Marketwatch, May 2011

E-books causing seismic shift in publishing
Commentary: Are publishers more prepared than music honchos?

Marketwatch, May 26, 2011

by Therese Poletti

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — One doesn’t have to be in Manhattan this week at BookExpo America to figure out that the electronic book is causing a seismic shift in the publishing industry.

Some other events in recent weeks have provided further evidence that book publishing — as the music business already experienced — is being turned quickly upside down by the growth of digital books and e-readers.

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The Infinite Resource

Ramez NaamFormer Microsoft executive, fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and author of More Than Human Ramez Naam‘s The Infinite Resource, arguing that the most valuable resource on earth is our capacity for expanding human knowledge and exploring mankind’s past leaps in understanding to find the keys to overcoming the enormous challenges we face today, to Stephen Hull at the University Press of New England.

Changing Planet, Changing Health

Changing Planet, Changing Health coverClimate change is now doing far more harm than marooning polar bears on melting chunks of ice — it is damaging the health of people around the world. Written by Paul Epstein, associate director of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and Global Environment and award-winning science journalist Dan Ferber, Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do about It brilliantly connects stories of real people with cutting-edge scientific and medical information, and offers innovative, essential solutions for shaping a healthy global economic order in the twenty-first century. Booklist named it one of the Top Ten Health Books of 2011, and their starred review said “If ever there was a book that ought to be on everybody’s reading bucket list this is it.” Former Vice President Al Gore calls it “a landmark that will raise our consciousness.” Elizabeth Kolbert calls it “an illuminating, important, and deeply sobering book,” and Bill McKibben says “You’ll never find a clearer or smarter explanation of one of the toughest problems the world faces.” (University of California Press)

Marketplace, March 2011

CliffsNotes goes digital

Marketplace Radio, March 10, 2011

by Jennifer Collins

Kai Ryssdal: John Wiley and Sons reports profits today. The publisher behind the “For Dummies” books and Frommer’s travel guides did all right. Sales were up, as were profits.

Back in the day, you may well have used another Wiley publication to get you through a class or two. CliffsNotes, the study guides. CliffsNotes have been around since the 1950s, so Wiley’s looking for ways to put a new shine on the old brand.

Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reports.

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Kill or Capture

Kill or Capture coverKill or Capture is the electrifying true story of the pursuit for the man behind al Qaeda’s suicide bombing campaign in Iraq. It is a true-life thriller that tells the story of senior military interrogator Matthew Alexander‘s adrenaline-filled, “outside the wire” pursuit of a notorious Syrian mass murderer named Zafar — the leader of al Qaeda in northern Iraq — a killer with the blood of thousands of innocents on his hands. In a breathless thirty-day period, Alexander and a small Special Operations task force brave the hazards of the Iraqi insurgency to conduct dangerous kill-or-capture missions and hunt down a murderer. Kill or Capture immerses readers in the dangerous world of battlefield interrogations as the author and his team climb the ladder of al Qaeda leadership in a series of raids, braving roadside bombs, near death by electrocution and circles within circles of lies. (St. Martin’s Press)

Elusive Victory

Andy PolskyCUNY/Hunter College professor Andrew J. Polsky, Ph.D.‘s Elusive Victory: Why Presidents Fail at War, a penetrating work of history and political analysis examining the multiple dimensions of wartime presidential leadership and making the insightful, surprising argument that American presidents have repeatedly failed as wartime leaders, to Tim Bent at Oxford University Press.

Fool Me Once

Fool Me Once coverGonzo memoirist Rick Lax (author of Lawyer Boy) was paranoid and terrified of being conned, so he bolts for Las Vegas, deception capital of the world, to learn the game and how to guard against it. There he meets deceivers of all kinds, from back-alley hustlers and poker pros to the biggest headliners on the Strip. During the course of his unconventional education, which includes passing himself off as an octogenarian, being exposed as a card counter, and picking up a hooker (inadvertently, of course), Rick gets closer to becoming a human lie detector… but at what cost? By the end of Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas, you’ll know why seventh graders make better liars than college students, how to use a handful of rice as a polygraph, and how to bluff a poker pro. Above all, you’ll understand why some things in life are a lot worse than being fooled. Kirkus Reviews says “Plenty of cons and cheap hustles in this lively memoir of time spent on the seamier edge of Casinoland… An entertaining field guide to vice, but also one with a point.” (St. Martin’s Press)

Fake Science 101

phil Edwards“Senior Fake Scientist” Phil EdwardsFake Science 101: For When the Facts Are Too Confusing, based on his popular Fake Science blog, a faux textbook covering everything the average person should pretend to know, providing a laugh-out-loud tour of all the subjects you cheated on in school, to Brendan O’Neill at Adams Media.

