Professional investment advisor and finance commentator Charles Farrell‘s Your Money Ratios: The Eight Essential Tools for Financial Success, for the first time applying the business concept of key accounting ratios to personal finance and creating eight unique “personal finance ratios” to fundamentally change how individuals manage their financial lives and move them from laborer to capitalist, to Megan Newman at Avery/Penguin.
Self-published in 2005, personal branding consultant Peter Montoya‘s The Brand Called You: Make Your Business Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace is a step-by-step guide for professionals looking to develop a strong company brand. In its first edition, the book became an international sensation, selling more than 65,000 copies worldwide and hitting #3 on Japan’s business bestseller list. Now revised and completely updated, this invaluable guide teaches you the vital principles and skills of personal branding, including how to craft an emotionally resonant branding message, create top-quality branding tools, and attract a constant flow of business. Robert G. Allen and Mark Victor Hansen, coauthors of The One-Minute Millionaire say “Montoya’s Personal Branding ideas are going to change how business owners and professionals promote themselves.” (McGraw-Hill)
Agent Advice: Ted Weinstein of Ted Weinstein Literary
by Chuck Sambuchino
“Agent Advice” (this installment featuring agent Ted Weinstein of Ted Weinstein Literary) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else. This series has more than 170 interviews so far with reps from great literary agencies. This collection of interviews is a great place to start if you are just starting your research on literary agents.
Before the mid-seventeenth century, scholars generally agreed that it was impossible to predict something by calculating mathematical outcomes. One simply could not put a numerical value on the likelihood that a particular event would occur. Even the outcome of something as simple as a dice roll or the likelihood of showers instead of sunshine was thought to lie in the realm of pure, unknowable chance. The issue remained intractable until Blaise Pascal wrote to Pierre de Fermat in 1654, outlining a solution to the “unfinished game” problem: how do you divide the pot when players are forced to end a game of dice before someone has won? The idea turned out to be far more seminal than Pascal realized. From it, the two men developed the method known today as probability theory. In The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern, 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, tells the story of this correspondence and its remarkable impact on the modern world: from insurance rates, to housing and job markets, to the safety of cars and planes, calculating probabilities allowed people, for the first time, to think rationally about how future events might unfold. (Basic Books/Perseus)
USA Today editorial board member Richard Whitmire’s Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind, expanding his recent article in The New Republic, a provocative investigation of the crisis in boys’ education and their downward spiral of worsening school performance, diminishing college prospects and reduced career opportunities, questioning the conventional wisdom, identifying the core reasons for this decline, and offering solutions that are already working in several schools around the country, to AMACOM.
What we eat does have an impact on global warming, and you can enjoy being part of the global-warming solution by following these easy recipes, tips, and techniques outlined by chef and environmental educator Laura Stec and meteorologist Eugene Cordero. Cool Cuisine: Taking The Bite Out of Global Warming presents a realistic view of food and drink and their impact on greenhouse-gas emissions. The food-environment connection is clearly defined with food solutions coming from doctors, ranchers, farmers, dairymen, chefs, and food service professionals. Stec’s friendly, entertaining style and Cordero’s no-nonsense data combine culinary art and science in a way that inspires and instructs. (Gibbs Smith)
Strategy consultant, visual thinking guru and author of The Back of the Napkin Dan Roam‘s Unfolding the Napkin, a workbook providing hands-on lessons, case-studies and detailed examples to put into practice his unique approach to visual problem solving, again to Branda Maholtz and Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio/Penguin.
The Autobiographer’s Handbook: The 826 National Guide to Writing Your Memoir, edited by Jennifer Traig with an introduction by Dave Eggers, received this starred review in Publisher’s Weekly: “Put out by 826 Valencia, the San Francisco-based nonprofit Eggers started to provide creative writing instruction for middle and high school students, this book presents straightforward, practical ideas and advice from a double-handful of contemporary writers. Edited by memoirist Traig (Devil in the Details), a longtime 826 Valencia tutor, it’s comprised largely of excerpts from wide-ranging, insightful round-table discussions among nonfiction practitioners like Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Nick Hornby (Housekeeping vs. the Dirt), Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) and Sarah Vowell (Assassination Vacation)… Besides lessons on celebrating the ordinary and the importance of humor, contributors also offer ways to push through the inevitable writer’s block and handle miffed family and friends. Their guidance, complemented by writing exercises and work plans, should prove useful, informative and motivating for writers at just about any level.” (Henry Holt).
We are running a collective chemical fever that we cannot break. Everyone everywhere now carries a dizzying array of chemical contaminants, the by-products of modern industry and innovation that contribute to a host of developmental deficits and health problems in ways just now being understood. Almost everything we encounter – from soap to soup cans and computers to clothing – contributes to a chemical load unique to each of us. In The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being, former Portland Oregonian and Arizona Republic investigative journalist Nena Baker explores the many factors that have given rise to this condition, draws back the curtain on its untold impact. The Washington Post calls it a “an illuminating, consumer-oriented book” that is “balanced in its approach.” E – The Environmental Magazine says “This is it: The book that finally chronicles the chemical invaders tainting us and the environment – the phthalates and Bisphenol-A (BPA), the flame retardants and non-stick surfaces. And investigative journalist Nena Baker’s book is enough to induce outrage.” (North Point/Farrar Straus & Giroux)
How To Get Your Book Published: Writing a book proposal
Dallas Morning News, June 24, 2008
All those daunting numbers probably made it seem as if your odds of becoming a published author are only slightly more likely than your odds of seeing the 1,000,000,000 Euro Lottery Winnings promised you by that guy in Nigeria.
