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They Feed They Lion

When I first thought of blogging, a couple of people close to me thought it was a bad idea given  my “Impulse Control Problems.” I thought deeply about it and decided to take the plunge anyway. Today, I am ending this post in advance of saying some things I should not make public.  And yes I want a mental health medal.

If you can stand another moment of me before signing off for the weekend, here’s a radio  interview I did yesterday on publishing. I totally fudged the Google question; is it obvious?http://writersonwriting.blogspot.com/2009/09/betsy-lerner-and-rachel-resnick.html

While U Were Out

A lot of really nice things happened while I was away. Makes you wonder if it’s sometimes better to clear out instead of  trying to make things happen. On the other hand, that’s my job description.

Goat Song went into a fourth printing after a rapturous NPR. Dreaming in Hindi gets a UK offer. Columbine sells in Japan. Down the Nile makes the BOGO promotion at Borders (that’s Buy One Get One Free). I made a sale the day I left (top secret for now). And I took on a new client three days into  the trip and one day before I defended my mini-golf championship.

I think I mentioned that I didn’t get to pleasure read on vacation. I did slip in some magazines. My client Hamilton Cain has a wonderful piece in this month’s Men’s Health. The sex tips, however, are neither interesting nor useful. James Ellroy has an article from an old issue of Playboy about his obsession with women. Worth reading. Nicholson Baker’s article in the New Yorker about the Kindle (did you hear that? the sound of me supressing a yawn). And much loved is a poem by CK Williams in the 8/3/09 NewYorker called “Dust.”


(Proper Name) ought to be an easy person to (Verb). He is (adjective), (adjective), (adjective), and ridiculously well connected. His father is (Proper Name), the editor of (National Magazine), and he grew up in the kind of gilded New York (noun) where Joan Didion, Jay McInerney and George Plimpton were drop-in guests. His godfather is Morgan Entrekin, the publisher of Grove/Atlantic, who bought (Proper Name’s)  first novel, “(Book Title)” when (Proper Name)  was just (Age).  Hunter S. Thompson, another family friend, came through with a timely blurb, saying, “I’m afraid he will do for his (Noun) what I did for mine.”

Photo: Michael Nagle
If that weren’t insufferable enough, (Proper Name), now 25, has a third novel, “An Expensive Education,” being published on Wednesday by Atlantic Monthly, and “,” meanwhile, is being made into a (Noun) starring Kiefer Sutherland, Chace Crawford and (Your Favorite Rap Artist).
*Copy supplied by Charles McGrath/NYT/8/3/09


Nation, tonight on The Colbert Report, please check out Neil de Grasse Tyson. Yes, he’s the guy on Nova, the director of the Rose Center and Hayden Planetarium, author of Merlin’s Tour of the Universe, Death by Black Hole, and the Pluto Files among others. He’s the guy who downgraded Pluto’s cold ass from beloved planet to icy comet, and thereby became Public Enemy #1 to fifth graders everywhere. Most important, People named him sexiest astrophysicist of the year.

Charlie Rose, Bite me

I met Larry Dark in graduate school. He was a fiction writer and I was a poet which means we didn’t cross paths all that much. Then when I was a baby editor at Ballantine, we did a book together:  Literary Outtakes. Now, these 467 years later, Larry developed, runs, and hosts the prestigious Story Prize. Here is the webcast from this year’s ceremony: 


At a Theater Near You


letters of wcw0001

 Three hundred letters from William Carlos Williams to his younger brother with whom he confides his desire to become a great artist. Edited by Andrew Krivak, poet, scholar, novelist and author of A Long Retreat.







Stacy Horn on the Faith Middleton Showhttp://tinyurl.com/StacyFaith








“ For any reader who wants to understand the complicated nature of evil, this book is a masterpiece.” — Seattle Times

 Also this week:

I  tried to wear my hair up with a clip. No one said anything so I’m assuming it was a disaster.

We threw a little party for our superb assistant Yishai on the occasion of his wedding next week.

We are booked solid for meetings with foreign publishers and film types who are coming to New York for the Book Expo

Someone who will go unnamed at the William Morris Agency is not returning my call. Unexfuckingceptable.


Twelve-Step Program

Please read this article by Jon Karp, Publisher of the imprint Twelve, if you want some really cogent thoughts on the state of publishing. And you won’t need to turn your life over to a higher power except your keyboard.


FAQ: I’m About to be Published – How Come I’m not Happy?

R. writes, “I’ve got a new book coming out from (major trade publisher) in May. So how come I’m not happy? 

R. adds that it has already received terrific early reviews from PW and Booklist (not mentioning Kirkus one can only imagine the worst — who are those anonymous Kirkus bastards anyway?).  She fears the book will sink “like Sarah Palin’s reputation.”

R. further divulges that she has done well with two previous books, blogs for some pretty big deal blogs like Psych Today, writes a weekly column for her city paper (think Wallace Stevens), co-edits a scholarly journal and is a full professor at a kick ass univeristy. Go Huskies. 

Why is R. unhappy?

 1) R. is a writer. A happy lot? I think not. If we were, how would the shrinks make a living?

 2) R’s book is being published into the worst financial crisis, slashing of book reviews and massive store closings. Never have books had to fight so hard for their readers, except during the Spanish Inquisition.

 3)  R. is doing everything right, promotion-wise: building a profile in print and electronic media. Could R. be doing more? Sure. Why not hire one of those grad students for a month or two and put together email & mailing lists of places where he might be welcome to talk. There are two basic ways to get attention, either through national media or a grass roots campaign. I encourage all of my clients to wage the grass roots campaign in the event that the national media doesn’t come through, but also because it’s a smart way to extend the reach of your book.  Look into getting a lecture agent. Go to NYC and meet with your editor, publisher, publicist armed with ideas.  The more you bring to the table, the more you invest in getting the word out, the better off you’ll be. If you’re at the beginning of your career, prepare to do everything you can to get attention for the book.  

4) The real reaon R. is unhappy, I think, is because R. spent a year or more writing the book, probably nights and weekends since R. has a full time job, and there’s like a six week window (or less) to get it noticed. Let’s face it, unless you’re Malcolm Gladwell, Inc., getting published is like getting crapped on.

This may sound harsh, but I mean it in the most inspiring way possible:  I think it’s really important to remember that no one asked you to write.

R., glad you asked?