The Nature of the Future

marina GorbisExecutive Director of the Institute for the Future Marina GorbisThe Nature of the Future, explaining the new organizational landscape and offering a practical roadmap for the transition from the era of hierarchies to the era of networks, at auction in a good deal to Emily Loose at Free Press/Simon & Schuster.

From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call

From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales CallWhen things don’t go well on a sales call, salespeople usually ask themselves, “Why did I lose that sale?” and then move on. But learning the answer can mean the difference between landing and losing the next sale. Richard Schroder is a recognized thought leader in win/loss analysis and sales training. Now in From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call he teaches how to assess strengths and weaknesses based on information from the most qualified source available: the buyer. Refreshingly direct and right to the point, this system is based on 12 years of research and thousands of sales prospect interviews. This comprehensive, powerful program leads to better sales techniques and increased close rates. In short, it works. (McGraw-Hill)

Writer’s Digest, September 2010

Ask the Pro: Literary Agent Ted Weinstein

Writer’s Digest, September 2, 2010

by Kara Gebhart Uhl

BEST ENCOUNTER AT A WRITING CONFERENCE: A slightly wild-eyed writer sat across from me with a haphazard stack of papers and proceeded to pitch me the proposal he had stayed up all night working on at Kinko’s after his own printer had run out of ink. I agreed to read the proposal and called him back a few days later to say I’d be interested in representing it if he would work with me to cut it in half. We revised it together, I sold it to an imprint at Simon & Schuster that published it well, and it was even optioned for a movie. Only later did I find out that 26 other agents had already turned down [Bob Welch’s] proposal for what became American Nightingale.

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Secrets of the Moneylab

Secrets of the Moneylab coverBooks like Predictably Irrational and Nudge have brought behavioral economics into the mainstream. But while we all marvel at how different — and weird — real people behave compared to the “rational actors” of traditional economics, in the end we go back to business as usual. After all, what do a few laboratory experiments have to do with making a buck? As economist Kay-Yut Chen has shown, quite a bit. Chen started behavioral economics research at Hewlett-Packard, founding the first such “moneylab” at any company, let alone one in the Fortune 500. His groundbreaking research into human behavior has led to tangible results for HP. In fact, he has saved the company millions of dollars by showing how changing the right conditions can make people behave very differently. Chen and science writer Marina Krakovsky reveal how to translate the counterintuitive findings of behavioral economics into concrete action steps for businesses of any size. Secrets of the Moneylab: How Behavioral Economics Can Improve Your Business shows how tackling your real-world problems like a scientist can open up entirely new realms of possibility and profit. (Portfolio/Penguin)

The Postcatastrophe Economy

The Postcatastrophe Economy coverOne of the most prescient financial analysts of the past decade predicts the next economic iceberg and explains how all of us can steer clear. The Great Recession was just the beginning, says analyst Eric Janszen. If we remain on the current course, an even bigger catastrophe is imminent. Inclined to disbelieve him? He predicted the last two busts well before they happened. Our problems, according to Janszen, are rooted in the flaws of the debt-driven FIRE economy (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate), which dwarfs and is coming close to extinguishing America’s “Productive Economy,” the making and selling of real things. The government’s tried-and-true methods of currency depreciation, tax and interest rate cuts, and fiscal stimulus won’t cut it this time around. The only way out is to change our fundamental approach. With a startling grasp of the complex factors at play, Janszen’s new book The Postcatastrophe Economy: Rebuilding America and Avoiding the Next Bubble cuts through the rhetoric to get at the heart of our recent financial woes. This urgently thought-provoking book shows how political failures have impeded our country’s economic progress and offers solutions for a more sustainable and stable economic future. (Portfolio/Penguin)


