The Making of a Posthumous Best-Seller

At NPR, Martha Woodroof reports on how the global success of Stieg Larsson’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO translated very well in the United States:

Knopf Editor-in-Chief Sonny Mehta, who snapped up the rights to [Larsson’s] thrillers, says he was attracted to the “absolute ambition” of the


“It’s a multigeneration family saga. It’s a story of

corporate corruption, of religious fanaticism. It’s about the darker

elements in contemporary society,” says Mehta. “And then, at its basic

level, it’s a kind of a classic locked-room mystery.”

Still, the

fact that the trilogy’s author is dead complicated things. Knopf

publicity director Paul Bogaards began the marketing effort by

romancing booksellers months before publication with a flood of advance

reading copies.

“The retail channel was key,” says Bogaards. “In

the absence of bookseller enthusiasm you might, as a publisher, have a


Woodroof also interviewed me for the piece with regards to the buzz that built on various blogs like mine and The Rap Sheet about Larsson’s work, and why Larsson’s sense of empathy for his characters made DRAGON TATTOO stand out.

Speaking of The Rap Sheet, Ali Karim has been tracking all things Larsson-related of late, including UK publisher Quercus’s grand plans for THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE upon its publication in January, and another accolade coming from South Africa.