Mrs. Muir Had it Easy!

In the 1947 Oscar-nominated movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the young widow Mrs. Muir became a best-seller with precious little effort.

The ghost, a deceased sea captain, dictates his tales of a seaman’s life in vivid detail. Mrs. Muir merely had to take it to a publisher and convince him to read it. Naturally, it was a page-turner that became a huge success and solved her most pressing problems. I’m happy for her. Really, I am.

That’s a lovely fiction, but the reality is that best-selling novelists expend tremendous effort bringing their books to readers’ attention. The days of the all-powerful New York publisher have waned.

Instead, authors are expected to market their books themselves, with a little help from the publisher. Some even expect marketing plans to be submitted shortly after the manuscript. Mrs. Muir had it easy!

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