How I Became A Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

"If you could write a book and act like you meant it, the reward was country estates and supple college girls."

A few weeks ago I read a review for this book over at Farmlane Books. When Jackie said she recommended this novel to "anyone with an interest in the publishing industry" I knew I had to read it, and I'm so happy I did. This is the funniest novel I've read in a long time and like Jackie said, if you keep up with the publishing industry I highly recommend you read this book.

Without giving too much away, How I Became A Famous Novelist is a satire of the publishing industry and exposes its hypocrisies, lampooning the majority of today's best-selling authors. If you're well-versed in the New York Times bestselling authors, you'll be able to pick up on the fact that Hely's fictional authors have real-life counterparts (I'm looking at you Dan Brown and you too, James Patterson, and the team of 30 ghost writers you employ).

This book made me consider the publishing industry in a new light. Of course like any industry, it's goal is to make money and this book exposes the cost of that motivation in a thoughtful way. It critiques the current state of popular fiction in America and how it came to be.
Since when has anybody wanted to hear the truth? People hate the truth. It's literally their least favorite thing in the entire universe. People will believe thousands of different lies in succession rather than confront a single scintilla of truth... People don't trot down to Barnes & Noble to pay $24.95 for the truth.
I really can't reccomend this book enough. It was laugh out loud funny, and I never say that. While the overall tone of the book is cynical, it ends in a hopeful note, which in turn makes me hopeful that the industry I love so dearly isn't as dire as it may seem.

Publisher: Black Cat, 2009


  1. This sounds like fun. Sometimes a little satire is refreshing...

  2. Wow - you read that quick - it takes me months to get to recent recommendations :-) I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this one too. It is nice to read something so funny. I almost included that quote about the truth too, and I loved the bit about wanting a life like a fish...so many great quotes in this book!

  3. This sounds fantastic and I'm always up for a little satire

  4. I was on board before when you said it was one of the funniest books you'd read in a while, but you pointing out that it makes fun of Dan Brown literally just sent me to B&N to order it.

    Did you ever check out The Thieves of Manhattan, by Adam Langer? Probably not as funny as this, but still a good lampoon of the publishing industry.

  5. bibliophiliac, It is quite refreshing.

    farmlame, This is what happened. I read your review, wanted to read it, and ended up seeing it at B&N a few days later (without having consulted my TBR). After I read the back of the book, I knew I had to get it.

    Red, I think you would like it!

    Greg, I'm excited you ordered it! Also, I've had the Thieves of Manhattan on my TBR list for awhile now but haven't been able to find it yet. I'll try harder to track it down. Thanks!

  6. OKAY- THe quotation you provided convinces me that I have to read this soon! A good laugh is just what I need right now! Thanks :)

  7. Beth, This book is good for a laugh!

  8. People don't trot down to Barnes & Noble to pay $24.95 for the truth.

    Gold :O)

  9. Ben, Seriously! I think you would really like this book.

  10. James Patterson has 30 ghost writers?! :O

  11. Tiny Library, I was exaggerating, but I do know he has a good many of them.