Friday, May 28, 2010

Twain on the Brain

by Rachel

Get excited people! Mark Twain’s (almost) neverending autobiography is finally going public in November. Leaving behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs and notes, Twain gave instructions not to publish this mammoth manuscript until 100 years after his death. Right now the manuscript is safely tucked away in a vault in UC Berkeley and will run in volumes for all you Twain fanatics eager to know every single thought that ever crossed his mind.

That’s very exciting, and it will probably be necessary to catch up on my speed reading if I want to read the half-a-million-word memoir in full.

Do we have any diehard Twain fans here? And, will you be reading his 100-year old memoir?

Building enough bookshelves

by Lauren

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” Anna Quindlen
While I can’t speak for Anna Quindlen’s children, I think that those of us here seem to have gotten it right! Thanks to everyone who sent in their bookshelf photos. I’ll start here with mine, and then follow me after the jump for some from DGLM agents and blog readers!!


As I mentioned, I added a new bookcase to the family recently, so the first is haphazardly organized and covered in knickknacks, photos, and mementos. The second actually has some organization to it: Baby-sitters Club and Little House books on the bottom; galleys in the middle; and the top shelf is a combination of books I represent (which I really have to get better about bringing home, because there’s a lot missing), books I sell rights for, and books I’m eager to read that are ready to move up to the majors: the bedside table pile. I actually moved the bedside table pile on top of the bookcase for photo purposes—that’s the pile on the left that’s topped with my brand new Room by Emma Donoghue galley. Those are the books I’m in the middle of or desperate to read next. The pile beside it are the books that I don’t own (though some of those are intermingled elsewhere as well) and have to remember to read and give back. At a glance, it seems about half of those are Jim’s!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

LOST in a good book

by Michael

It's BEA week, and I'm in New York, in a hotel, exhausted by my day of standing around. But my mind keeps drifting back to Sunday and the finale of LOST. As I said to friends, I laughed, I cried, and I was completely caught up in the moment. I will miss the show, flaws and all.

What's this got to do with books, you ask? LOST had many literary allusions throughout the show, and this LA Times blog post  goes through a bunch of them. Interestingly, the producers and I like many of the same books. Are any of the LOST books on your favorites list?

A poor get-rich-quick scheme

by Jessica

My father, who worked in the newspaper business, was especially fond of quoting the New Yorker writer A.J. Liebling, who remarked that “freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.” Book publishing may not suffer from quite the same issues (not least because most publishing companies are now owned not by individuals, but conglomerates) but it’s a still a business in which it does not hurt to arrive equipped with your own funding.

As we all know, in the present market, publishing houses are looking for authors with well-established, and ideally national, platforms. For non-fiction writers especially, this translates into having the resources to spearhead their own publicity and promotion. Such resources may not necessarily be monetary—authors may possess celebrity, the backing of a large and well-known organization, media connections, or all of the above. These, mind you, are in addition to credentials and the ability to write well (or hire someone who can). Being an expert in your field is rarely enough. You need to be able to demonstrate that you can drive sales. Sometimes you need the wherewithal to actually deliver sales. Nothing sweetens a deal like a letter of commitment for the purchase of 10,000 books.

The business of building platforms, including putting together websites, blogging, networking, doing p.r. (on your own or with the help of a freelancer) is costly, whether in terms of cash or time. It’s true that on-line media may mean that publishing, unlike politics, is not solely a rich man’s game, for it offers to the intrepid and web-savvy a relatively cost-effective means of building a following. But it’s also real and time-consuming work, work that comes in addition to your professional and personal obligations, not to mention the actual writing. I can understand why many writers find the demands of the publishing industry onerous, a bit like the to-do list Cinderella's stepmother commands her to complete before heading to the ball. In addition to being talented and credentialed, writers must be marketing whizzes, masters of social media, twitter adepts with legions of followers. If it sounds a little crazy, it is. The demands are many and the rewards few. For many published authors, writing is less a revenue stream than a long term investment. And sometimes it’s solely a labor of love.

Publishing a book is perhaps the worst get-rich-quick-scheme imaginable, but it seems that few of us—writers, booksellers, agents, editors, designers, sales reps, etc.—are in it for the money. Although there are always a few exceptions who prove the rule (and it’s true that publishers must make enough money to publish another day, and satisfy the media conglomerate of which they are a part) the book business still tends to draw people who are passionate about books, those for whom writing, or working with writers, is something of a calling. What keeps you in the publishing orbit? For me, it’s the constant opportunity to learn. Plus the ability to lose myself in a terrific novel and call it “work.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Galley tales

by Miriam

It’s BEA week (check this out for an overview of the conference if you’re not familiar with it) which means that some of us are at the Javitz Center checking out publishers’ exhibits, schmoozing with authors who are in from out of town, and loading up free tote bags with galleys of books that are already generating buzz.