Invisible coverA geographer, social scientist, artist, writer and provocateur, Trevor Paglen has been exploring the secret “black world” of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies for almost a decade, publishing, speaking and making astonishing photographs. As an artist, Paglen is interested in the idea of photography as truth-telling, but his pictures often stop short of traditional ideas of documentation. His long-awaited first photographic monograph is Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes. In the series “Limit Telephotography” he employs high-end optical systems to photograph top-secret governmental sites, and in “The Other Night Sky,” he uses the data of amateur satellite watchers to track and photograph classified spacecraft in Earth’s orbit. In other works Paglen transforms documents such as passports, flight data and aliases of CIA operatives into art objects. Rebecca Solnit contributes a searing essay that traces this history of clandestine military activity on the American landscape. Photo-Eye calls it a “fascinating collection” and says “Aperture has published something genuinely important here.” (Aperture)

Down and Derby

Down & Derby coverWhen most Americans hear the words “roller derby” they think of the kitschy sport once popular on weekend television during the seventies and eighties. Originally an endurance competition where skaters traveled the equivalent of a trip between Los Angeles and New York, derby gradually evolved into a violent contact sport often involving fake fighting. But after nearly dying out in the nineties, derby has been making a comeback. There are now more than 17,000 skaters in more than 400 leagues around the world, with hundreds of thousands of die-hard fans. Written by veteran skaters as both a history and a how-to, Down and Derby: The Insider’s Guide to Roller Derby is a brassy celebration of every aspect of the sport, from its origins in the late 1800s, to the rules of a modern bout, to the science of picking an alias, to the many ways you can get involved off skates. Alex Cohen is a radio host on KPCC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to National Public Radio, and Jennifer Barbee writes for Blood and Thunder magazine and is a longtime staffer of the WGA. As “Axles of Evil” and “Kasey Bomber,” they have skated with the L.A. Derby Dolls since 2003. (Soft Skull/Counterpoint)

Publishers Weekly, May 2010

Agents Weigh the Growth Of Alternate Publishing Options

Publishers Weekly, May 24, 2010

by Rachel Deahl

In a week that saw Barnes & Noble announce a new selfpublishing unit, one small deal that had the publishing industry paying attention was J.A. Konrath’s decision to do his next book, Shaken, with Amazon’s publishing arm, AmazonEncore. Reports quickly surfaced that Konrath would be making a roughly 70% return on the list price of his forthcoming e-book–$2.10 off a $2.99 Kindle edition. While a rep from Amazon confirmed that royalty does not apply to Konrath’s deal with AmazonEncore, the deal still had some in the industry saying the move signaled a “game changer” for corporate publishing. Since Konrath is presumably getting a high digital royalty rate on Shaken, many wondered whether the big six should be quaking in their proverbial New York City boots.

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Hand Wash Cold

hand Wash Cold coverWe’ll let Publishers Weekly tell you about Karen Maezen Miller‘s Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life: “Miller (author of Momma Zen) uses daily household chores — laundry, kitchen, yard — to demonstrate timeless Buddhist principles. The skillful weaving of personal anecdotes, a few Zen terms, and acute insights — sometimes addressing the reader directly — distinguish this book from others in the genre. Miller, a Zen priest and student of the late Maezumi Roshi, argues for the faultless wisdom of following instructions when going about the mundane activities that form the substance of everyday life. Candid about some of the difficulties of her past, Miller stresses the importance of changing perceptions, which can lead to more beneficial outcomes for oneself and others: All practice is the practice of making a turn in a different direction. The book wears its Zen lightly; indeed, Miller skates over the years of study — as well as the decision to become a priest — that undoubtedly ground her current perspectives. By choosing to focus on the conclusions rather than the process of her Zen journey, Miller has tilted her writing more toward self-help/advice than spirituality/religion. This disarming book is full of deft and reassuring observations.” (New World Library)

The Secret Miracle

Secret Miracle coverThe world’s best contemporary writers — from Michael Chabon and Claire Messud to Jonathan Lethem and Amy Tan — engage in a wide-ranging, insightful, and oft- surprising roundtable discussion on the art of writing fiction. Drawing back the curtain on the mysterious process of writing novels, The Secret Miracle: The Novelist’s Handbook, from the 826 Valencia writing centers and edited by Daniel Alarcon, brings together the foremost practitioners of the craft to discuss how they write. Paul Auster, Roddy Doyle, Allegra Goodman, Aleksandar Hemon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Haruki Murakami, George Pelecanos, Gary Shteyngart, and others take us step by step through the alchemy of writing fiction, answering everything from nuts-and-bolts queries — “Do you outline?” — to perennial questions posed by writers and readers alike: “What makes a character compelling?” From Stephen King’s deadpan distinction between novels and short stories (“Novels are longer and have more s**t in them”) to Colm Toibin’s anti-romanticized take on his characters (“They are just words”), every page contains insights found nowhere else. With honesty, humor, and elegance, The Secret Miracle gives both aspiring writers and lovers of literature a master class in the art of writing. (Henry Holt)

