Wednesday, October 11, 2006

John Grisham: A Bestseller in Three Months Flat

John Grisham's strategy for bestseller success: He begins writing a book every August and finishes it by Turkey Day, according to a feature on the legal-thriller master in the new issue of Time magazine (10/16).

How many words a day? Not sure, but whatever formula he uses, it's a success, in terms of commercial prospects for his books.

Harry Crews once said that he forces himself to write 500 good words a day, and that he took up that habit after hearing something similar from Graham Greene. Greene, by the way, was Crews' favorite author: He studied Greene's books, including The Heart of the Matter, quite closely in an effort to suss out Greene's approach to structure, dialogue, etc. Crews has also said that he identifies strongly with Greene's complicated (to say the least) relationship with Christian faith.

The Time piece coincides with the publication of The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, a crime story that counts as Grisham's first non-fiction book.

Facts and figures about Grisham's success at moving units (books), according to Time: He sold more than 60 million books during the 1990s, and he was responsible for the country's best-selling novel every year during a seven-year period beginning in 1994.

His personal favorites (of his own books), according to the story: A Painted House, A Time to Kill and The Firm.

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