The story of a popular novelist suffering from writer’s block following the death of his wife, Bag of Bones (529 pages) made news when King decided to leave his longtime publisher Viking for Scribner, once the imprint of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bag of Bones, a ghost story that owes much to Daphne du Maurier’s gothic romance novel Rebecca, is one of the first King books marketed as much as literature as it was a horror story.
King: I was squeezed out at Viking, because Phyllis Grann came from Putnam, and she brought with her Tom Clancy, who sold more books than I did. There was a feeling at Viking that they couldn’t support two big money writers. And I was the one that went. In terms of profits and loss, that made sense, although Clancy’s kind of dropped out of sight. But the people I still deal with at Scribner were people who were interested in the book rather than in the reputation of the writer, which was a penny-dreadful reputation at that point. I give them a lot of credit. To some degree, they rehabilitated my reputation.