Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Why publishers are betting big on debut novelists

After reading just two pages of Emma Cline’s luminous novel The Girls — about the young women flocking around a Manson-like cult figure — Random House editor Kate Medina shut her door. “I said, ‘I’m not doing anything else. I’m not talking to anybody. I’m just reading this book,’” she recalls. And when she finished, Medina offered Cline a three-book, reported $2 million deal. (The book hits stores in June.)

Cline isn’t the only debut author who reportedly scored a whopper of an advance. Others include Stephanie Danler, whose coming-of-age novel Sweetbitter goes on sale in May; Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney, whose just-published dysfunctional-family romp The Nest is at No. 2 on the New York Times list; and Imbolo Mbue, whose novel Behold the Dreamers — the story of an immigrant couple working for a Lehman Brothers exec in 2008 — is due in August.

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