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Sunday, June 17, 2012

"a modern publishing scourge"

Circumventing the system

Author Patricia O'Brien had trouble publishing her sixth novel, a timely historical with a Titanic setting, called The Dressmaker.  More than a dozen publishers turned it down, because her fifth novel had not sold very well.

So her agent, Esther Newberg, had the bright idea of sending it out under a penname, "Kate Alcott."

It sold in three days--to Random House.

The New York Times commented that the two women had "cannily circumvented what many authors see as a modern publishing scourge--Nielsen BookScan, the subscription service that tracks book sales and is at the fingertips of every agent, editor and publisher" who is willing to pay to get the figures.

And they had done it "with a centuries-old trick, the nom-de-plume."

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