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by Olivia Goldsmith

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At Davis & Dash, one of New York's most prestigious publishing houses, five new authors will be published—but only one of them will be a bestseller. They have worked long and hard to write their novels of romance and murder, drama and love. But the story behind the stories is even more exciting. And the vicious competition to get the right agent, the

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At Davis & Dash, one of New York's most prestigious publishing houses, five new authors will be published—but only one of them will be a bestseller. They have worked long and hard to write their novels of romance and murder, drama and love. But the story behind the stories is even more exciting. And the vicious competition to get the right agent, the perfect editor, and the choice spot on the bestseller list must be seen to be believed.

Master novelist Olivia Goldsmith, bestselling author of The First Wives Club and Marrying Mom, takes a scathing and hilarious inside look at the deviously cutthroat world of publishing. She pierces egos, produces the dish, and punctures more than a few careers in this one-of-a-kind novel where dreams come true and writing is its own reward.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Olivia Goldsmith burst onto the publishing scene in 1991 with the phenomenal success of her first novel, The First Wives Club. Her exposé of middle-aged men and their collection of trophy wives spoke to jilted audiences the world over. The film adaptation brought women storming to the box office in droves, the more crazed fans having formed clubs of their own.

Now Goldsmith is back with The Bestseller, this time taking on the elusive world of book publishing with her scathing and hilarious style. From power lunches to glamorous book parties, from closed-conference whisperings to the grueling reality of the book-publicity tour, Goldsmith chronicles the blood, sweat, and tears shed in the struggle to succeed in the publishing industry.

The Bestseller is the story of five authors, five novels, one publisher, one fall list, and only one bestseller. Davis & Dash is one of New York City's top trade-book publishers, but the company is not without its struggles and conflicting personalities as it fights to produce the strongest list of new books for the industry's crucial fall season. In presenting the race to the coveted bestseller list, Goldsmith introduces a colorful cast of characters that are amazingly true to life — a broad array of authors, editors, literary agents, and booksellers whose lives intersect as each character eagerly pursues his or her own aspirations and agendas.

Goldsmith's appropriately named The Bestseller is a must-read for starving artists and established authors alike. The novel may be fictional, but this dishy newnovel"skewers the publishing industry and many of its real-life movers and shakers" (Newsday). Goldsmith herself suffered through 26 rejections before her first novel was accepted for publication, and as a result, having experienced the industry firsthand, she has woven a great deal of truth into the lines of The Bestseller.

Washington Post Book World
Lots of romance and revenge.
Great summer reading.
You keep licking your fingers and reaching for the next page as if it were a potato chip.
A mordantly dishy new novel that skewers the publishing industry and many of its real life movers and shakers.
This dishy roman à clef will serve as a clever parable about insecure writers, sharklike agents, and corrupt publishers.
Mary Frances Wilkens
This lengthy tale about the publishing industry has everything you want in popular fiction. It starts with hordes of characters, many of them without much character, a few you really wish you knew, and a few with such sad lives you're thankful you don't know them. The novel is set in an industry fraught with egos that are elevated through obscene advances and then deflated by the fickle, faceless publishing conglomerates who demand sure thing after sure thing. At the center of the story is Davis & Dash, an old, prestigious imprint under enormous pressure from its corporate owners to produce another best-selling fall list. D & D President Gerald Ochs Davis (GOD to his minions) is straining not only to acquire books that will sell but also to write a hit himself to make up for the poor performance of his last few titles. But Gerald is not the only D & D blockbuster author who needs to rekindle sales. It's obviously time to recruit fresh, young authors, so Pam Mantiss, the unscrupulous editor-in-chief, and Emma Ashton, Pam's top editor, who would love nothing more than to actually publish high-quality books, stake their reputations on unknown authors. These struggling writers are the interesting characters who give meat to what might otherwise have been a cliched plot. Goldsmith digs deep into the incestuous world of publishing, masterfully merging fiction with reality. "The Bestseller, "already sold to Paramount," "is itself a sure thing.
Kirkus Reviews
A master of high-concept fiction (Fashionably Late, 1994, etc.) returns with a likely bestseller about writing a bestseller—a meaty send-up of publishing told with intelligence, wit, and shameless enthusiasm.

Goldsmith claims Rona Jaffe territory with the cross-cut stories of five writers whose novels appear on the fall list of Davis & Dash, a floundering Manhattan publishing house. Susan Baker Edmonds, 63, once a legal secretary in Cincinnati, has been a bestselling romance writer for decades. In an author tour from hell (42 cities in six weeks), she battles to boost her circulation. The Cinderella figure is Camilla Clapfish, 29, a poor-but-virtuous British tour guide who fights loneliness by writing a gentle book about middle-aged women on a bus trip through Italy. In upstate New York, meanwhile, Judith and Daniel Gross collaborate on a commercial venture about a mother who kills her children. Judith will write, Daniel will edit and sell. But Daniel gets greedy and claims sole authorship. The lone male author is Gerald Ochs Davis, Jr. (monogram GOD), the Michael Korda-esque publisher of Davis & Dash who supports three wives and a mistress with his bestsellers. Finally, there's Bloomington, Indiana, librarian Opal O'Neal, in town to sell the 1,114-page manuscript written by her daughter Terry, who, after her 27th rejection letter, hanged herself. Along with a ton of old gossip and dropped names (including "the pricks at Kirkus"), Goldsmith melds her tale with a user's guide to publishing ("Now was not the time to think about Alf and his disloyalty, her daughter's wasted life. . . . Now only remember that half of all mass market paperbacks sold were romances—almost a billion dollars in annual sales").