For me, the point of BEA has always been collecting those galleys. Invariably, I find myself walking the huge expanse of the Javitz arena ridiculously bogged down by the weight of too many of these advanced readers copies only to realize when I leave the building that getting from 11th Avenue to civilization requires a very long walk to the nearest subway or an endless wait for a cab. No matter. It’s still a thrill to read something in this vulnerable, unfinished format (complete with typos and mostly exaggerated promotional information on the back cover) and then watch the published book race up the bestseller lists, win a huge prize, or both.

I just came across this old piece from New York magazine and was delighted to see how many of those galleys I’d picked up at the 2007 BEA went on to gaudy sales and great acclaim.

Are any of you attending BEA this year? What galleys are you walking away with?

Creative marketing

by Stacey

I found this little piece in the Metropolitan section of the Sunday NY Times and thought it was worth sharing. I've noted before when I've found authors employing unique marketing tactics because I think it's really interesting to see what people come up with in such a competitive marketplace. This one definitely falls into that category. The author Jennifer Belle hired several dozen actresses to read from her new book, THE SEVEN YEAR BITCH, at various points around the city. 600 actresses responded to the casting call! Now we'll have to see if the clever idea translates to book sales. Since she's a previous bestseller, there's a good chance she'll hit the list again, and while it's pretty difficult to determine cause and effect between publicity and sales (minus an Oprah appearance), the fact that the Times picked it up suggests it's having its desired effect. I'd love to hear about any other unusual, high concept, creative author marketing ideas you've come across in your travels. I will personally be attending the Junie B. Jones Stupid Smelly Bus event complete with an actual bus at a very cool local bookstore, Books & Greetings, this weekend with my older girls. We're looking forward to seeing some creative marketing in action!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Books DO make you smarter!

by Chasya

Book Expo America kicked off today, and while the show floor won’t open until tomorrow there is already a lot of talk underway about a topic that will dominate discussions this year -- digital publishing. This brings me to news I stumbled on at Moby Lives, of a new scientific study published in the Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, which shows that simply having books at home increases the level of education a child will attain. The 20-year study also concludes that the outcome of a child's education level and how far they advance will be affected twice as much by having books at home than by their father’s education level, which is also a determining factor here.

This sort of thinking makes sense to me. Just being surrounded by books can make them tantalizing enough for you to reach out to discover what lies within them on your own. Having them constantly present can instill in a person that reading and literature is significant and worthwhile.

Heading into the digital age of books I wonder how this will affect young people should electronic readers become the dominant medium. If they are not surrounded by books will they think of them in a different way? With so much else to distract them (I’m looking at you World of Warcraft), will they think of books much if they’re not physically there? What say you, readers?

Happy BEA!

by Lauren

By the time this posts, I'll already be at the DGLM table in the International Rights Center at the Jacob Javits Center, doing my duty at Book Expo America as the agency's subsidiary rights director. Today is the beginning of American publishing's largest trade show and, for me, a three-day extravaganza of back-to-back meetings with foreign publishers, sub-agents, scouts, audio editors, and film producers. I’ll leave it to one of my colleagues to give you the BEA scoop in another post, but in the meantime, I thought it might be a good time to talk subrights.

I offered a basic rundown of how subrights works a couple years ago, but maybe now would be a good time to talk in more depth. Since foreign rights take up the bulk of my time—and will account for most of my meetings this week—why don’t we start there? If you’d like to know more about audio, film, and serial, just let me know below, and I’ll tackle them in future posts.

Foreign is the biggest rights market. When a book sells to an American publisher, there are more or less three options: North American, world English, or world. Occasionally a book sells separately to Canada and the US, but that’s not the norm unless the author is Canadian, and even then, it really depends on the type of book.

In a North American rights deal, the American publisher will distribute their edition in English in the US, Canada, the US territories, and the open market. The open market is the term for those territories where English-language rights are fair game. American and British publishers have essentially carved up the world into three sections: US exclusive territories; UK & Commonwealth exclusive territories; and everywhere else. Occasionally, there’s a land grab from one side or the other insisting that they must have exclusive rights to a particular place (BEA 2006 featured a panel on the whole kerfuffle). I’ve seen British publishers insist that they should get Europe exclusively because they’re…nearby? And I’ve seen US publishers insist that India’s not in the British Commonwealth. The part of it that always perplexes me is that the major players on both sides are generally owned by the same parent companies. The open market is the territories in which both the US and the UK publishers are allowed to sell. In the end, all that matters from the authors’ and agents’ perspectives is that the publishers’ dispute doesn’t prevent a sale to both territories and that the book is widely available. The notion that an island nation that no one involved could pick out on a map is a deal breaker is really quite silly. Fortunately, it usually works out.

In a world English deal, this is blessedly not our problem, though unfortunately we also lose the chance to do a separate deal in the UK. This typically means that the US publisher has a UK arm that they feel will publish or distribute the book well. All non-English rights, though, are controlled by the author, which means that we’re trying to place those where possible.

