Born Again In Brazil: American Self-Help Guru Steven Carter Is Seeing His Relationship Books Soar As Women Reject Macho Culture
Author Experiences A “Hasselhoff Moment” As Sales Of His Relationship Books Break All Records In Latin America
It’s an author’s dream come true – making the bestseller list week after week, traveling on a multi-city book tour, seeing your books fly off the bookstore shelves, and relishing in a bit of literary fame. For Steven Carter, the American author who once coined the phrase “commitmentphobia”, that dream has come true – only in Brazil.
Two of Carter’s books, “What Smart Women Know” and “Men Like Women Who Like Themselves,” originally published in the 1990’s, have remained on the bestseller lists of Brazil’s biggest newspapers and magazines, including Folha de S. Paulo and Revista Veja, for 98 consecutive weeks. Last week, the Los Angeles times published an article about Carter’s stunning success.
To read this article, visit: http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-et-self26-2008jul26,0,2920383.story
“It’s the last thing in the world I expected" said Carter, who lives with his wife in Los Angeles and currently serves as Dean of Administration at Yo San University, a school of Chinese medicine in Los Angeles, California.
Carter, the author of 20 books including seven national bestsellers and the New York Times bestseller “Men Who Can’t Love”, didn’t find out that his books were on Brazil’s bestseller lists until he received his first royalty check in the mail.
“I was certain a mistake had been made because it was a check for $60,000,” said Carter, who had sold the international rights to his books years before but only now has cashed in on it. “There were so many zeroes! It didn’t seem possible, and I was certain I’d have to return the money. But after a few phone calls, I discovered that no mistake had been made. It was quite a thrill.”
Only certain American self-help books do well in the international market. But Brazil seems ripe for some American-style self-help.
Carter’s Brazilian publisher, Marcos Pereira, co-owner of the self-help and spirituality publishing company GMT Sextante, said that when he met Carter he learned that “Men Who Like Women Who Like Themselves” had not been a blockbuster in the U.S. That didn’t phase him at all, knowing how strongly Brazilian women respond to well-written psychological material.
The book has already sold more than 100,000 copies in Brazil. “What Smart Women Know,” which sold almost half a million copies in the U.S., has already sold close to 400,000 copies in Brazil.
“We’re a very focused company in terms of our business -- one of the ways we try to find books is to establish what kinds of books would identify with the reader,” Pereira said.
“The role of women in the Brazilian culture or economy has evolved,” Pereira said. “If you think of the U.S. 20 years ago, I think this is happening now in Brazil. In this case, women rethink their role.”
Carter heads back to Brazil next week for the Sao Paulo book expo and another round of media appearances, book signings and lectures. Despite his hundreds of thousands of Brazilian disciples, Carter has yet to learn Portuguese (he travels with a translator). But he believes that the themes of his books are not lost in translation. Noted Carter, “There is something very universal about falling in love, about getting your heart broken, about picking up the pieces, about becoming whole again.”
To read the complete L.A. Times article, cut and paste this link in your web browser: http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-et-self26-2008jul26,0,2920383.story
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