Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Five Million Dollar Woman

It's been a truism for a few years now that most book buyers are women. When I worked at Barnes and Noble it was the Romance Section that had the briskest business and those Sneaky Pie Brown Mysteries (and other cozies) sold like hot cakes. Some men do read Sneaky Pie Brown and romance novels but no man has ever bought one. This story below from The Chicago Sun Times confirms what I've suspected for a while now - male book readers are an endangered species. What do men do with their time? Nobody knows. Watch TV, play video games, go to the driving range, kill prostitutes in back alleys? They're certainly not hanging out in bookshops. The Sun Times story has a couple of interesting angles for me. I read The Time Traveler's Wife a few years ago and quite enjoyed it - its basically a romance novel with a college education. Also Niffenegger's agent Joe Regal was my old agent back in the day and her publisher Nan Graham was my publisher for Dead I Well May Be - both of them are very smart people. Anyway it's food for thought - don't be surpised if you never hear from Adrian McKinty again, but Adrianne McGinty suddenly becomes a well known romance novelist...

'Time Traveler's Wife' author hits jackpot
By Teresa Budasi, Chicago Sun Times

Chicago author Audrey Niffenegger, who wrote her way to the best seller lists six years ago with The Time Traveler's Wife, has apparently snared a $5 million advance for her followup novel, Her Fearful Symmetry. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, was the big winner in a hot bidding war, which also included Time Traveler publisher MacAdam Cage and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which published the paperback.

Audrey Niffenegger is also a visual artist and faculty member at Columbia College Chicago. I would say it's a bit of a gamble for a publisher to shell out so much money for a second novel, not only in this climate of a crumbling economy. . .but Scribner VP and editor in chief Nan Graham isn't worried. "She really has defied custom and written a spectacular second novel, which is one of the hardest things to do in this universe," Graham told the New York Times.