Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Case of the Best-Selling Author - How a former Pan Am stewardess has stayed at the top of the publishing game since 1975..

Mary Higgins Clark is 83 years old, and next month she will publish another bestselling suspense novel with Simon & Schuster, as she's done for decades. This year the new book should sell about 3.7 million copies around the world. But in a lengthy piece the WSJ asks the question many people secretly want to know, but don't necessarily want to voice aloud: how can her brand, so carefully maintained for so long, endure as she nears the twilight of her career and persist even after she's gone? Clark, it turns out, is open to having other writers continue her books; her children, however are opposed, "wary of diluting her legacy."

"They don't want 'From the Mary Higgins Clark tradition,' " Clark said. "I say, 'I think you're foolish.' " Her children object on the grounds that the brand would be degraded, even if there's more money to be made. . "Either she wrote it, or she didn't," son Warren Clark said, with daughter and fellow bestselling author Carol Higgins Clark adding "Her readers have a certain kind of attachment to her. You couldn't have someone else writing them." S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy didn't want to talk about the subject at all: "We don't even want to think about a time when we're not publishing Mary."


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