Blah Blah Blah

Dan RoamStrategy consultant, visual thinking guru and author of The Back of the Napkin and Unfolding the Napkin Dan Roam‘s Blah Blah Blah: What to Do When Words Don’t Work, explaining why it is essential to use both visual AND verbal thinking to understand and communicate ideas in business, politics and life, and presenting his unique, groundbreaking toolkit for Visual-Verbal Interdependent Thinking, in a significant deal, again to Adrian Zackheim and Courtney Young at Portfolio/Penguin.

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen coverAncient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes from the East for Health, Healing, and Long Life, a winner in the 2010 International Book Awards, reveals how easy it is to tap into the 3,000-year-old secrets of the Eastern healing arts. This entertaining and easy-to-use book provides scores of delicious recipes, anecdotes about various herbs and foods, and all you need to know about acquiring ingredients–even if you don’t know the difference between a lotus seed and the lotus position. Highlighting “superfoods” such as goji berries, as well as more familiar ingredients like ginger, garlic, and mint, it includes an overview of traditional Chinese medicine, herbs and food therapy, details on 100 healthy Asian ingredients, and recipes for a wide range of common health concerns, including fatigue, menopause, high cholesterol, weight control, and diabetes. Publishers Weekly says “the three authors of this well-penned title highlight key concepts of east Asian herbal cooking, and lucidly explain their holistic approach to cooking.” (Da Capo Press/Perseus)

Changing Planet, Changing Health

Paul EpsteinAssociate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School Paul Epstein M.D. and science journalist Dan Ferber‘s Changing Planet, Changing Health, examining the full range of global warming’s damaging health effects and proposing a comprehensive array of innovative measures to ease them, to Hannah Love at the University of California Press.

Beyond Dealmaking

Beyond Dealmaking coverGetting to yes is not the same as getting results. In Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships, international negotiation expert and mediator Melanie Billings-Yun shows that the key to winning unbeatable, long-term results in today’s complex economic landscape is to negotiate solid, long-term relationships. Traditionally, negotiation has been approached as an isolated activity, separate from the business relationship. But those who focus only on getting the deal closed often find their victory doesn’t translate into sustainable profits. Any deal is as fragile as the paper it’s written on. Countless disputes arise and deals easily collapse when the negotiation process leaves one party unhappy, feeling forced into unfair terms, or even disgruntled at a change in circumstances. In five clear steps, Billings-Yun takes the pain and fear out of negotiation with her proven GRASP method. Filled with real-life examples of negotiations that have gone right and wrong, this groundbreaking book shows how fairness, honesty, empathy, flexibility and mutual problem-solving lead to sustainable success. (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Sons)

Guidebook to Art Deco New York

Tony RobinsHistorian and former Landmarks Preservation Commission staffer Anthony Robins‘s Guidebook to Art Deco New York, an illustrated guide with step-by-step tours of New York City’s lovingly restored Art Deco architectural treasures, based on the author’s popular lectures and walking tours, to James Peltz at SUNY Press.

Why Boys Fail

Why Boys Fail coverBoys are falling behind in school. The world has become more verbal; boys haven’t. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the biggest culprits are not video games, pop culture, or female-dominated schools biased toward girls. The real problem is that boys have been thrust into a bewildering new school environment that demands high-level reading and writing skills long before they are capable of handling them. The gap between male and female achievement has reached the college level, where only 40 per cent of graduates next year will be male. This doesn’t just mean fewer male doctors and lawyers, it also means fewer men in the careers that previously did not require post-high school degrees but do now. Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind examines the roots and repercussions of this problem and spells out the educational, political, social and economic challenges we face as we work to end it. Amidst the alarming proof of failure among boys — around the world — there are also inspiring case studies of schools where something is going right. Each has come up with realistic ways to make sure that every student — male and female — has the tools to succeed in school and later in life. Educators and parents alike will take heart in these promising developments, and heed the book’s call to action. (AMACOM Books)

