How Lisa Genova Slew the Publishing Dragon

Yesterday's Entertainment section of features the article "Books Unbound" (by Chris Jackson/Getty). The story starts with a true Cinderella-like parable about unknown author Lisa Genova's novel Still Alice.

Unable to interest an agent or publishing house in the novel, Lisa finally forked over $450 and had iUniverse publish it. Like Cinderella, Lisa's story has a happy ending.

"Genova wound up getting an agent after all," writes Jackson, "and an offer from Simon & Schuster of just over half a million dollars. Borders and Target chose it for their book clubs. Barnes & Noble made it a Discover pick. On Jan. 25, Still Alice will make its debut on the New York Times best-seller list at No. 5."

I have a friend in Denver who has a similarly amazing story - a self-published book picked up by a major publishing house for an outrageously obscene amount of money.

What's interesting about these stories is the light they cast on the contradictory transformations happening within the publishing industry.

Never before has publication seemed like such a daunting challenge.

Never before have writers had not only "the power of the pen" at their fingertips, but can now wield the mighty power of the electronic sword.

Read more about Genova's incredible story, the current state of the publishing industry and why 2009 may be an empowering year for authors in Time's online article, "Books Unbound."


The Time piece is fascinating! I've written about ten chapters of a novel, and I found the article inspiring too. Thanks for passing on the word about it!
Page Lambert said…
Yes, Kathleen, the Times piece was fascinating. Good luck with your novel!
Kathy Kaiser said…
Page, thanks for letting us (BMW) know about the Time piece. I learned so much, not necessarily what I wanted to hear. It's a whole new world out there, and one I need to adapt to.

Kathy Kaiser
Page Lambert said…
Kathy, I'm glad the link to the Times article was helpful. We all need to adapt. The important thing is to look for new opportuniites as the industry recreates itself.
Gail said…
Page, thanks for your post with your thoughts about the Times piece. I learned a lot from both, concise takes on what's happening in publishing now and the bursts of fresh opportunities. My first two novels were published the old school way, and I'm working on another, as well as an outrageous memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with my husband. By the way, I really like your website and blog for your insights about nature and people.
--Gail Storey
laurel Kallenbach said…
I find it really encouraging to hear about publishing success stories like these. They give me hope that my own novel will get published!, I just need to finish it!!!
Reading publishing success stories like these really encourages me...and gives me hope that my novel will someday find a publisher. (If I finish writing it that is!)
Page Lambert said…
Gail, thanks for visiting. Your "outrageous memoir" about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with your husband sounds great. Good luck with it!
Page Lambert said…
Laurel, never give up hope. If you haven't already made a mock-up of the book jacket as you dream it might be, do! Everytime you get discouraged, it will be there to spur you on.

I found you via a Still Alice search and so glad I did.
Page Lambert said…
Esther, I'm glad you found me too! Thanks for leaving a comment.
Ned Rozell said…
TImes they are a changin'. The good stuff will find its way to the top.

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