A New York literary agent, editor and author reveal how bestsellers are born


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Budding authors are usually extremely curious about the slush pile, because it’s where their work is most likely to end up. So let’s stop and think about unsolicited submission and their place in an agent’s life for a bit. For Barbara, his reading system is “a pyramid of sorts”. “The things I have to read first are new manuscripts from my existing clients,” he says. “Then come works that arrive highly recommended from clients. We call those referrals, and they’re a great way to find new business. For “slush” – unsolicited manuscripts – we have interns and assistants who comb through those submissions and they might identify certain projects as having promise.”

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Clemence Michallon — The Independent

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WHAT MAKES A BOOK A BEST SELLER?


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A dream of all writers and wannabe writers.

In any genre, it’s rare for a book to see delayed success. “Almost all books, regardless of category, peak in the first 15 weeks after publication,” the researchers report. In terms of sales, “Most fiction books have their peaks strictly in the first two to six weeks. For nonfiction, even though peaks at weeks two to five are common, the peak can happen any time in the first 15 weeks”—after which sales “drop dramatically.”

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Tom Jacobs — Pacific Standard

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