What’s a would-be writer to do?
California Love: Agents Don’t Need to Live in NYC. They’ve Got E-mail (and Great Weather)
by Laura Hazard Owen
Ah, the life of a California literary agent. Client meetings on the terrace overlooking the cliffs, the sound of aquamarine waves crashing on sparkling white sand as a lovely soundtrack to the discussion of character development. Later on, a quick spin in the cute red hybrid convertible over to a movie studio or five, promising manuscripts optioned, big sunglasses worn throughout. All in an afternoon’s work.
That’s just what it’s right, like? No? Well. We must have been watching too many old OC episodes. Better talk to some real California agents (and one from Seattle!).
Invisible Chains: Shawn Hornbeck and the Kidnapping Case that Shook the Nation is the wrenching true story of the kidnapping of 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck from his rural Missouri hometown by Michael Devlin, an innocuous-seeming pizza-shop manager who repeatedly abused and tortured Shawn for four years. Kristina Sauerwein, a former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the L.A. Times, reveals the unusual psychological aspects of Hornbeck’s captivity and the full details of his eventual rescue. Publishers Weekly says “An impeccable, on-target true crime narration, this book of loss, perversity and redemption illuminates not only the desperate pangs of a predator’s sexual hunger but the steadfast love of two families for their missing children.” (Lyons Press)
Former tech CEO, venture capitalist, founder of finance community site itulip.com, and author of the prescient Harper’s Magazine February cover article “The Next Bubble: Priming the markets for tomorrow’s big crash,” Eric Janszen‘s The Postcatastrophe Economy: Rebuilding America and Avoiding the Next Bubble, explaining the roots and complexities of the current financial and economic crisis and the fundamental restructuring that is the only hope to restore our economic strength, in a major pre-empt on the eve of a crowded auction to Adrian Zackheim and Tim Sullivan at Portfolio/Penguin.
Used properly, a simple drawing on a humble napkin is more powerful than Excel or PowerPoint. It can help crystallize ideas, think outside the box, and communicate in a way that people simply “get.” In The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, Dan Roam argues that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who swear they can’t draw. Drawing on twenty years of visual problem solving combined with the recent discoveries of vision science, this book shows anyone how to clarify a problem or sell an idea by visually breaking it down using a simple set of visual thinking tools — tools that take advantage of everyone’s innate ability to look, see, imagine, and show. Publishers Weekly says “Roam has developed a remarkably comprehensive system of ideas. Everything in the book is broken down into steps, providing the reader with ‘tools and rules’ to facilitate picture making. For forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session.” (Portfolio/Penguin)
Lawyer Boy author Rick Lax’s Las Vegas memoir Fool Me Once, an investigation into the meaning of honesty and deception, from discussing epistemology with his philosophy professor to ingratiating himself with the impersonators and illusionists who populate America’s Sin City, all to find out if his own life is just one big lie, again to David Moldawer at St. Martin’s Press.
Another fake memoir dupes publishers
By Stacey Vanek Smith
TESS VIGELAND: You might have heard about that memoir “Love and Consequences” — the one written by Margaret Jones, about growing up in a foster home in South Central Los Angeles. Only her name is actually Margaret Seltzer and the memoir is actually a work of fiction.
If this all sounds familiar, that’s because it is. It wasn’t that long ago that publishers recalled James Frey’s fake memoir, “A Million Little Pieces.”
We asked Stacey Vanek Smith to look into the price of publishing lies.
Developed by a problem-solving software engineer who was tired of diets that are too hard to stick with, The No-S Diet: The Strikingly Simple Weight-Loss Strategy That Has Dieters Raving — and Dropping Pounds has attracted a passionate following online thanks to its elegant simplicity – and its results. Unlike fad diets based on gimmicks that lead to short-term weight-loss followed by backsliding and failure, The No-S Diet is a maintainable life plan that reminds us of the commonsense, conscious way we all know we should be eating. In this book software engineer Reinhard Engels and health and nutrition writer Ben Kallen offer readers the tips, tricks, techniques and testimonials they’ll need to stick with No-S for life. (Perigee/Penguin)
Forget apologies and excuses – sometimes, a well-spoken insult is the proper response. And now, with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other, fictional socialite Lady Arabella Snark (aka linguist A. C. Kemp) shows you how to use malicious language and stinging zingers to your advantage in The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion: Lady Snark’s Guide to Common Discourtesy. From dealing with drunks to sabotaging your husband’s mistress, The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion is a funny and offbeat tour of the dark side of manners. Aggravating coworkers, nasty neighbors, mean in-laws? They’re all rendered powerless when you have the perfect comeback-for any situation. Public radio’s A Way With Words says “It’s a humorous question-and-answer back-and-forth of what happens when high and low culture meet, with quizzes, example sentences, and smart-aleck remarks.” A.C. Kemp’s innovative classes on slang and American culture have been profiled in the Boston Globe and Christian Science Monitor. (Adams Media)
Jessica Hagy is a different kind of thinker. She has an astonishing talent for visualizing relationships, capturing in pictures what is difficult for most of us to express in words. At ThisIsIndexed.com, she posts charts, graphs, and Venn diagrams drawn on index cards that reveal in a simple and intuitive way the large and small truths of modern life. Praised throughout the blogosphere as “brilliant,” “incredibly creative,” and “comic genius,” Jessica turns her incisive, deadpan sense of humor on everything from office politics to relationships to religion in her new collection, Indexed. With new material along with some of her greatest hits, this utterly unique book will thrill readers who demand humor that makes them both laugh and think. (Viking Studio/Penguin)
Professors of Oriental Medicine Yuan Wang and Warren Sheir and health writer Mika Ono’s Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes from the East for Health, Healing and Long Life, bringing ancient Asian practices of cooking with healing herbs and other therapeutic foods to Western palates and kitchens, at auction to Renée Sedliar at Da Capo Lifelong Books/Perseus.
