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Friday, June 15, 2012

Indie author gets seven-figure deal

Not so long ago, I ruminated about indie books on the NYT bestseller list

One was Tracey Garvis Graves

Last week, she hit the jackpot, signing  a two-book deal with Dutton & Plume, which she says is worth “seven figures, a good seven figures.”

The New York publisher, which declines to release book-deal figures, acquired Graves’ surprise e-book best-seller, “On the Island,” and her forthcoming novel, “Covet,” which will be released in 2013.

“It’s life-changing,” Graves told the Des Moines Register, which has chronicled her path from rejection to viral e-book sensation. “I’m happy for my good fortune and humbled by it. I’m not sure what happened.”

What happened is this: The 45-year-old Clive (Iowa) mother of two rose before the sun and work at Wells Fargo every day and tapped out a steamy novel about a 30-year-old English teacher shipwrecked on an island with a 16-year-old student.

She was rejected by 40 book agents and 14 traditional publishers so she spent $1,500 for editing and formatting and posted the e-book on It sold only 100 copies in the first month, then took off by word of mouth and thousands of positive online reviews from readers.

Last week the title rose to No. 7 for e-books and print sales combined on the New York Times best-seller list.

Only Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games series sold better on Amazon.

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