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9780743210898

Green Mile
Green Mile
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  • ISBN-13: 9780743210898
  • ISBN: 0743210891
  • Edition: 1
  • Publication Date:
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster

AUTHOR

SUMMARY

Introduction By Ralph VicinanzaWednesday night...early September...the end of a long, late summer day. My assistants had just left the office when the fax machine went off. I figured it must be the NYT bestseller list, since publishers get the list ten days before it runs in the paper and Signet would be sending over a copy. Each week since the first monthly installment ofThe Green Milewas published in March '96 had been thrilling. But this could be it...a singular achievement. And there it was: six titles on the paperback bestseller list, including the last title, Coffey on the Mile, at #1 for that week of September 15. While any new Stephen King work of fiction does well, I hadn't really expectedThe Green Mileto be the success it turned out to be. There were serious risks involved. But there it was...a huge accomplishment and a new first for Stephen King.First-time achievements have been the hallmark of Steve's career. Still, when I met Steve in 1978, I had to grapple with disappearing translation markets for his novels. While Steve's sales were growing to phenomenal levels here in the United States and even in the United Kingdom, the initial reaction to his work in translation was lackluster, and sales were diminishing. His U.S. agent at the time approached me with the idea of handling his authors in the overseas territories. Steve had voiced his concern that Doubleday, had controlled the King novels overseas, hadn't been able to build any of these markets and that sales were faltering. My strategy was fairly simple. The European hardcover was the domain of the self-appointed literati, and many of these readers would have a bias against a commercial novelist like King. Also, the very expensive hardcover (close to $35 in many European markets back in '80) would be a burden for typical King readers, most of them in their twenties. Over the course of the next few years, I resold rights to have Steve's novels reissued in handsome paperback editions that we sold at relatively inexpensive prices. We grew the markets carefully and steadily. By the time It was released in the mid-'80s, King was a household name throughout most of Europe. When King's German publisher released the book in a larger trade paperback edition retailing for about $20, the book sold an unprecedented 700,000 copies. Normal hardcover sales for a German best-seller were around 100,000 copies. So, obviously, the impact of this marketing was huge. This course repeated itself throughout Europe and the rest of the world, making Stephen King the first truly international megaselling author.The origins ofThe Green Milelook very modest in retrospect. Malcolm Edwards, a British editor who has also been a friend for more than twenty years, and his family were guests of mine on Long Island in December of '94. I was showing Malcolm my collection of autographed King books when we came upon the first three annual installments of a project entitled The Plant, which King self-published and gave out to family and friends as Christmas gifts. Steve had abandoned the project because after Little Shop of Horrors was released he thought the premise was too similar. But, in his own way, Steve had started his first serial novel back then in the early '80s. Malcolm and I talked briefly about the literary tradition of novels written in installments and notably the works of Charles Dickens. I chuckled about the real estate agent who sold me this house just a few years earlier and told me she thought that the house suited me perfectly because it looked like it came right out of a Dickens novel. Well, I think more Austen than Dickens, but the coincidence was comical.About three months later Malcolm phoned from London and suggested that I approach Steve with the idea of doing a serial novel. The idea had stayed with Malcolm and he thought that it could be commercially viable. We talked over the logistics. Malcolm's idea wasKing, Stephen is the author of 'Green Mile', published 2000 under ISBN 9780743210898 and ISBN 0743210891.

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