Publishers Weekly, in a STARRED review, says “In her introduction, certified credit counselor Erica Sandberg writes, ‘When I became pregnant with my daughter Lillian, I was caught off-guard by how little I — someone who has been in the personal finance field for over a decade — knew about the monetary aspects of pregnancy and new parenthood.’ Expecting Money: The Essential Financial Plan for New and Growing Families is Sandberg’s response to that uncertainty, a compilation of the advice that she craved for herself. Sandberg opens with familiar chapters like ‘The Meaning of Money’ and ‘The Dangers of Debt’ that prepare readers for an uncluttered financial picture going into familyhood. The different needs of different families are addressed in chapters like ‘On the Double: Partner Issues’ and ‘On Your Own: Single Solutions.’ Most valuable of all, Sandberg costs out what new parents need to spend on the average (U.S.) baby’s clothing, child care and other basic needs, even going so far as to compare the costs for different birthing options. Later she compares types of day care and analyzes different ways of meeting long-term needs. These concrete details are what make this book most valuable and helpful for new parents who need real numbers and facts to plan out their family’s financial future.” (Kaplan Publishing)
Serial “green” entrepreneur Scott Cooney’s Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur, a comprehensive how-to guide for seasoned entrepreneurs moving into sustainable commerce as well as environmentally concerned young people starting their first business, including scores of green business ideas and essential tips on getting started, at auction to Lauren Lynch at McGraw-Hill.
What happens when a species vanishes? Once gone, can it be brought back? In American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree, national journalist Susan Freinkel explores these timely questions through the story of one of this country’s most important native trees, at least until the early 20th century, when it was obliterated by an imported plague known as chestnut blight. Billions of trees died in what has been described as “the worst ecological disaster to hit North America since the Ice Age.” Now, a handful of hardy optimists are working to resurrect the tree, some relying on age-old breeding methods and others on modern gene-splicing techniques. Publishers Weekly says “time after time, this impassioned book strikes resonant emotional chords that transform dry facts into dynamic prose.” Mary Roach, bestselling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife says “In prose as strong and quietly beautiful as the American chestnut itself, Freinkel profiles the silent catastrophe of a near-extinction and the impassioned struggle to bring a species back from the brink. A perfect book.” (University of California Press)
The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS: Solving Crime with Mathematics is the official companion book to the hit prime-time TV crime series NUMB3RS. The authors are 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 Caltech professor Gary Lorden, the principal math advisor to the TV show. The book explains the actual mathematical techniques used by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to catch and convict criminals. (Penguin Group/Plume)
Film rights to Pulitzer-finalists Steve Suo and Erin Hoover Barnett’s Drug of Choice, based on their Oregonian newspaper series on the meth epidemic, intertwining stories of a DEA bureaucrat’s solitary attempt to halt the spread of meth, the pharma lobbyists and politicians who undermined his effort, the traffickers who continue to feed this global problem, and the impact on one family that has lived out the consequences, to HBO for Michael DeLuca Productions.
Personal branding expert Peter Montoya and Tim Vandehey’s The Brand Called You, originally self-published to sales of more than 65,000 copies worldwide, with a revised and expanded four-step Personal Branding program for self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs, at auction to Lauren Lynch at McGraw-Hill.
Reno, Nevada schoolteacher Tierney Cahill and Linden Gross’ Ms. Cahill for Congress, the inspirational story of a teacher and single mother who ran for Congress on a dare from her sixth grade students and won the primary election (the basis for the forthcoming movie “Class Act” starring Halle Berry), in a three-day auction to Julia Cheiffetz at Ballantine/Random House.
Stanford mathematician and NPR’s “Math Guy,” Keith Devlin, Ph.D.’s The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern, about the 1654 letter from French mathematician Blaise Pascal to his colleague and countryman Pierre De Fermat, which outlined the basic principles of probability theory and would forever change business, politics, warfare, science, engineering, medicine, sport, and many other aspects of everyday life, in a pre-empt to Bill Frucht at Basic Books.
Former L.A. Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Kristina Sauerwein’s Invisible Chains: Shawn Hornbeck and the Kidnapping Case that Shook the Nation, the intertwined stories of kidnapper Michael Devlin, Shawn Hornbeck, the boy he kept captive in plain sight for four years, and Ben Ownby, whose brief kidnapping this year led to Devlin’s capture, including analysis of the psychological and sociological influences that compelled Hornbeck to avoid rescue, to Ronnie Gramazio at Lyons Press.
Chef Laura Stec and San Jose State University meteorology professor Eugene Cordero Ph.D.’s Cool Cuisine: Taking The Bite Out of Global Warming, mixing scientific fact and culinary art to help home cooks make smart food choices in key areas that effect climate change, in a pre-empt to Gibbs Smith at Gibbs Smith Publishers.
Geographer and artist Trevor Paglen‘s Blank Spots on the Map: State Secrets, Hidden Landscapes, and the Pentagon’s Black World, a globe trotting investigation of the Black Empire of secrecy run by the U.S. military, other agencies and private companies, tracing its growth from the Manhattan Project through the current War on Terror, interviewing people inside these blank patches of Google Earth, and showing how it threatens the democracy it purports to defend, in a pre-empt to Stephen Morrow at Dutton/Penguin.
