Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald's career itself is a metaphor for the vagaries of book publishing. If Fitzgerald would have had his way, we would today refer to The Great Gatsby as either Gold-Hatted Gatsby, Trimalchio in West Egg, or The High-Bouncing Lover. A few years before Gatsby, Fitzgerald had become a literary sensation at the age of 23; Helen Hooven Santmyer, a contemporary of Fitzgerald's, would not have a successful novel published until she was 88 and living in a nursing home. In this book, the author explores that mysterious place in publishing where art and commerce can either clash, mesh, or both. Along the way, a wide range of authors-from the literary greats to today's commercial superstars-editors, agents and publishers share their thoughts, insights and experiences: What inspires writers? (John Steinbeck, for example, wrote every novel as if it were his last, as if death were imminent.) Why are some books successful and appreciated, while others fall into oblivion? The answers are often elusive, never absolute, but the stories and anecdotes are always fascinating.