'Bridget Jones' Diary': Pamela Dorman

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Helen Fielding's novel about Bridget Jones, the self-obsessed young British career woman, made some American editors wonder if it was too full of references to English cultural quirks.

But Pamela Dorman, VP-executive editor for Penguin Putnam, New York, knew instantly that "Bridget Jones' Diary" would be a hit here when she read the manuscript in 1996. "The book introduced a fresh attitude about single women that just grabbed me," says Ms. Dorman, 44, who suspects she won the bidding war for U.S. publishing rights by overnighting a pair of Bridget's trademark black stockings to the author.

"Diary" became a U.S. best seller in 1998, helped by extensive promotions in bookstores for those who had not heard the buzz. When the Miramax Films movie version followed this year, Penguin Putnam experienced blockbuster sales by promoting a film tie-in version of the paperback and a 64-page "Bridget Jones' Guide to Life."

Ms. Dorman says: "Book marketing is still very unscientific ... but we really caught the wave with 'Bridget.' "

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