Probiotics are the powerful health-promoting microbes in each of us. Because of their remarkable benefits and safety, probiotics have become the focus of intense scientific interest. Consumer Reports recently proclaimed, “If they’re not in your diet, they should be.” In The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements, one of the most prominent researchers in the field, Gary Huffnagle, Ph.D., and best-selling co-author Sarah Wernick present an up-to-the-minute, highly accessible guide to this emerging field. The book demonstrates how probiotics can improve overall health, enhance immune function, fight chronic bowel diseases, prevent and relieve allergies and asthma, counter antibiotic side effects and more, and the book offers comprehensive step-by-step guidance on including probiotic foods and supplements in your lifestyle. Publishers Weekly says the book offers “a convincing health plan that’s easy to understand and to follow.” (Bantam/Random House)
Internet sensation Jessica Hagy‘s whimsical, insightful graphs, charts, and diagrams of everyday life, Indexed: Cramming Life Into Neat Little Boxes, in a pre-empt to Jeff Galas at Viking Studio/Penguin.
The first two 826 Valencia Guides on Writing Memoir and Writing Fiction, edited by Jenny Traig, with an introduction by Dave Eggers, and featuring contributions from Anthony Swofford, Caroline Kraus, Elizabeth Gilbert, James McManus, Jonathan Ames, Paul Collins, Phillip Lopate, Rebecca Walker, Rich Cohen, Steve Almond, Tobias Wolff and many more, at auction in a very good deal to Sarah Knight at Henry Holt & Co.
As Americans personal debt skyrockets, and new bankruptcy laws make it harder than ever to find ones way back to solvency, more and more Americans find themselves facing financial crisis. In Help! I Can’t Pay My Bills: Surviving a Financial Crisis, a readable, accessible volume, CPA Sally Herigstad shows how to get out of debt and on the road to financial security. Having survived a financial crisis herself, Herigstad is familiar with both the emotional and financial issues caused by money problems. (St. Martin’s Press)
Credit repair expert and frequent TV personal finance commentator Erica Sandberg’s Expecting Money: The Before-Baby Financial Guide for New Families, the first complete money manual written exclusively for parents-to-be, to Shannon Berning at Kaplan Publishing.
Pynchon book will sell itself
by Lisa Napoli
[CORRECTION: Thomas Pynchon was incorrectly cited as a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist in this story. He was recommended for a Pulitzer in 1974 for his book “Gravity’s Rainbow,” but did not win.]
TEXT OF STORY
SCOTT JAGOW: Tomorrow, novelist Thomas Pynchon comes out with his first book in nine years. Pynchon is famously media shy. Lisa Napoli has more.
Reinhard Engels’ The No S Diet: The Strikingly Simple Weight-Loss Strategy That Has Dieters Raving–and Dropping Pounds, written with Ben Kallen, presenting his folksy, practical and effective new weight loss method, in a pre-empt to Marian Lizzi at Perigee/Penguin.
Seeking readers via ‘book trailer’ / Publisher tries out movie-style preview to market new title
by Justin Berton
In his quest to bring literature to the masses, Jeffrey Lependorf turned to an unlikely ally: YouTube.
Lependorf, executive director of the Literary Ventures Fund in New York, recently invested $10,000 to help promote a French memoir on the verge of being published. Instead of the usual press releases or book tours, his money was used to create a short video about the book that was distributed on the popular online video site that attracts an estimated 20 million visitors per month.
You can get your money back IF . . .
by Ashley Milne-Tyte
KAI RYSSDAL: The book was called “A Million Little Pieces.” Might better have been “A Million Big Fat Lies.” It was billed as James Frey’s memoir. But back at the beginning of the year Frey confessed to having made up large chunks of the story. He did a mea culpa on Oprah and then we all forgot about him. Most of us, anyway. But some of the people who had shelled out good money for what they thought was nonfiction sued. They said Random House, the publisher, had committed fraud. Today, a tentative settlement. Frey and Random House will refund almost $2.5 million, if certain conditions are met. Ashley Milne-Tyte has the details from New York.
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.
The 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.
Author 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: 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).
A.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.
Office Haiku: Poems Inspired by the Daily Grind, by James Rogauskas, is a wry and witty poetry collection. In this spare, refined art form, the author takes aim at daydreaming, boredom, co-worker jealousy, and the innumerable little annoyances of 9-to-5 life, with sections including “Monday Mornings Suck,” “Paper Cuts, Office Equipment, and Other Maladies,” and “Departmental Meetings.” For every Dilbert strip taped to a filing cabinet or pinned to a bulletin board, there is a haiku from this collection waiting to take its place alongside. (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press).
Strategy consultant and visual thinking guru Dan Roam‘s The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems with Pictures, offering unique creativity and visual thinking tools to help readers develop new ideas, solve problems in unexpected ways, and dramatically improve their ability to share their insights with others, at auction to Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio/Penguin.
One month after his son Nick’s birth, Chuck Acquisto secretly began writing every day to at least one successful person in the world, asking for advice on achieving success in life to pass along to his son. Former President George Bush was the first to reply to Nicholas. Then Oprah. Charlton Heston sent his autobiography with his letter to Nick. Comedian/actor Robin Williams responded, twice. To Chuck’s surprise, scores of mostly handwritten letters continued to arrive at his law office. Nine baseball Hall of Famers, eight Academy Award winners, seven golfing legends, six Heisman Trophy recipients, five best-selling authors, four Top 40 singers, three famous attorneys, two former U.S. Presidents (and the current President) and a “Patridge Family” star are a small sample of the hundreds of responses received by Nicholas. Wisdom to Grow On: Incredible Letters And Inspiring Advice for Getting the Most Out of Life, is the result, a touching, inspirational collection of letters of advice from a wide range of sports legends, politicians, beloved entertainers and many other famous individuals, giving a young boy advice on how to achieve success. Chuck is donating all the book’s proceeds to the San Francisco-based Good Tidings Foundation. (Running Press/Perseus).
