Written by Shawndra Russell
Self publishing and independent book publishers in Western North Carolina.
The creed in the publishing community that reverberates up and down the hierarchy is that you are never 100% sure which books will become huge hits and lead to Hollywood movies or which books will barely cover the cost of creating, printing, and distributing them.
However, glimmers of a renewed interest in publishing as a viable business have been shining through recently, with The Girls author Emma Cline recently scooping up a $2 million advance and selling the film rights to Scott Rudin, producer for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Another debut novelist, Paula Hawkins, also hit it big—at least six figures, but the deal was kept hush hush—for her smash hit, The Girl on the Train. (The film of the same name, starring Emily Blunt and Allison Janney, hit theaters last fall.)
Three other authors, all female, also earned six figure deals for the books Sweetbitter, The Nest, and Behold the Dreamers, while self-published rockstar Amanda Hocking earned $2 million for her young adult four-book series deal with St. Martin’s Press. Even celebrities are getting in on the publishing game in recent years, with Lena Dunham, Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnny Depp, Chelsea Handler, and Oprah Winfrey curating titles for new publishing imprints.
Meanwhile, here in Western North Carolina, the occasional breakout success of regional authors continues to be a source of encouragement to other writers: Charles Frazier’s 1997 historical novel Cold Mountain won the National Book Award for Fiction and was turned into an Academy Award-winning film; while more recently, Robert Beatty (profiled in this magazine in October 2015) topped the New York Times best-seller list for 2015’s Serafina and the Black Cloak. The third book in his Serafina series, incidentally, is set to come out in July 2017 through Disney’s publishing arm. Set at the Biltmore Estate, the series has caused rumors to swirl that Serafina movies one day could be filmed at the famous Vanderbilt mansion in Asheville.
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