What Book Did You Pass Up and Later Regret?

In Discussion by Hannah Johnson

In creative businesses like publishing, it’s hard to predict which books will become bestsellers. Have you passed on a book that later became a success?

By Hannah Johnson

At this year’s StoryDrive conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Hollywood producer David Gerson said, “We all make mistakes and pass on great stories. In Hollywood everyone ran around saying ‘who the f*ck passed on the Stieg Larsson books?'”

One of the most interesting things about creative businesses like book publishing and filmmaking is that it’s hard, if not impossible, to accurately predict which projects will become top sellers and which will flop.

Whether you are an agent, editor, publicist or publisher, you have no doubt turned down books or projects that have gone on to become hits in the hands of someone else. Or perhaps there is the one book you wish you had worked on, but it just didn’t fit into your list or you didn’t have time.

So tell us your story in the comments about the one that got away.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.