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Self-help blockbusters and first fiction jumpstart the buzz at August sales conferences
As booksellers watched summer reading tables sell down and unpacked the first boxes of new fall books, sales reps across the country flew to the steamy Eastern Seaboard--Manhattan, Baltimore, St. Petersburg, Fla.--looking ahead to spring. In search of early word of the most talked-about titles, PW scanned the lists and caught up with publishers, publicists and sales reps from HarperCollins, Penguin Putnam, Perseus Books Group, Random House and Simon & Schuster. On the phone in their hotel rooms, on breaks between sessions and even calling from Baltimore's Union Station, executives hailed new books from old friends (Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Tom Clancy, Gary Zukav) along with a strong lineup of first fiction. Focusing on books whose printings were bumped up from the 30,000- to 60,000-copy range, whose ARC quantities increased and whose authors got expanded tours, PW uncovered some key titles with the vibrant aura that only good buzz can create.
New Year, New Resolutions
It wouldn't be January without a cascade of self-help and healthy lifestyle titles to ease the path to self-renewal. Two juggernauts, each co-written by two bestselling authors, open and close the season and will cast long shadows. In January, Putnam will publish Cod and the Evolving Universe: The Next Step in Personal Evolution by James Redfield--who dominated the New York Times bestseller list for more than three years with The Celestine Prophecy and The Tenth Insight--and Michael Murphy, cofounder of the Esalen Institute and author of the classic golf novel, Golf in the Kingdom. Also joined at the spine are integrative medicine guru Andrew Weil and Oprah Winfrey's former chef, Rosie Daly, who are out to demonstrate to America that healthy food can taste great. Tying in with the authors' 26-part PBS cooking series that will begin in April and run throughout the year, and barreling into stores with I a projected 750,000-copy first printing, their cookbook, The Healthy Kitchen, emphasizes easy recipes with fr esh, organic foods. Paul Bogaards, Knopf's executive director of publicity, who conceived the book and helped interest PBS in the series, finds Rosie Daly reminiscent of Julia Child in her attitude that it's okay to make a mistake in the kitchen. The book and TV series will be virtually inescapable, since Knopf has been besieged by requests for multiple appearances on …