“The mystery is worth a book in itself. How could a hitherto unknown novel by Harper Lee, writer of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, remain hidden for 60 years, and why was it not published before? For all the swirling questions, there is one certainty. The book will become a blockbuster without Ms Lee so much as signing a copy. If only every author could be so lucky.
“Standing out as a book writer today requires more than a bright idea and limpid prose. Authors need to become businesspeople as well, thinking strategically about their brand, and marketing themselves and their products. There is more competition for readers’ and reviewers’ attention, and fewer bookshops to provide a showcase for new titles. In 2013 some 1.4m print books were published in America, over five times as many as a decade earlier. Publishers are increasingly focusing their efforts on a few titles they think will make a splash, neglecting less well-known authors and less popular themes.”