Different Drummer

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions,perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." ~Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

“I've told you to look for opportunity, dear Tess. Keep your head up, not down. Don't settle for safety. Push forward-you are not foolish to try.” 
― Kate AlcottThe Dressmaker

Ladies of Walden Pond met at Carolyn's home Thursday, February 27th to discuss Kate Alcott's book, The Dressmaker.   Most everyone enjoyed reading the book.  A lot of the discussion centered around the fact that this book presented just enough information to make you want to learn more about a particular person, event or subject.  Several members searched online to find out which characters in the book were real and which were fictional.  Others searched out more information on the Titanic and the investigations after the sinking of the ship.

This is an interesting article from the New York Times about The Dressmaker:
"Patricia O’Brien had five novels to her name when her agent, Esther Newberg, set out last year to shop her sixth one, a work of historical fiction called “The Dressmaker.”
A cascade of painful rejections began. Ms. O’Brien’s longtime editor at Simon & Schuster passed on it, saying that her previous novel, “Harriet and Isabella,” hadn’t sold well enough.
One by one, 12 more publishing houses saw the novel. They all said no.
Just when Ms. O’Brien began to fear that “The Dressmaker” would be relegated to a bottom desk drawer like so many rejected novels, Ms. Newberg came up with a different proposal: Try to sell it under a pen name.
Written by Kate Alcott, the pseudonym Ms. O’Brien dreamed up, it sold in three days.
Ms. O’Brien and Ms. Newberg 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 — with a centuries-old trick, the nom de plume. It has been employed by writers from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) to Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) to Stephen King (Richard Bachman).
“It meant that the story I had wanted to tell had sold,” said Ms. O’Brien, a chatty 70-something who wears her hair in a smooth brown bob, talking over a tray of herbal tea and lemon cookies this week in her spacious apartment in the Wyoming building in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood here. “My book wasn’t getting a fair chance. And choosing a pen name gave it a fair chance.”

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