MIND YOUR BUSINESS / Getting your book out takes more than just finding a publisher
by Ilana DeBare
Q: I am nearly done writing a self-help book about personal health, and I would like to get it published and sold. What is the best way to proceed from here? Should I self-publish and distribute on the Internet or try to find an agent or publishing house?
— Aspiring Author
Interview: Ted Weinstein
Most parents aren’t exactly proud when their child announces that he or she works on adult media. Ted Weinstein has navigated this difficult territory time and time again. True, the pronouncement is doubtlessly made easier because he works in adult non-fiction literature. SFist has long been obsessed with the literati and the glitterati. Since we struggle gaining access to them, we are proud to bring you the next best thing—their agent.
Ted Weinstein is a fierce proponent of the Bay Area’s literature scene. He is also good at getting the authors he represents to finish their manuscripts. His methods are a trade secret, but let’s just say both carrots and sticks are used. And he was kind enough to submit to an SFist interview.
Open Doors: Vietnam POWs Thirty Years Later, by Taylor Baldwin Kiland and Jamie Howren, is the companion volume to a traveling museum exhibit profiling and celebrating the personal triumphs of 30 Vietnam-era POWs. Open Doors takes an intimate look at these men – the longest-held group of POWs in our nation’s history – as husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. It is a tribute to their individual persistence in the pursuit of personal and professional happiness upon their return from Hanoi, echoing the comments of Commander Paul Galanti, U.S. Navy (Ret.): “There’s no such thing as a bad day when you have a door knob on the inside of the door.” (Potomac Books).
Film and television rights to Bob Welch’s American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy, to Sal Chala at Relentless Entertainment.
Merriam-Webster, move over! One-Letter Words: A Dictionary, by Craig Conley, is a surprising and fascinating compendium of 1,000+ definitions of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Until now, no English dictionary ever found the fun or the fascination in revealing the meanings of letters. One-Letter Words, A Dictionary illuminates the more than 800 surprising definitions associated with each letter in the English alphabet. For instance, Conley uncovers 69 different definitions for the letter X, the most versatile and printed letter in the English language. Using facts, figures, quotations, and etymologies, the author provides a complete and enjoyable understanding of the one-letter word. With the letter B, Conley teaches us that its many different meanings span multiple subjects including science – B denotes a blood type and also is a symbol for the element Boron on the Periodic table – and history – in the Middle Ages, B was branded on a blasphemer’s forehead. With the letter A, he reminds us that A is not only a bra size, but also a musical note. This book is the essential desk companion, gift, or reference volume for a vast array of readers, puzzle lovers, teachers, students, librarians, or armchair linguists. Once they pick it up they’ll never be able to put it down. (HarperCollins).
University of Michigan medical researchers Gary Huffnagle, Ph.D., and Mairi Noverr, Ph.D., with bestselling health writer Sarah Wernick’s The Probiotics Revolution: Using Beneficial Bacteria to Fight Inflammation and Chronic Disease – and Live a Longer, Healthier Life, offering the latest scientific information about probiotics along with comprehensive guidance on how to include them as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, at auction in a six-figure deal to Toni Burbank at Bantam/Random House. Dutch rights to Thoeris in a pre-empt, via Internationaal Literatuur Bureau B.V. and mainland Chinese rights to Thinkingdom Media Group, via Big Apple Agency.
Will Fiorina Tell All in New Book?
San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 24, 2005
by Therese Poletti
Carly Fiorina, who rose to the top tier of corporate America before she was ousted as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, has signed a deal to write a book for Penguin Group to be published in autumn 2006.
Penguin said the book will combine a memoir of Fiorina’s career so far with her views on a variety of issues, including what makes a leader, how women can thrive in business and how technology will continue to reshape the world.
The Dynamite Fiend: The Chilling Tale of a Confederate Spy, Con Artist, and Mass Murderer, by Ann Larabee, Ph.D., is a fascinating historical true crime story about a former Confederate secret service agent who later went on to terrorize the Atlantic shipping lanes and cause one of the bloodiest catastrophes of the nineteenth century. It brings to light the stunning story behind one of the most devious criminals of the nineteenth century, Alexander “Sandy” Keith. Beginning his dark career as a Confederate secret agent, Keith helped orchestrate some of the most infamous terrorist plots of the Civil War. In peacetime, dogged by creditors and victims of his frauds, Keith kept on the move, leaving more scams, schemes, and cheated women in his wake. As his situation became more desperate, his obsession with explosives and violence became more intense, leading to a horrifying plot that he put together while posing as a prosperous American businessman living in Germany. In 1875, one of Keith’s bombs exploded on a dock, killing eighty people and injuring fifty more. The world heralded the deed as the “Crime of the Century” and Keith became the “Dynamite Fiend” and a true mass murderer. In The Dynamite Fiend, author Ann Larabee unfolds this engrossing tale of hidden identity, technological obsession, and an unparalleled lust for power and profit. (Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press)
Kitty Bartholomew’s Decorating Style: Affordable, Beautiful and Comfortable Decor for Real People Living with Real Budgets, by beloved TV personality Kitty Bartholomew and interior design journalist Kathy Price-Robinson, offers a wide range of clever, creative, non-costly ideas that have wowed millions of viewers of Kitty’s HGTV show and her enormously popular appearances on Oprah. Kitty believes that home decorating can be stylish and comfortable, budget-conscious and beautiful. Rather than suggest expensive, over-the-top solutions to decorating dilemmas, she comes up with inventive, resourceful ideas that are within the average person’s means. In this, her first book, Kitty brings her knowledge, decorating savvy, and enthusiasm to bear on every aspect of home design, from window, door, ceiling, wall, and floor treatments to furniture, lighting, and mirrors. There’s even a chapter on flea-market shopping, where readers will learn how to find the treasures buried among the trash and how to turn them into better-than-new décor. (Rodale Books)
Jack-of-all-trades James Rogauskas’ Office Haiku, the first book to tackle the absurdities of the modern workplace in poetry, in the tradition of the Dilbert empire and books like Haikus for Jews and Cat Haiku, to John Parsley at Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press.
