April 15, 2010; Boston Globe | Writing a book is hard work but getting anyone to read it if you are not a known quantity seems lately impossible. Yet here comes a story that may cause aspiring authors everywhere to dust off their half written manuscripts. Paul Harding, an unemployed former rock band drummer wrote “Tinkers”, this year’s winner for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He was paid a hefty $1,000 advance from a small nonprofit publisher, the Bellevue Literary Press, and a small initial run of 3,500 copies was produced.
There was really no marketing budget to speak of but apparently the book read like a dream and it started getting attention from people who liked it who talked to other people who also liked it. Eventually, it was mentioned on NPR and in Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best books of the year. “The New Yorker raved about it, as did the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe.” And then “Last fall, an administrator from the Pulitzer office called Goldman and requested Bellevue submit “Tinkers.” Recognizing the company’s nonprofit status, the Pulitzer folks waived the $50 submission fee.” and the rest is history.
I cannot wait to read it myself. Small nonprofits rock the arts!—Ruth McCambridge