How many times have you handed the Writers Digest to hopeful authors, knowing that the odds are stacked against them? Take heart, sometimes that act can lead to a bestseller.

The Weight of Silence, an original trade paperback, landed on the NYT Trade Paperback bestseller list at #7 last week. The momentum is continuing; it moved from #35 to #29 on this week’s USA Today general list. According to the author’s hometown Dubuque, IA, paper, the author, Heather Gudenkauf, found her agent through the Writers Digest (we’re willing to bet it was a library copy).

A year and a half later, Harlequin’s Mira imprint fell in love with it. They loved it so much that they gave it a level of promotion that they rarely do for a first novel. Others got on board; BookReporter.com made it one of their “Bets On” titles, Borders put it in their “Make Books” program, and independent booksellers chose it for the August Indie Next list. To catch some of the excitement, read Carol Fitzgerald’s rave in BookReporter.com; it sounds like a perfect RA and book club title.

Libraries are showing heavy holds on modest ordering (it had a strong, but not over-the-top review in Publishers Weekly).

Mira has also bought the author’s second book; the working title is The Foundling Wheel.

The Weight of Silence
Heather Gudenkauf
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira – (2009-07-28)
ISBN / EAN: 077832740X / 9780778327400

3 Responses to “Holds Alert: WEIGHT OF SILENCE”

  1. Jessica Strawser Says:

    All of us at Writer’s Digest love to hear stories like this one. Thank you for the post!

    Jessica Strawser
    Editor, WD

  2. Brock Martin Says:

    FYI… it’s “Dubuque”

  3. Nora Rawlinson Says:


    Thanks for correcting my typo; don’t know how I managed to rename it “Debuque.”

    As a midwesterner, I DO know better.