More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement, by technologist Ramez Naam, an exciting tour of the way emerging technologies — from cloning and genetic engineering to life-extension techniques and brain-computer interfaces — are affecting our lives. Throughout this remarkable trip, Naam shares an impassioned vision for the future, with revealing insight into the ethical dilemmas posed by twenty-first-century science. Encouraging us to celebrate rather than fear these innovations, his powerful book separates fact from myth with elegant lucidity, arguing that these controversial technologies have the power to transform the human race for the better. (Broadway Books/Random House)
The Math Instinct: Why You’re a Mathematical Genius (Along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats, and Dogs), by Stanford mathematician and NPR’s “Math Guy” Keith Devlin, an accessible, entertaining look at the instinctive math used by dogs, cats, birds, bees and, yes, even humans. Filled with wonderful stories and examples, it offers the inverse message of John Allen Poulos’ Innumeracy, by explaining and celebrating the innate math sense of all kinds of animals and giving even the most number-phobic readers greater confidence in their own mathematical abilities. (Thunder’s Mouth Press/Avalon Publishing)
Science journalist Susan Freinkel’s American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree, examining the questions “What happens when a species vanishes? Once gone, can it be brought back?” and showing how the death and potential rebirth of this once grand tree continues to reflect, as well as shape, our relationship to nature, to Blake Edgar at University of California Press.
Rid yourself of eczema forever. Eczema-Free for Life, by dermatologist Adnan Nasir, M.D. Ph.D. and journalist Priscilla Burgess, is the only comprehensive, up-to-date medical guide for eczema sufferes and their families, reflecting the latest research on eczema’s underlying genetic causes, debunking myths such as the effect of diet on the malady, and offering new techniques to fight the condition. Based on new research, this book has everything the millions of eczema sufferers need to know to free themselves from unbearable itching and unsightly rashes. Dr. Nasir offers guidance for home care and ways to cope with the psychological impact of the disorder. None of the popular books about eczema currently on the market is written by a practicing dermatologist and none is based on up–to–date science. New research has conclusively demonstrated that eczema is the result of the abnormal development of some twenty genes responsible for controlling how the skin interacts with the environment. Dr. Nasir will explain new and more powerful treatments that are being developed based on these new discoveries as well as point out reliable holistic remedies that have worked for centuries. (HarperCollins)
A Path and a Practice: Using Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching as a Guide to an Awakened Spiritual Life, by William Martin, is a new translation of the Tao revealing it as not just a collection of wise insights but as a cohesive guide to our spiritual path. Before now, no modern translation has captured the essential thrust of Lao Tzu’s work as a practical guide to living an awakened life. Now Bill, whose acclaimed previous reinterpretations of the Tao (for parents, couples, and elders) have introduced or reacquainted this classic text to thousands of readers, strikingly translates the Tao for our times. He frames his new translation with two illuminating, groundbreaking sections: “A Path,” which introduces the Tao’s nonlinear construction and explains how it works its themes, and “A Practice,” which provides practical guidance for readers exploring each of the Tao’s themes in depth. This new translation for the first time reveals how directly the Tao speaks to readers who are on or about to embark upon a spiritual journey. (Marlowe & Co./Avalon Publishing)
Chuck Acquisto’s Wisdom to Grow On, a touching and inspirational collection of letters of advice to a young boy from a wide range of famous individuals, including sports legends, U.S. Presidents, beloved entertainers and more (including many handwritten letters and works of art), at auction to Jennifer Kasius at Running Press/Perseus. The author’s proceeds will be donated to The Good Tidings Foundation, a San Francisco-based charity that awards service scholarships to underprivileged students.
A provocative work by medical ethicist James Hughes, Ph.D., Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future argues that technologies pushing the boundaries of humanness can radically improve our quality of life if they are controlled democratically. Hughes challenges both the technophobia of Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama and the unchecked enthusiasm of others for limitless human enhancement. He argues instead for a third way, “democratic transhumanism,” by asking the question destined to become a fundamental issue of the twenty-first century: How can we use new cybernetic and biomedical technologies to make life better for everyone? These technologies hold great promise, but they also pose profound challenges to our health, our culture, and our liberal democratic political system. By allowing humans to become more than human – “posthuman” or “transhuman” – the new technologies will require new answers for the enduring issues of liberty and the common good. What limits should we place on the freedom of people to control their own bodies? Who should own genes and other living things? Which technologies should be mandatory, which voluntary, and which forbidden? For answers to these challenges, Citizen Cyborg proposes a radical return to a faith in the resilience of our democratic institutions. (Westview/Perseus Books)
All-American mom and Zen Buddhist priest Karen Maezen Miller‘s Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, an intimate and inspiring guide to the Zen wisdom found in the everyday lessons of early motherhood, at auction to Eden Steinberg at Shambhala.
