Berkley is on something of a book club roll. In January 2008 it released the paperback reprint of Kate Jacobs’s The Friday Night Knitting Club, with a 200,000-copy initial print run. A successful marketing and publicity campaign led to paperback sales of more than a million copies. And now the publisher is hoping to repeat that success with another women’s fiction title, The Postmistress by Sarah Blake.
Putnam/Amy Einhorn published Postmistress in February 2010. The novel weaves together the stories of three very different women loosely tied to each other, and moves back and forth between small town America and war-torn Europe in 1940. PW’s review praised its “deft sense of character and plot, and a perfect willingness to take on big, complex questions, such as the merits of truth and truth-telling in wartime.”
Like Einhorn’s long-running bestseller The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Postmistress hit the New York Times bestseller list when it came out in hardcover, though it only stayed on the list four weeks (Help has been on 89 weeks as of December 26, and Berkley has no plans to release a paperback, with the hardcover doing so well). Berkley’s paperback sales force thinks the trade paper version of Postmistress has serious potential, though. The book is set to drop February 1, 2011. Like Knitting Club, the first printing is over 200,000 copies, and a Berkley spokesperson said the house “expects to double that within a few months.”
Blake has published one previous novel, Grange House, with Picador in 2000. She’ll go on a month-long national tour to promote Postmistress in February to Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle, among other cities. Berkley also says it’s lining up print, TV, and radio coverage for the book, and Nantucket’s One Book One Island has already selected the book for its 2011 program.
We’ll wait to see if Berkley can ring twice with this one.