Unfolding the Napkin

Unfolding the Napkin coverVisual thinking guru Dan Roam‘s The Back of the Napkin, an international bestseller, taught readers the power of brainstorming and communicating with pictures. It presented a new and exciting way to solve all kinds of problems — from the boardroom to the sales floor to the cubicle jungle — and proved that a simple drawing on a humble napkin can be more powerful than the slickest PowerPoint presentation. The new companion workbook, Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures, helps readers put Roam’s principles into practice with step-by-step guidelines. It’s filled with detailed case studies, guided do-it-yourself exercises, and plenty of blank space for drawing. Roam structured the book as a complete four-day visual-thinking seminar, taking readers step-by-step from “I can’t draw” to “Here is the picture I drew that I think will save the world.” (Portfolio/Penguin Group)

Your Money Ratios

Your Money Ratios coverFor the first time, a leading financial adviser has developed a remarkable set of guidelines to give individuals the same kind of objective insight into their personal finances that successful businesses have always had. Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security, by Charles Farrell, helps readers effectively manage debt, invest prudently, and develop a realistic and effective savings plan to ensure both financial success and security. It teaches eight simple ratios to helps simplify many of the complex financial decisions you make each year. Publishers Weekly says “Farrell does a wonderful job of taking the worry and stress out of number anxiety.” (Avery/Penguin)

The Willpower Instinct

Kelly McGonigalStanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.’s, The Willpower Instinct, based on her wildly popular course and Psychology Today blog of the same name, explaining the new science of self-control that is emerging from psychology, neuroscience, medicine and economics to shatter long-standing myths and help readers create environments that boost their willpower and master practical strategies for self-control without suffering, at auction in a significant deal to Rachel Holtzman at Avery/Penguin.

Kill or Capture

Matthew AlexanderAir Force interrogator, Bronze Star Medal winner and author of How to Break a Terrorist Matthew Alexander’s Kill or Capture, a true-life thriller that tells the story of his breathless, “outside the wire” pursuit of the notorious mass murderer behind Al Qaeda in Iraq’s suicide bombing campaign, to Marc Resnick at St. Martin’s Press.

The Interloper

Peter SavodnikNational journalist Peter Savodnik‘s The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside The Soviet Union, a compelling, carefully reported historical account of Oswald’s two-and-a-half years seeking asylum in the Soviet Union, demonstrating that his experience reflected powerful emotional and political currents already coursing through the American consciousness, to Lara Heimert at Basic Books.

The Man of Numbers

Keith DevlinStanford mathematician and NPR’s “Math Guy” Keith Devlin‘s The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci’s Arithmetic Revolution, the great untold story of how a 12th Century Italian mathematician brought Arabic numbers to the West, triggering revolutions in everything from banking to the age of exploration to architecture, at auction to George Gibson at Bloomsbury USA.

The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America

Marc LevinsonCouncil on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Marc Levinson‘s The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America, an insightful look at the birth of mega-retailing and the modern consumer economy, by the author of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, at auction to Thomas LeBien at Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Inside Steve’s Brain

Inside Steve's Brain, Expanded coverSteve Jobs is technology’s most famous CEO, the man who revolutionized computers in the 1970s and 80s (with the Apple II and the Mac), animated movies in the 1990s (with Pixar), and digital music in the 2000s (with the iPod and iTunes). He’s also one of the most controversial CEOs in history, allegedly throwing epic tantrums, firing staff in elevators, and taking credit for other people’s achievements. Based on interviews with more Apple insiders than any previous author, Leander Kahney, former Wired News editor and the author of The Cult of Mac, has distilled the principles that guide Jobs and written the immediate New York Times bestseller Inside Steve’s Brain, explaining how Jobs launches killer products, attracts fanatically loyal customers, and manages some of the world’s most powerful brands. USA Today called Inside Steve’s Brain “a rich, essential read for [fans] to get inside Jobs’ head and discover what makes Apple insanely great,” and picked it as one of the Best Business Books of 2008. This expanded edition includes a new chapter on Jobs’s very public health crisis and the debate about Apple’s future. (Portfolio/Penguin)

CNet, July 2009

Readers as patrons in the digital age

CNet, August 27, 2009

by Elinor Mills

A few months ago someone sent me a link to a short story a friend of his had written and posted online. I made the mistake of glancing at it while at work and then got so absorbed I couldn’t stop reading until I was done. The story, Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store, was so interesting and well written, I just wanted more.

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From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call

Leading sales consultant Richard Schroder‘s From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call, with a foreword by Stephan Schiffman, presenting his innovative win/loss analysis and training program for salespeople to gather meaningful feedback and learn from lost opportunities so next time they close the sale, used by Fidelity, ADP, Schwab and many others, to Donya Dickerson at McGraw-Hill.

