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If At First You Don't Succeed...

Posted 2.06.14

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is one of three novelists, profiled by Emily Raboteau in "If At First You Don't Succeed" (March/April 2014), who persevered despite the commercial "failure" of early books. From the profile:

In her mid twenties, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore landed a multiple-six-figure two-book deal on the strength of her first novel, The Effects of Light, (2005) that her publisher, Warner Books, hoped would become the next Lovely Bones. (Like Alice Sebold’s 2002 bestseller, The Effects of Light features a dead-girl narrator.) Before the book came out, the encouraging editor who’d acquired it left the house, leaving Beverly-Whittemore “orphaned.” After her first book fell far short of what turned out to be unrealistic sales expectations, Warner Books didn’t support her second, Set Me Free (2007), with any degree of enthusiasm. In part because her profit-and-loss statements looked so bad, her agent, Anne Hawkins, was unable to sell Beverly-Whittemore’s third book. Years passed. Eventually the money was gone and the writer’s confidence was shaky. Nevertheless, she wrote a fourth. It was rejected eleven times before Christine Kopprasch, a rising editor at Crown, took a chance on it, purchasing world rights with a modest mid-size advance. Foreign rights to Bittersweet, forthcoming in May, have now sold in half a dozen countries, and Miranda’s advance has already been recouped.

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