Self-Publishing Success Makes Big Publishing Splash

By Neal Comment

Earlier this year, we told you about Notes Left Behind, a family’s self-published account of their daughter’s struggle with brain cancer, and the inspiration she continued to give them after her death, that achieved great success after an appearance on Good Morning America, which led to a significant deal with William Morrow just days later. The new edition of the book—which includes photographs of Elena Desserich and her family, along with some of the notes that she’d carefully hidden around the house for them to discover once she was gone, and the family did an interview Wednesday morning with the Today show…

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Wednesday was like “a one-day Cinderella story,” HarperCollins creative director Lisa Sharkey told us during a phone call yesterday afternoon; that eight-minute segment on Today led to an appearance on the AOL home page and “most searched” status at Yahoo! later in the day. “We’ve always been very big cheerleaders for the book, the family, and the cause,” she added, noting that proceeds from the book’s sale go to a foundation the Desserich family established to fund research into a cure for the pediatric brain cancer that took Elena’s life. “We really hope that it takes off as a book for parents the way that The Last Lecture did for adult readers.” And, she predicts, that desired uptick is likely to be spurred by the book’s arrival in actual bookstores this week, once browsers are able to see for themselves the care with which Morrow designed their edition.