Among Righteous Men

Christian Science Monitor reporter Matt Shaer‘s Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes and Vindication in Hasidic Crown Heights, an unflinching account of the bitter, on-going feud in Crown Heights between two rival Hasidic vigilante groups, to Eric Nelson at John Wiley & Sons.

Hand Wash Cold

Karen Maezen MillerAll-American mom, Zen Buddhist priest and author of Momma Zen Karen Maezen Miller‘s Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life, an inspirational guide to practical spirituality for anyone seeking transformative insights in the midst of his or her everyday life, to Georgia Hughes at New World Library.

Down & Derby

Jennifer BarbeeAlex CohenJennifer “Kasey Bomber” Barbee and NPR host Alex “Axles of Evil” Cohen’s Down & Derby: The Insider’s Guide To Roller Derby, an illustrated celebration of the history and recent resurgence of the explosive sport, to Denise Oswald in her first acquisition as Editorial Director at Soft Skull Press/Counterpoint.

100 Plus

Sonia ArrisonTechnology and policy analyst Sonia Arrison‘s 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith, with a foreword by PayPal founder and longevity research philanthropist Peter Thiel, exploring the implications of our increasing lifespans — and healthspans — and explaining how nearly every aspect of our financial, family, religious, and environmental outlooks will need reshaping, in a pre-empt to Amanda Moon at Basic Books.

Chicago Sun Times, February 2009

Blago blitz ‘like watching a train wreck’

BLAGO BOOK? | Literary agents don’t see publishers beating on ex-gov’s door after seeing him ‘literally destroy’ himself on TV

Chicago Sun Times, February 7, 2009

by Jordan Wilson

He has done the national TV rounds — twice. Is a book deal next for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich?

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Secrets of the Moneylab

Kay-Yut ChenMarina KrakovskyHewlett-Packard economist Kay-Yut Chen and science journalist Marina Krakovsky‘s Secrets of the Moneylab: Lab-Tested Wisdom from the New Science of Business, with a foreword by Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, explaining the practical implications of behavioral economics and offering useful, real-world lessons such as how to deal with irrationality in ourselves and others, use incentives to manage risk and predict the unpredictable, and overcome all-or-nothing thinking, in a two-day auction to David Moldawer at Portfolio/Penguin.

Blank Spots on the Map

Blank Spots on the Map coverBlank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World is an exposé of an empire that continues to grow every year — and which, officially, it isn’t even there. It is the adventurous, insightful, and often chilling story of a young geographer’s road trip through the underworld of U.S. military and C.I.A. “black ops” sites, a shadow nation of state secrets: clandestine military bases, ultra-secret black sites, classified factories, hidden laboratories, and top-secret agencies making up what defense and intelligence insiders themselves call the “black world.” Trevor Paglen is a scholar in geography, an artist and a provocateur. His impassioned, rigorous and relentless research into areas that officially don’t exist leads him on a globe-trotting investigation into a vast, undemocratic and uncontrolled hidden empire. Traveling to the Middle East, Central America, and even around our nation’s capital and its suburbs, he interviews the people who live on the edges of these blank spots. National Book Critics Circle Award Winner Rebecca Solnit says, “Some of the worst crimes in the American landscape are hiding in plain sight, and nobody has ever pursued them more thoroughly or explained them more chillingly and engagingly than Trevor Paglen. What he is doing is important, fascinating, and groundbreaking.”(Dutton Books/Penguin Group)


Trevor PaglenGeographer and artist Trevor Paglen‘s Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes, with a forward by Rebecca Solnit, his long-awaited first photographic monograph, to Aperture.

Build a Green Small Business

Build a Green Small Business coverFrom organic groceries to fuel-efficient cars and toxicity-free dry cleaning, the opportunities to profit from a business that builds local communities, heals the environment, and feeds the growing green demand are almost endless. As an entrepreneur who has built several successful, eco-friendly businesses, Scott Cooney gives you expert advice and guidance on starting, building, and growing a green business–and then delivers a gold mine of business ideas for every kind of product and service. Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur also gives you: Green Entrepreneur Rules that will get you started on the right foot, marketing, advertising and networking techniques that build a loyal customer base, and lots of other valuable resources, including green franchises, contacts and web links for more information. Whether you’re a novice or a veteran business developer, Scott points the way to productivity and profit strategies you can build into any small business model. (McGraw-Hill)

