Don’t know how accurate it is, but this website provides a list of all the editors who have acquired brand new authors and their first novels within the past two years. It’s a very long list. But at the bottom of the page, this caught my eye:
“Before selling Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan’s first novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life to Little, Brown, literary agent Jennifer Rudolph Walsh of William Morris referred the author to 17th Street Productions, a packager who helped the author to develop her fiction ideas. As Walsh noted in an interview, “We all recognized that Kaavya had the craftsmanship. She’s beautiful and charming. She just needed to find the right novel that would speak to her generation and to people beyond her years as well. We worked on it some more and sold it for oodles and boodles of money.”
Kaavya is a product of admissions frenzy (her novel is described as chick lit meets admissions frenzy). Her parents paid at least $10,000 to a college applications counseling service. Admiring Kaavya’s writing, the head of the service put her in touch with the William Morris Agency which sold the novel to Little, Brown.”
Huh. So she’s beautiful and she’s at Harvard. Therefore…instant writer? With some high priced help? If I was Kaavya and wanted to be taken seriously, I would not want any of that advertised (as in, paying for a packager to help develop her “ideas”), especially because her book seems to have gotten some pretty good reviews.
On the other hand, packager or not, she did get a $500,000 advance, so heck, she’s laughing all the way to the bank.