Linguist Craig Conley’s One-Letter Words: A Dictionary, a surprising and fascinating compendium of 1,000+ definitions of the 26 letters of the alphabet and an essential desk companion for puzzle lovers, wordsmiths, trivia buffs, know-it-alls, armchair linguists and all kinds of word lovers, in an aggressive pre-empt to Alison Callahan at HarperCollins.
“I was 28 years old when I voted for the first time. I dropped the ball and now it’s come to this,” begins Stephen Elliott in Looking Forward to It: Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Electoral Process. From crashing campaign parties to clashing with seasoned journalists, Steve offers uncommon — and often hilarious — insight into the 2004 presidential election. Dave Eggers says Looking Forward to It is “Savvy, loose, very funny and — truly — full of rare insights.” (Picador USA)
Absolute Write Interview
Interview with Ted Weinstein by Jenna Glatzer
Ted Weinstein is a San Francisco literary agent with broad experience on both the business and editorial sides of publishing. Also a widely-published author, Ted has been the music critic for NPR’s All Things Considered and a commentator for the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Guardian, SF Weekly and Might Magazine.
Why did you decide to become a literary agent?
The Identity Theft Protection Guide: Safeguard Your Family, Protect Your Privacy, Recover a Stolen Identity, by Amanda Welsh Ph.D., is the first comprehensive, down-to-earth consumer guide to help families guard themselves against identity theft and protect their computer security and personal privacy in the information age. (St. Martin’s Press)
Stanford professor, author of 21 books including The Millennium Problems and The Math Gene, and best known as “The Math Guy” on NPR Weekend Edition Keith Devlin‘s The Math Instinct: The Amazing Mathematical Abilities of Animals and All of Us,celebrating every species’ innate math sense and giving even the most number-phobic readers greater confidence in their own mathematical abilities, at auction to John Oakes at Thunder’s Mouth Press/Avalon Publishing as the lead title for their Spring 2005 list.
American Nightingale: The True Story of Frances Slanger, the Forgotten Heroine of Normandy, by Bob Welch is the heart-wrenching and inspirational story of the first American nurse to die after the WWII landings at Normandy. Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and Americana, says “Through indefatigable research and a nearly obsessive quest to inhabit a great moment in time, Bob Welch achieves something rare among works of military history: He brings one person, a single extraordinary person, to vivid life upon the page. Read American Nightingale, and you’ll never think of D-Day in the same way again.” James Bradley, best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys, says “Bob Welch has done the country a service by recalling Frances Slanger’s story… enrich your life and read this touching story.” (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
Oprah-blurbed Zen teacher and author of The Parent’s Tao Te Ching, The Sage’s Tao Te Ching, and The Couple’s Tao Te Ching William Martin’s A Path and A Practice, an innovative new translation of the Tao revealing it as not just a collection of wise insights but as a cohesive guide to our spiritual path, to Matthew Lore at Marlowe & Co./Avalon Publishing.
The Weight Loss Diaries, by Courtney Rubin, is an unsparing, empowering and inspirational memoir by Shape Magazine’s popular “Weight Loss Diary” columnist, looking at her daily struggles with weight, the challenges and triumphs of taking up marathon running, and her larger efforts to keep food and weight issues from consuming her life. (Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill)
Michigan State American Studies professor and author of Decade of Disaster Ann Larabee Ph.D’s The Dynamite Fiend: The Chilling Tale of a Confederate Spy, Con Artist, and Mass Murderer, a historical true crime story about a former Confederate secret service agent who later went on to terrorize the Atlantic shipping lanes and caused one of the bloodiest catastrophes of the nineteenth century, to Brendan O’Malley at Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press (U.S.) and Dan Soucoup at Nimbus (Canada).
Books are back, and their pages are filled with politics, biography, and history
Boston Globe, 1/1/2004
By David Mehegan, Globe Staff
Like a battleship, book publishing doesn’t turn on a dime, so the old year’s trends don’t usually determine a new year’s books. However, conversations with literary agents, who are always trying to sniff out what publishers want, turn up a few trends in publishing that may affect our reading in 2004 and beyond.
Lessons to Learn: Voices from the Front Lines of Teach for America, by Molly Ness, offers an in-depth look at the innovative national program that places young teachers in disadvantaged public school districts. The book includes interviews and essays from Teach For America corps members as well as a wide range of education experts, reflecting on the program’s successes and failures, the life lessons gathered along the way, and the broader challenges facing our nation’s public schools. (RoutledgeFalmer)
Author of four novels, editor of the new anthology Politically Inspired, and McSweeney’s poker columnist Stephen Elliott’s Looking Forward to It: An Inside Account From the Outside of the 2004 Presidential Election, a kaleidoscopic “new new journalism” look at the presidential race (part “on the bus” and part “in the car”), building on his campaign articles in The Believer and Newsday, to Josh Kendall at Picador USA/St. Martin’s Press.
Reason Magazine science correspondent Ron Bailey’s Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution, making the case that biogenetic research and the powerful new technologies it engenders should be encouraged and embraced, not feared and resisted, for the future well-being of humanity and our planet, to Steven Mitchell at Prometheus Books.
Investigative journalist Nena Baker’s The Body Toxic, the first comprehensive look at the toxins that permeate the environment and each of us – and what we can do about them – to Denise Oswald at North Point Press/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
TV interior design guru (14 year veteran of HGTV, Oprah and ABC-TV’s “The Home Show”) Kitty Bartholomew and journalist Kathy Price-Robinson’s Kitty Bartholomew’s Decorating ABC’s: Affordable, Beautiful and Comfortable Decor for Real People Living With Real Budgets, in a good deal to Ellen Phillips at Rodale Books.
