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How We Assembled Indiespensable #10

Algonquin publishes smart books with a wide commercial appeal. Think Water for Elephants. Think Mudbound. A Reliable Wife fits the bill precisely.

On a Friday in February, we gave an advance copy to Kim. After the weekend, we asked her, "Have you started it?" To which she replied, "Oh, my God, yes. And I just want to go home and read more."

Her response, it turns out, is common.

It was around this time that Carolyn Kellogg at Jacket Copy, the LA Times books blog, asked Dave, "Are you excited about any new fiction this spring?"

"Come a day," he told her, "you might get sick of hearing about A Reliable Wife so many people will have read it and raved to you about it.""Come a day," he told her, "you might get sick of hearing about A Reliable Wife — so many people will have read it and raved to you about it."

[Editor's note: Dave strikes again. As we prepare this note for the blog, A Reliable Wife is the bestselling book at Powell's Portland stores and #3 among online customers.]

The decision had been made. But what else would go in the box?

"Little blue vials?" someone suggested. Too macabre, we decided.

After several dead ends of that sort, we remembered something Robert Goolrick had said in the interview: "When I started to write Reliable Wife," he explained, "I actually started with the final scene, the scene with Catherine and Ralph in the garden."

The garden — aha! And this box would be shipping in springtime... Fittingly, it was Kim who discovered Garden-in-a-Bag. And who doesn’t like basil? No one we know would admit to such a thing.

Next, we asked Craig Popelars, the marketing director at Algonquin, "What are you excited about publishing this coming fall?" "Going Away Shoes," he replied. Knowing Jill McCorkle, this shouldn’t have surprised us ­— five of her last eight books have been New York Times Notables.

We hope you're as pleased with Indiespensable's tenth installment as we are — and pleased once again in six weeks when your basil is ready to eat.

P.S. Hey, subscribers! How can we make Indiespensable even better? Please take our short survey and let us know! (Editor's Note: This survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make Indiespensable even better!)

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Water for Elephants
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  2. Mudbound
    Used Trade Paper $6.50
  3. A Reliable Wife
    Used Hardcover $5.95
  4. Going Away Shoes Sale Hardcover $2.95

One Response to "How We Assembled Indiespensable #10"

    Amellia May 11th, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I have to say, I hated the insert for this falls book, "Going Away Shoes." By the way, I hope that was the correct title. The insert was way to "different" and "REALLY" makes me want to read more. Now, why couldn't it be included in next months shipment...I know, I know, it isn't released till fall. The problem is making me wait that long! I already feel sorry for this woman, and want to know about this odd truck in the driveway. Please hurry Powells!

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