Here's a way you know your book is having an impact -- when the New York Times national staff runs a feature on what people think about it. Los Angeles bureau chief John Broder's story yesterday from Corcoran, Calif. deals with the company town's reaction to The King of California: J. G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire, by Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman, a writer and the Business Editor, respectively, at the L.A. Times. As you'd expect, some of the locals who knew Boswell like it, some don't.
The book is selling well in the towns and cities of the Central Valley, from Bakersfield to Fresno, bookshops report. But in Corcoran, which has no bookstore, it is hard to find a copy, or even anyone who admits to having read it. The local paper, The Corcoran Journal, part owned by Boswell, has barely mentioned it. The only appearance in town by the authors was in a darkened high school gymnasium late last fall. A bare handful of the town's 10,000 residents showed up.
"We gave a reading to about a dozen enthusiastic folks, brave folks, I guess," Mr. Arax said. "They bought up quite a few books, maybe 50. That was our big Corcoran event."
Arax's first book, In My Father's Name, certainly had an impact. In it he basically solved the murder of his father. Tip from CaliforniaAuthors.com.