Thursday, April 19, 2012

Undercover author

The 2/22/12 New York Times exposed author Kate Alcott’s secret identity.

She is really author Patricia O’Brien.

See, O’Brien was shopping around her sixth novel (and ninth book overall). Her longtime Simon & Schuster editor, among 12 others, turned it down.  

The reason? Hazard a guess:

a) limp prose
b) unoriginal plot
c) her last novel didn’t sell enough
d) O’Brien is a raving wacknut

The answer is c), for “come on.”

But that is largely the state of publishing today—publishers pressured to go for saleability over originality, lyricism, or other merit.

So O’Brien went and proved this thinking shortsighted. And to do so, she took what I perceive to be a big risk, one that could have sabotaged her credibility (and one that reminds me of an experiment I did to try to sell a nonfiction picture book I wrote about a little-known WWII incident involving a Japanese pilot).

She resolicited the manuscript under a pen name, Kate Alcott.

And it sold in three days.

Read the rest of what I feel is an important story here.

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