Despite some lapses in dramatic tension, a bright and entertaining education in bookmaking where the good get bestsellers and the bad never eat in the Grill Room again.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.79(h) x 1.57(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Nobody ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have triedwhile trying to write one.
—Robert Byrne

Terry was looking down at the pilled cuff of her sweater when she saw Robertaapproaching. Roberta had an even sadder look than usual on her plain face.Terry was not surprised. Business at The Bookstall had dropped off a lotover the summer, when any West Sider with disposable income uses it to getout of Manhattan on the weekends. But now, with Christmas coming, businesshad not picked up, probably because of the superstore that had planted itselfon twenty thousand square feet just two downtown blocks away.
Roberta was a little woman, small-boned and birdlike. Terry liked the waythe older woman looked. Her skin had those tiny, even fine lines that fair-skinnedbrunettes are often saddled with, though Roberta's hair had gone from brownto gray long ago. Now Roberta laid her hand on Terry's ratty sleeve. Reluctant,Terry looked into Roberta's sad brown eyes.
"I have some bad news," Roberta said, but Terry didn't need tobe told. She'd seen it coming. Still, Roberta was from the old school, theone where people took responsibility for their actions and felt they owedexplanations. She lived up to her name: Roberta Fine. "I don't thinkI have to tell you that it's not your performance, and that it's certainlynot personal," Roberta began. "You know how much I've enjoyedworking with you the last year and a half." Terry, a writer, heardthe nuance. She didn't need Roberta to continue, though she did. "Buteven on a part-time basis, I simply can't afford . . ." Roberta paused,shook her head, and briskly licked her lipsfor a moment, as if moisteningthem would make the words come out more easily. "The only other option. . ." Roberta began, then stopped.
Terry merely nodded her head. They both looked over at Margaret Bartholemew.Poor Margaret. Older even than Roberta, lumpy Margaret was hunched in thecorner, awkwardly packing a box of returns. She lost her grip and half adozen books fell to the floor, one of them tearing. No credit for that return.Roberta closed her eyes briefly and sighed. She lowered her already quietvoice.
"I can't let Margaret go," Roberta almost whispered. "Sheonly has this and Social Security. Without a place to come to each day,people to talk to, well . . . I've been over it a hundred times, Terry,but I just can't—"
Terry smiled and shook her head. "No problem," she said. She triedto muster some humor. "I mean it. It's not like you were paying mewhat I was worth."
"A price beyond rubies," Roberta nodded, her face still serious.She patted Terry's pilled cuff. Then she sighed again. "The truth is,I don't know how long I'll be able to keep the store going. But that's notyour concern." Roberta shook her head. "After twenty-seven years,you'd think that people would have some loyalty, that they would . . ."She paused. In all the time Terry had known Roberta, first as a customerat The Bookstall and later as an employee, she'd never heard Roberta bitter.Well, she didn't hear any bitterness now, exactly. Just disappointment and,perhaps, a little hurt surprise. Terry knew all about both of these feelings.
Roberta just shrugged her birdlike shoulders as if to end the conversationand reached up to pat Terry's arm. "You're young and talented. You'llmove on to other things soon. But I'm so sorry, dear." And it was that,the word dear, that made the tear slip out.

The tear had been Terry's only surprise. She had seen the end coming—andnot just the end of her little part-time job at The Bookstall. As she swungnorth up Columbus Avenue, Terry was numb. She carried her pilled sweater,a hairbrush, and a few other personal belongings in a biodegradable Bookstallbag—along with the copy of Alice Thomas Ellis's new short-story collectionthat Roberta had inscribed and insisted Terry take as a gift. Terry feltno anger, no pain. After all, the job hadn't given her enough to live on,not even in the limited way she lived, including the tiny income from themanuscript typing she did on the side.
Terry thought of Roberta and how the older woman had called her young andtalented. So why did Terry feel so old and used up? After she had finishedher Columbia dissertation, and after she'd spent the tail end of her loansand grants, she had managed to support herself for the last eight yearson marginal jobs at copy centers, word-processing services, and then atThe Bookstall, while she wrote, edited, rewrote, submitted, and resubmittedher manuscript, her magnum opus, the book that explained the world as shesaw it. And she'd failed.
While friends around her took real jobs, got promoted, married, and movedon, she'd only written. And not just written—she'd also tried to sell herwork. She wasn't one of those slackers who was so terrified of rejectionthat they never attempted to be published at all. Terry had tried. She'dkept careful lists. She knew how to research. She'd figured out the best,most literary editors and submitted the book to them at the ever-dwindlingnumber of publishing houses in New York, holding her breath while an editorconsidered her work, living through the rejection and watching her targetshrink as one firm was subsumed by another. Well, the corporate-acquisitionballet hadn't mattered in the end because they'd all rejected her.

Meet the Author

Olivia Goldsmith is the bestselling author of The First Wives Club, Flavor of the Month, Fashionably Late, The Bestsller, Marrying Mom,and Switcheroo. She lives in south Florida and is no longer young or a wife.

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