Ms. Cahill for Congress

Ms. Cahill for Congress coverMs. Cahill for Congress: One Fearless Teacher, Her Sixth-Grade Class, and the Election That Changed Their Lives Forever is the remarkable story of a teacher who ran a grassroots campaign for Congress… from her sixth-grade classroom. “You can’t run for office in this country unless you’re a millionaire or you know a lot of millionaires.” This offhand remark from one of her students dismayed public school teacher Tierney Cahill. When she told the kids that in a democracy anyone can run for office, they dared her to prove it — by running herself. With her eager students leading the way, and a war chest of just seven thousand dollars (compared to opponents with one hundred times the funds), Cahill not only got her name on the ballot but she won the Democratic primary. And as the campaign moved forward, Cahill’s students blossomed beyond her wildest expectations. Ms. Cahill for Congress is the inspiring story of an exceptional teacher who proved that anyone really can run for office — and even without money or connections, make a difference in a great many lives. (Ballantine/Random House).

Your Money Ratios

Charles FarrellProfessional 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.

The Brand Called You

The Brand Called You coverSelf-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)

Writer’s Digest, September 2008

Agent Advice: Ted Weinstein of Ted Weinstein Literary

Writer’s Digest, September 27, 2008

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.

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The Unfinished Game

The Unfinished Game coverBefore 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)

Why Boys Fail

Richard WhitmireUSA 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.

Cool Cuisine

Cool Cuisine coverWhat 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)

Unfolding the Napkin

Dan RoamStrategy 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

Autobiographer's Handbook coverThe 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).

The Body Toxic

TheBody Toxic coverWe 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)

Dallas Morning News, June 2008

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?

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Publishing Trends, June 2008

California Love: Agents Don’t Need to Live in NYC. They’ve Got E-mail (and Great Weather)

Publishing Trends, June 1, 2008

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!).

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Invisible Chains

Invisible Chains coverInvisible 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)

The Postcatastrophe Economy

Eric JanszenFormer tech CEO, venture capitalist, founder of finance community site, 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.

The Back of the Napkin

Back of the Napkin coverUsed 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 PicturesDan 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)

Fool Me Once

Ricky LaxLawyer 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.

Marketplace, March 2008

Another fake memoir dupes publishers

Marketplace Radio, March 6, 2008

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.

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The No-S Diet

The No-S Diet coverDeveloped 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)

The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion

Perfect Insult for Every Occasion coverForget 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)


Indexed coverJessica 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, 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)

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen

Yuan WangWarren SheirMika OnoProfessors 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.

Expecting Money

Expecting Money CoverPublishers 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)

Build a Green Small Business

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.

American Chestnut

American Chestnut CoverWhat 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

NUMB3RS coverThe 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)

Drug of Choice

Steve SuoErin BarnettFilm 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.

The Brand Called You

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.

Ms. Cahill for Congress

Tierney CahillReno, 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.

The Unfinished Game

Keith DevlinStanford 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.

Invisible Chains

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.

Cool Cuisine

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.

Blank Spots on the Map

Trevor PaglenGeographer 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.

The Probiotics Revolution

Probiotics Revolution coverProbiotics 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)


Jessica HagyInternet 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.

826 Valencia Guides

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.

Help! I Can’t Pay My Bills

Help I Can't Pay My Bills coverAs 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)

Expecting Money

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.

Marketplace, November 2006

Pynchon book will sell itself

Marketplace, ​November 20, 2006

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.]


SCOTT JAGOW: Tomorrow, novelist Thomas Pynchon comes out with his first book in nine years. Pynchon is famously media shy. Lisa Napoli has more.

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The No S Diet

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.

San Francisco Chronicle, September 2006

Seeking readers via ‘book trailer’ / Publisher tries out movie-style preview to market new title

San Francisco Chronicle, September 18, 2006

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.

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Marketplace, September 2006

You can get your money back IF . . .

Marketplace Radio, September 7, 2006

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.

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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.

Office Haiku

Office Haiku CoverOffice 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).

The Back of the Napkin

Dan RoamStrategy 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.

Wisdom to Grow On

Wisdom to Grow On CoverOne 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).

SFist, December 2005

Interview: Ted Weinstein, December 12, 2005

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.

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Open Doors

Open Doors CoverOpen 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).

American Nightingale

Bob WelchFilm and television rights to Bob Welch’s American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy, to Sal Chala at Relentless Entertainment.