After spending more than six years researching and writing a thriller called
Capital Offense, Kathleen Antrim
submitted her novel to some larger publishers. An editor at Ballantine liked it.
But before they'd signed a contract, he was fired. Rather than wait for a larger
publisher to make a decision, she decided to self-publish the book herself via
AuthorHouse, a print-on-demand company.
When she got her first copies, she sent one to the book buyer at Costco, who
loved it and bought it in hardcover. With Costco ordering in quantity, she put
up $10,000 to print more copies and got Ingram to keep it in distribution.
By October 2002, she began her first book tour to 15 northern California
Costco stores. Somehow during this time, the mother of a White House press
officer got a copy, read it, and loved it so much her son gave a copy to Laura
Bush. Since the novel's premise is based on a first lady plotting to overthrow
the president, there was a natural tie-in to Laura Bush. As Antrim notes:
The genesis of the novel was when Bill Clinton was elected
president and Hillary Clinton demanded a West Wing office. I became very curious
about the power of first ladies and to whom they were accountable. I got out a
copy of the U.S. Constitution, did more research, and realized that first ladies
are accountable to no one.
Soon, the White House requested 12 more copies of Capital Offense. At
the same time, the first lady's office sent a letter to Antrim thanking her.
Emboldened by this interest, Antrim took a booth at BookExpo America. With sales
of 10,000 copies, she was able to attract the interest of Ibooks, which launched
the novel as a mass-market paperback with a first printing of 50,000 copies at
BookExpo America in 2004.