Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2006

What Are Book Editors Looking for?

Chronicle of Higher Education, July 21, 2006

By Dedi Felman

As an editor for a major publishing company, I am occasionally asked to give talks on what editors are “looking for” in books. It’s always struck me as a curious question. It presumes that we know what we are looking for; that blessed with foresight, we anticipate the Next Big Thing and then instigate a full-bore search for the perfect prepackaged book and author.

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The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS

Keith DevlinThe Numbers Behind NUMB3RS: Solving Crimes with Mathematics, the official companion book to the hit prime-time TV crime series NUMB3RS, by acclaimed popular mathematics writer Keith Devlin (known to millions of NPR listeners as “The Math Guy” on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon) and Gary Lorden (chairman of the Caltech mathematics department and the principal math advisor to the TV show), explaining the actual mathematical techniques used by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to catch and convict criminals, at auction to David Cashion at Plume/Penguin, and Japanese rights to Diamond.

Inside Steve’s Brain

Leander KahneyAuthor of The Cult of Mac and Wired News Managing Editor Leander Kahney‘s Inside Steve’s Brain: the Leadership Secrets of Steve Jobs, an unauthorized look at Steve Jobs’ principles for building killer products, attracting fanatically loyal customers and managing some of the world’s most powerful brands, showing readers how to be a better leader, manager and entrepreneur, at auction to Adrian Zackheim Portfolio/Penguin. Japanese rights to Random House Kodansha, complex Chinese rights to Cite Publishing, simple Chinese rights to Renmin University Press, Brazilian rights to Ediouro, and German rights to Finanzbuch Verlag.

Momma Zen

Momma Zen coverMomma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, is an intimate and inspiring guide to the Zen wisdom found in the everyday lessons of early motherhood. The author, Karen Maezen Miller is a mother, wife, writer and Zen Buddhist priest. She began her Zen training in 1993 as a student of Taizan Maezumi Roshi, the founding abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles, one of the first Japanese masters to bring Zen to the West and a seminal figure in 20th century Zen. Momma Zen reveals how the daily challenges of parenthood can become the mostprofound spiritual journey of our lives. Combining humor, honesty and plainspoken advice, Momma Zen distills the doubts and frustrations of early motherhood into vignettes of Zen wisdom. (Shambhala/Trumpeter Books).

The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion

ACKempA.C. Kemp’s The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion, a brassy, sophisticated anti-etiquette guide, written with the poisoned pen of a pampered, high society grande dame with anecdotes to share and axes to grind, an arch commentary on language and a foul-mouthed parody of etiquette books, to Jennifer Kushnier at Adams Media.