Midwest Author Advises Patience

There are various bruising anecdotes about William Kent Krueger’s career arc as a novelist that will ring true to many a struggling writer: the early rejections by literary agents (there were 36); the paucity of crowds on those first bookstore appearances (where, he recounted, it wasn’t unusual for the audience to consist of “the bookseller and the bookseller’s cat”); the dreaded label as a midlist author. Though not necessarily a household name, Krueger is very much a success in the eyes of his longtime publisher, Atria. He’s just released his 20th novel with the Simon & Schuster imprint, This Tender Land (which debuted at #6 on PW’s hardcover frontlist fiction bestseller list), and, according to the publisher, more than two million copies of his books are in print. His story is an example of what publishers claim they want to do but find it increasingly hard to accomplish: grow an author.

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