Deals, News, Reviews & Writer’s Resources

Most of us went into publishing because we love to read.  But too many of us get caught up only in our own projects and don’t have time to savor or recommend books that aren’t our own.  Three books have crossed my desk that I simply can’t resist recommending.  Although I know each of the authors, I’m not the agent or publisher for any of them – I just admire them:

Coming soon from Bloomsbury is Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou.  This utterly original book tackles a topic you might consider intimidating – Bertrand Russell’s search for the fundamentals of mathematics – and turns it into something magical and much more – an exploration of the links between genius and madness.  And it’s a graphic novel with delightful art that brings the story to life.  Trust me – you won’t put it down.

Next is Tracy Kidder...

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Geoffrey Nunberg has a very interesting article in today's The Chronicle Review on how Google Book Search's metadata errors effect scholars.

Google's Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars

Start with publication dates. To take Google's word for it, 1899 was a literary annus mirabilis, which saw the publication of Raymond Chandler's Killer in the Rain, The Portable Dorothy Parker, André Malraux's La Condition Humaine, Stephen King's Christine, The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf, Raymond Williams's Culture and Society 1780-1950, and Robert Shelton's biography of Bob Dylan,...

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By Audrey Chait

There is no window in the intern’s alcove where I sit at the Strothman Agency, so I generally have no idea if it’s sunny or pouring buckets. Given the summer I have spent here, it is probably misting humidly in that delightful East Coast way that inflates my hair to the size of Andrew Jackson’s. The agency is tucked away in a building full of law firms at No. 6 Beacon St., and here it has been my pleasure to be an intern at this oasis of historical fiction, food memoir, and teenage superheroes, happily discovering that there are indeed ways to make a career out of reading.

 I read a lot of slush, and some pretty wild things come across my desk. Glittery query letters, missives in other languages,...

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Publisher's Weekly's Soap Box has a hilarious article in the current issue on "prologues, prefaces, introductions, forewords and other ways to clear your throat": 

by Laurence Hughes -- Publishers Weekly, 8/17/2009

".... The introduction is as different from the preface as a hot dog is from a frankfurter. It was created, separate and distinct from the preface, to answer a very pressing need. Unfortunately no one alive today remembers what that was. The introduction also provides recourse for superstitious authors whose books turn out to be 13 chapters in length. Not wishing to tempt fate, they will designate Chapter 1 the Introduction and renumber the other chapters 1–12, in the hope of avoiding bad luck and misfortune. Truman Capote is known to have done this with the final draft of In Cold Blood. Two days later, he was run over by the Hampton Jitney, so the effectiveness of this ploy is still in...

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Client Sashi Kaufman blogs about the writing rule "show don’t tell" and when to break it. 

To read her insight, click here.

 

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Revising, Tips

I saw this article online in THE NEW YORK OBSERVER  this morning and I just had to share it: 

Note to Authors: Make Your Deadlines!

By Leon Neyfakh

 The New York Observer, August 4, 2009 | 7:17 p.m

There was a time not so long ago when authors never had to worry about handing in their manuscripts on time. Deadlines back then were a formality—something publishers took about as seriously in the course of contractual negotiations as they did the profit-and-loss statements they used to justify their acquisitions. If an author hit their delivery date, great! But if they didn’t, that was O.K., too. 

For the most part, that is still true. But as book sales fall and publishing houses look for ways to cut costs, many literary agents are growing...

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Below is a selection from a manuscript we absolutely love that we are
currently sending out on submission.

Marjorie Kemper's Between The Devil & Mississippi  asks what happens when
two neighboring towns separated by class and race clash over a lost child:

At the Phelps' house Adelle slept in a small bedroom next to the back porch.
Besides being Adelle's bedroom it served the Phelps as an interim storage
room for things they didn't use but weren't ready to give away or put up in
the attic.  Besides Adelle's narrow bed, it contained an old set of the
doctor's golf clubs, a dressmaker's dummy corresponding to Margaret Phelps'
pre-Susan-measurements, a bureau and toys out-grown by the children.
           Because of the heat Adelle had shoved her bed under the room's
double windows so she could get the breeze at night.  When there was one.
...

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Jessica at Bookends, LLC has a great post up called Submissions 101, which recaps all the great advice they have given on getting started in your agent search.

I think the best piece of advice in her post is probably the one writers overlook the most:

"I even suggest you’ve already started writing your next book so you have something to focus on besides just the query process."

Keep writing and revising! Check out  Rachelle Gardner's recent post on why you should write another book here.

 

 


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The Depressing Cycle of Racial Accusation

The arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. is about neither racial profiling nor playing the race card.

Last night even the president weighed in, saying police acted "stupidly" by arresting Gates. Strong words, but Obama in his typically diplomatic style was careful to say he couldn't tell what role race played in the incident. The president got it right: There's no plausible justification for the arrest. It was worse than stupid—it was abusive. And that raises the suspicion that it was racially motivated. But there's really no evidence that the police officer involved was a racist rather than a bully with a badge or a decent cop who made a bad call in the...

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Is apathy a brain "disorder?"

Christopher Lane discusses the  fifth edition of The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorderstoday in Slate.  

To read his thoughts, click here.

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Submission Guidelines

Detailed instructions for writers interested in submitting a query to us.

Proposal Writing Suggestions

Our author's guide to writing  Non-Fiction proposals.