Technologist Ramez Naam’s More Than Human: How Biotechnology Is Transforming Us and Why We Should Embrace It, a popular science book that takes readers into the biotech labs that are perfecting controversial technologies that give us the power to transform the human race – from cloning and genetic engineering to life-extension techniques and brain-computer interfaces – and offers the provocative thesis that we should embrace these advances instead of fearing them, at auction to Becky Cole at Broadway Books/Random House.
Diva Julia: The Public Romance and Private Agony of Julia Ward Howe, by Valarie Ziegler Ph.D., is the first full-length biography of the noted suffragist, author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and creator of Mother’s Day. The work won the 2002 Trinity Prize, which recognizes and encourages an emerging writer or scholar whose cross-disciplinary work offers new perspectives on biblical, cultural, ethical, theological or religious issues with broad applications for a general audience. Publishers Weekly called Diva Julia “A revealing treatment of Julia Ward Howe’s life…. able to meaningfully discuss the larger implications of Howe’s message during difficult times…. No one has been so thorough or bold as Ziegler.” (Trinity Press/Continuum)
Dermatologist Adnan Nasir M.D., Ph.D. and journalist Priscilla Burgess’s Eczema-Free for Life: The Complete Guide to Controlling Eczema, reflecting the latest research on eczema’s underlying genetic causes, debunking myths such as the effect of diet on the malady, and offering new techniques to help sufferers, to Megan Newman and Nick Darrell at HarperCollins.
The Skeptic’s Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions, by Bob Carroll Ph.D., was praised by John Allen Paulos, the author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper,as “a refreshing compendium of clear thinking, a welcome and potent antidote to the reams of books on the supernatural and pseudoscientific.” The GuardianUK called it “A handy volume… [with a] coolly rational tone,” and New Scientist said “this superb work… elegantly written and level-headed… is a treat to savour.” (John Wiley & Sons)
Paris in Mind: Three Centuries of Americans Writing About Paris, edited with an introduction by Jennifer Lee, received superb reviews in many of America’s most prestigious publications. It features a wide range of notable Americans writing about the City of Light, with sections devoted to love and seduction, cooking and gastronomy, how to be “civilized,” and that timely topic, the love-hate relationship between Americans and the French. John Leonard in Harper’s Magazine praised it as “an engaging anthology,” while Newsday’s Hillary Frey called it “impressive in its scope… There are real gems here.” MSNBC’s Fall travel books preview urged readers to “Pick up this slim paperback to read on the plane on your way to de Gaulle.” Frank Prial in the New York Times imagined Josephine Baker singing ‘I have two loves, My own country and Paris‘ as “the musical theme for this attractive book,” and Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post called Paris in Mind “Terrific in just about every respect.” (Vintage Books/Random House)
Reel Views: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Modern Movies on DVD and Video, by James Berardinelli, is a compendium of reviews by one of America’s best known and most respected independent film critics, whose reviews appear on the Reel Views Web site. In his forward to the book, noted film critic Roger Ebert says “James Berardinelli stands above the crowd. He is opinionated, well-informed and a good writer of literate, intelligent reviews.” (Justin, Charles & Co.)
Medical ethicist, professor of health policy at Trinity College, and leading transhumanist thinker James Hughes Ph.D.’s Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond To The Redesigned Human Of The Future, a groundbreaking work of social and political commentary challenging both the “bioLuddism” of conservatives such as Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama and the libertarian enthusiasm for unbridled human enhancement, to Karl Yambert at Westview Press/Perseus.
Data and security expert (and author of four patents for information-gathering technology) Amanda Welsh Ph.D.’s Identity Theft Protection Guide, a comprehensive consumer guide to help families guard themselves against identity theft and protect their computer security and personal privacy in the information age, to Ethan Friedman at St. Martin’s Press.
Shape Magazine columnist Courtney Rubin’s The Weight-Loss Diaries, a memoir of her daily struggles with weight, the challenges and triumphs of taking up marathon running, and her larger efforts to keep food and weight issues from consuming her life, to Michele Pezzuti at Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill.
Closing Books on Dot-Coms
Fallen upstart geniuses of the “new economy” are writing memoirs, trying to distance themselves from huge equity losses.
Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2002
Christine Frey, Times Staff Writer
Like a modern-day Dickens, Stephan Paternot witnessed the best and worst of times.
A year after graduating from Cornell in 1996, the co-founder of Web site Theglobe.com was worth nearly $100 million. His company’s stock set a Wall Street record when it jumped 606% in its first day of public trading. At 24, he became emblematic of the cocky boy geniuses using the World Wide Web to change the rules of business, media and life itself.
WritersMarket.com Agent Q&A
Here’s Ted Weinstein to Answer Some More Reader Questions
It feels like I’ve tried to get an agent forever. Only, I never seem to come close to getting one. I’ve queried at least a dozen agents, with no success to show for it. Why should I even care if I have an agent? For all the rejection I receive, what makes an agent worth the hard work?
Robert Carroll, Ph. D.’s The Skeptic’s Dictionary: An Encyclopedia of Strange Beliefs, Delusions and Deceptions, a “lively, opinionated, common-sense compendium of articles debunking myths, hoaxes, superstitions, pseudoscience, the occult and more, by the chairman of the philosophy department at a California college,” to Jeff Golick at John Wiley & Sons.
Jennifer Lee’s anthology Paris In Mind: Three Centuries of Americans Writing About Paris, a literary valentine to the City of Light, with sections devoted to love and seduction, gastronomy, the art of living, and the love-hate Franco-American relationship, to Andrew Miller at Vintage Books/Random House.