The bad news: A warehouse with a lacquered cement floor is a major player in the book market.
You’ve seen its memorable cover on the front table at your local bookstore; it’s dabbled around the Indy Bestseller List (currently 8th) and New York Times extended list (currently 24th) for months. And right now you can pick up the new paperback release between snagging that forty pounds of salmon and sixty eight rolls of toilet paper you’ve been meaning to get.
Durrow got our attention not only for writing a lyrical and widely approachable debut novel about a young girl caught between racial definitions and the mystery surrounding her family’s death and her survival, but for pushing through dozens of agent rejections before winning the Barbara Kingsolver prize with her manuscript, then spending the next year working an exhaustive, self-funded, reader-focused, and ultimately hugely successfully reading circuit. She’s one of the answers to the question of how today’s writer can survive the impending digitization and piracy of her books. When half your readers have met you during your visit to their fourteen member book club, neither they nor anyone they can lay hands on will be bittorrenting your work in this lifetime.
By Heidi Durrow
Algonquin (2010 hardcover, Jan 2011 paperback)