It's the story everyone dreams of: a writer self-publishes her first mystery thriller, it gets a couple of reviews, a mainstream publisher comes sniffing around...and she lands a $2 million book deal.


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This story of the road to publication for Brunonia (!) Barry and her book, The Lace Reader, puts me in mind of something our own David Montgomery said a few months ago on his blog:

"The best way to get your book reviewed, and the best way to have it be a success, is to write the best book you possibly can. And that is the one area of the process over which an author actually has control."

I'm supposing Barry wrote an amazing book. And I'd like to hear her story. I'm guessing it's a good one.
Your posts piqued my curiosity, too, so I checked out the website and found two sample chapters. I can see why this happened, just from those chapters.

I'm gonna have to check out this book!
It's a great story - I just hope people don't take it as an endorsement for self-publishing and think they'll end up with the same outcome. The stats on self published to even commercially published, well, are numbers I'd like to see, but I know some award-winning authors who self-pubbed who never got a commerical offer. Anyone want to wager a guess on how many actually do get picked up?

That said, congrats to Brunonia Barry.
I agree with you -- it's a terrific story, but I'm afraid that some of the more unscrupulous vanity presses will seize on this as an ad gimmick, rather than the one-in-a-zillion tale that it is.

Wouldn't you be interested in an interview with Brunonia Barry as to how it all happened?
Interview... You mean, as in me talking to Barry myself? I don't know. For exactly the reasons you (and Kevin below) have echoed, I'd have a moment of pause about promoting it now. Normally, I interview people who produce work I'm interested in on some level. Touching on other things within that is fine in the scope of an interview, but right now the story is the sale of a self published work for big bucks. And that does put some fear in my heart, because (while I wish all the best and hope things work out well) I have some fear and trepidation about throwing big bucks at unproven authors. The story of the sale and circumstances will drive a certain amount of sales, so it will be used for marketing purposes. Again, fine, as long as the author delivers the goods.

(I haven't read the excerpt, so I have no opinion there.)

But there have been a few examples of the 'gimmick promo' that have not been a success. There was a story earlier this year about twins writing a book (No Suspicious Circumstances) and of course the story was it was twins (can't remember their names, sorry) but every review of the book that I saw was pretty scathing, including a lot of negative reader responses.

It all makes me a bit nervous that gimmicks are overshadowing quality any more, but while I think it sounds like this author may have the goods to deserve it, the self publishing thing is a real concern to me.
Interview... You mean, as in me talking to Barry myself? I don't know. For exactly the reasons you (and Kevin below) have echoed, I'd have a moment of pause about promoting it now.

Oh, no - I phrased that poorly. I meant "Wouldn't you be interested in reading an interview..."

What you do is bring a spotlight to writers who might not otherwise have one, and that's terrific. At this point, I don't think Barry needs one - the industry has a lot interested in ensuring she's a success!
Ah, I see! I agree, she'll get a lot of push. What will be of real interest to me is whether it pays off!
To back up what Sandra and Kevin have said, I think the other slight sour note here is that it will give false hope to a lot of people out there. True, Barry seems to have been one of the talented writers who slipped through the net (for whatever reason) but a lot of the people who end up self-publishing do so because their books just aren't strong enough. This isn't to say their books are bad, they might just not have a big enough market to make them viable, although I'm guessing vanity publishers do also publish a lot of bad books.

One of the ironies of writing is that the worst writers often have the most self-belief. They're probably no less talented than those of who are published, they simply lack the nagging self-doubts that are crucial to developing that talent.

Nevertheless, great news for Barry and I hope she gets a hit.
I took a tiny peek. The writing is okay, though it might be better if edited. I assume this deals with a young woman's slow revelations of childhood sexual abuse. No wonder they think it will sell a lot of books.
Two million, and the excerpt on the front page has a spelling mistake. Tsk, tsk. :)

"Look into the lace . . . When the eyes begin to fill with tears and the patience is long exhausted, there will appear a glimpse of something not qute seen."


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