the third. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them how much money I’d just made. I said it was a lot. Then I kind of laughed. Then I said it was a whole lot. There was an uncomfortable silence as we all realized I wasn’t going to get more specific.

That book, The Savage Girl, is available at Amazon.