Cover Story: A Whole New Playbook
Matthew Quick talks about the Hollywood publicity machine, straddling the line between adult and YA, waiting for limos with Jennifer Aniston, and keeping one's head with a burgeoning fanbase.
BB: How much has the success of Silver Linings boosted your next projects?
MQ: It’s huge, no doubt. In the bookselling business, the most important thing is how many books have you sold. When [my agent] goes to a meeting, that’s going to play a huge role. How much they’re going to give you, how much they’re going to advertise. I’ve come to look at it as the stock market. It’s not how much something is worth, but the perception of what it’s worth. Silver Linings is a book I wrote in 2006, and not a word has changed since 2008. They’re selling it in countries that had rejected it for five years, who didn’t want to translate it. But now they want my next book, too. It creates name recognition. Silver Linings was hovering around No. 7 on Kindle last week; when you turn on your Kindle, the top 10 books come up. When people see it come up again and again, they’re more likely to read it. … What I’ve learned is that no matter how awesome your book is, there are going to be people who like it, and people who don’t like it. So get it into your target market to as many people who are going to like it, so they’ll generate discussion. Granted, it’s immensely easier to do that when you have Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in TV ads and the Weinstein Company putting a lot of advertising into it. Ten years ago in my 20s I would have taken a cynical or dim view of that. Now I look at it and say, “I believe in my work, in my story. I believe it’s going to help people, and I want to get it out as widely as possible.” People who want it, and maybe need it, get it. That’s really the game. … The Good Luck of Right Now is a different kind of story, but it still deals with mental health. The main character has a delusional philosophy. Because of the success of Silver Linings, it now has a built-in audience. It’s a great gift. I intend to use it to hopefully put some good work out.