Chicago author Audrey Niffenegger, who wrote her way to the best seller lists six years ago with The Time Traveler's Wife, has apparently snared a $5 million advance for her followup novel, Her Fearful Symmetry.
Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, was the big winner in a hot bidding war, which also included Time Travleler publisher MacAdam Cage and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which published the paperback.
Audrey Niffenegger is also a visual artist and faculty member at Columbia College Chicago. (Al Podgorski~Sun-Times)
I would say it's a bit of a gamble for a publisher to shell out so much money for a second novel, not only in this climate of a crumbling economy, but also because second novels don't usually ever match the success of the first.
Scribner VP and editor in chief Nan Graham isn't worried.
"She really has defied custom and written a spectacular second novel, which is one of the hardest things to do in this universe," Graham told the New York Times. "She's not selling it essentially on the success of her first book."
Time will tell. The publishing industry is hurting as much as any industry these days, with layoffs and cutbacks at every turn, so kudos to Niffenegger, whose writing obviously is good enough to garner $5 million worth of confidence on their part.
Her Fearful Symmetry is scheduled for release this fall.