Posts Tagged ‘Random House’


eBook Perils?

March 12, 2013

It is not exactly the sort of thing that makes a lot of friends, but it’s worth taking a moment to remind that not all contracts are great and wonderful harbingers of a writer’s salvation. Or, as John Scalzi puts it: “Dear writers: This is a horrendously bad deal and if you are ever offered something like it, you should run away as fast as your legs or other conveyances will carry you.”


And, of course, there is always something of an update.

Rule #1: Don’t panic.

Rule #2: It’s Scalzi, so, you know … whatever.

Rule #3: There is no rule three.

And, in truth, I’m wondering how electronic books are going to work with Google glasses. Makes the morning commute that much more scary, eh? I guess the big thing is to make sure the publisher isn’t dumping liability onto the writers, there. You know, because we just can’t wait for the first headline about twenty-two teenagers on a church youth outing perishing in horrendous flames after the minivan they were all packed into was forced off the road by someone who didn’t see all the plot twists of War and Peace coming as he read his way to work.

Okay, now I’m just reaching. But, you know … whatever.



Desperately seeking debut novelists

December 20, 2009

From Alan Rinzler’s blog, The Book Deal: An Insider’s View of Publishing, come’s this little piece that is a welcomed reprieve for emerging authors…

Publishers desperately seeking insanely great debut novelists

“Everybody’s looking for the next big thing — a work of great literary fiction from an unknown writer who’s never been published.”

That’s according to Jay Schaefer, an editor-at-large at Workman Publishers in New York City and its subsidiary, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Schaefer, a publishing veteran best known for producing the huge best seller Under the Tuscan Sun during his long tenure at Chronicle Books, spoke with me the other day after making the rounds at two writers conferences out here on the West Coast.

“Every editor I saw was prowling the workshops and the grassy slope outside the conference, searching high and low for the next undiscovered debut novelist,” Schaefer said.

“No question, good debut novels are getting snapped up and published.”

Read entire article



eRights and Wrong for Publishers

December 12, 2009

From The New York Times…

Legal Battles Rage Over E-Book Rights to Old Books
Published: December 12, 2009

William Styron may have been one of the leading literary lions of recent decades, but his books are not selling much these days. Now his family has a plan to lure digital-age readers with e-book versions of titles like “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Confessions of Nat Turner” and Mr. Styron’s memoir of depression, “Darkness Visible.”

But the question of exactly who owns the electronic rights to such older titles is in dispute, making it a rising source of conflict in one of the publishing industry’s last remaining areas of growth.

Mr. Styron’s family believes it retains the rights, since the books were first published before e-books existed. Random House, Mr. Styron’s longtime publisher, says it owns those rights, and it is determined to secure its place — and continuing profits — in the Kindle era.

>>Read full article



Transitioning from magazine to book editor

August 19, 2009

The realities of being a book editor can prove challenging to those editors migrating from the magazine world, as this piece from The New York Observer attests.

Notes for Andy Ward, on the Eve of His Move to Random House
By Leon Neyfakh

Random House surprised the publishing industry Monday with the hiring of GQ executive editor Andy Ward, who will be joining the editorial staff of the house’s flagship imprint in mid-September. Though Mr. Ward began his career in letters as an editorial assistant at Little, Brown, he has spent the past 13 years working in magazines—the most recent six at GQ, and the seven before that at Esquire. Mr. Ward is just one of several magazine editors who have made the jump into the book business during the past year and a half, a trend that made us wonder: Just how different is the life of a magazine editor from that of a book editor, and do the people who trade one in for the other know what they’re getting into?

And so, having conducted interviews with a number of publishing people who began their careers in the magazine world, we’ve come up with the following crib sheet for Mr. Ward and anyone else who follows in his footsteps:

>>read entire article


Random House screws author, disses Mohammed

August 8, 2008

From its inception, through its publication, the anfractuous journey a book must make in effort to reach the ultimate reader can extend years. For some, even decades. For the author, even once the publisher has bought the manuscript, she can expect spending at least another year of massaging the prose to suit the needs of her editor before its release. A year in which an illustrator will conjure up a magnificent jacket for the book. A year in which the marketing department will brainstorm how to sell the book big, wide and long. A year in which a publicist will schedule book signings and endeavor to land favorable reviews in PW, Kirkus, The New York Times and beyond. A year in which some Big Brain at any one of the multitudinous strata of corporate levels responsible for publishing a book would muster up the gumption to stop all of this from happening way too late and for entirely the wrong, pitiable reason.

From today’s Reuters, by Edith Honan:

Publisher Random House has pulled a novel about the Prophet Mohammed’s child bride, fearing it could “incite acts of violence.”

“The Jewel of Medina,” a debut novel by journalist Sherry Jones, 46, was due to be published on August 12 by Random House, a unit of Bertelsmann AG, and an eight-city publicity tour had been scheduled, Jones told Reuters on Thursday.

The novel traces the life of A’isha from her engagement to Mohammed, when she was six, until the prophet’s death. Jones said that she was shocked to learn in May, that publication would be postponed indefinitely.

Full story



The next Harry Potter?

July 3, 2008

From The New York Observer, Leon Neyfakh reports about a 28-year-old’s debut novel that recently sold at auction for nearly $1 million.

Here’s a fairytale: A 28-year-old Columbia M.F.A. student named Reif Larsen wrote a novel about a whimsical child from Montana who likes maps, and suddenly all kinds of famous editors in New York were calling his agent, Denise Shannon, and telling her they really wanted to publish it.
Norton offered to preempt with an advance in the neighborhood of $400,000 if Ms. Shannon took the book off the market and sold it to the publisher right then and there. The editorial director of Dial Press, an imprint of Random House’s Bantam Dell Doubleday group, offered to pay half a million for the same privilege.

Ms. Shannon said no to both and confidently took the book to auction. Within days, according to three sources, she’d sold North American rights for a sum just shy of $1 million to Ann Godoff at the Penguin Press, gravely disappointing editors at Random House, Viking, Riverhead and elsewhere. The book was also sold to publishers in Canada, Germany and Italy, and at press time, deals were being negotiated for the U.K. and the Netherlands. The book, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, is scheduled to come out in the U.S. next summer.

All of which begs the question: Who is this Reif Larsen and how did he get away with this?

Ms. Shannon, who has also represented Gary Shteyngart, Lydia Davis and Francine Prose, says it’s because the book is so good, obviously. “The fact is that it comes down to the work itself,” she wrote in an e-mail, “and in this case we are talking about a novel that is startlingly original and intelligent and well-written.”

But don’t lots of people write pretty good debut novels? Why did T.S. Spivet send all of New York publishing into a frenzy?

Read full article



News from our neighbors here at WordPress

April 11, 2008

I missed this.

From our own neighbors here at WordPress. See, one of the things we’ve been accustomed to seeing of late has been what I consider the discouraging popularity of bad websites. Of course, what this most likely means is that I’m just not hip. Indeed, many of you probably like the web phenomenon known as Lolcats.

For those of you that somehow do not know what they are, the best I can say is to not let it worry you. Actually, I’ll do one better. If you don’t know what the damn things are, stop reading this post right now. That’s right. Move on. Go find some porn, or something. Seriously. Preferably hardcore. Maybe take up a heroin habit while you’re at it. That way you’ll at least be doing something more productive than thinking about … well, the unspeakable horror that comes next.
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