In a world rights deal, it’s all—English and every other language—in the publisher’s hands.
The way that foreign rights deals are typically done is through a network of subagents in the major territories throughout the world. In countries like the UK, Germany, Japan, etc., there are agencies that represent American publishers and agents, and those are the people I work most closely with on foreign rights deals. Our subagents represent the full list of rights that we represent on behalf of our authors in their territories, though of course not all books will sell in all countries.

Sometimes, books don’t sell internationally at all—it’s often said that such books “don’t travel.” Books that depend largely on pre-existing interest in the author or subject, for example, are less likely to sell internationally if that pre-existing interest isn’t also international. A novel by a small publisher in the US is more likely to sell than a bestselling American cookbook by a celebrity chef who is not on TV outside the US market. This is one of the things I love most about foreign rights: the rules are totally different and sometimes the little guy in the US market gets to be a bigshot elsewhere. As part of that, there’s a lot of information to manage: true crime sometimes sells in Australia, Germany and Japan, but rarely elsewhere unless the case has international reach; memoirs are tough in Spain; and you can’t typically sell to a foreign country those things that they feel they do better than the US. For example, literary fiction is tough to sell in France, but commercial novels are easier. (The French don’t exactly clamor for American attempts at high culture.) Horror’s tough to sell in Asia, because their standards for what’s frightening are quite different than the American one: think of The Ring as compared to an American slasher flick.

I really love these little glimpses into foreign cultures, and it’s always really satisfying when I choose a book to highlight for a particular subagent or publisher and get a sale. And it’s a huge pleasure to work directly with clients of the agency who aren’t my own, some of whom I’ll be lucky enough to see for a bit at the fair!

Any questions?

Monday, May 24, 2010

James and the Giant Zombie

by Jim
Sometimes a book will become a bestseller and we suddenly see dozens of knock-off queries. There were about two years when everyone said they wrote the next Da Vinci Code. The thing is, you can’t tell if they were working on something that ultimately felt comparable to the original title or whether they’re peddling a quickie novel they pounded out to fit what they perceive as a market need. Ultimately, it doesn’t really make a difference as long as the quality is there. But, well…it usually isn’t.

There’s another rash of query-alikes happening right now, but this time, I KNOW they’re just ripping off a formula. And for some folks, it’s working.

First came Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Then Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. And since then, dozens of similar literary mash-ups have been acquired and hundreds have been written (or at least queried).

My question to you: isn’t this a gimmick that gets old after the first time? Even the author of the first book moved onto something different right away: Abraham Lincon, Vampire Hunter. Now THERE is an idea….

Where will all the bookstores go?

by Jane

Last week, I was chatting with a client who was visiting from out of town and who I hadn’t seen for a while. We talked about all of the changes in publishing, especially in the area of electronic publishing, that had occurred since we had last seen each other.

One of the things he asked, and which I thought was a very interesting question, was what will happen to the brick and mortar bookstores now that electronic books are gaining such a foothold, to say nothing about the increased market share that Amazon and the other on-line booksellers have. What will this mean for the large chains – Barnes & Noble and, especially, Borders.

Then on Friday, the 21st, there was a piece on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, “E-Books Rewrite Bookselling,” discussing just this topic.

And Mike Shatzkin, industry pundit, estimates that by the end of 2012, digital books will be 20%-25% of unit sales with another 25% of books sold online. That’s 50% of all books sold and it would seem to me that losing that volume of business will cause the large chains, at least, to shutter a significant number of stores.

The only way I can imagine they could survive is by carrying an even greater variety of products other than books than they already do. And, because these changes are happening so quickly, they would have to begin carrying this additional merchandise immediately so as to build up customers before their book business deteriorates any further.

I think the independent stores that are left—after the chains took over a huge part of the market and put many of them out of business years ago—will be less affected and, in fact, could thrive. For them, selling more varied merchandise will be less of a “leap” than their much larger, more corporate cousins and their customers are truly the most loyal of book lovers. How ironic, considering what happened to the bulk of the independent booksellers when the chains descended over a decade ago.

I am still convinced that electronic book publishing will increase readership as opposed to destroying it. It is up to the big retailers to figure out how to keep up with this new world in order to stay in business.

What do you think? Will the chain bookstores survive and if so, how?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Presidential reading

by Rachel

I’ve got to admit, I only picked up a copy of Netherland last year because I heard President Obama was reading the book. Usually I’d give a book a fair go, but I couldn’t get into Netherland at all—I want to say it’s because the main character’s wife was named Rachel (which kept throwing me off), as well as there being too many cricket references in the book (a sport all-too familiar and exhausting for me!). These were incredibly petty reasons not to love the work, though they were enough to make me stop reading. But coming back to why I picked up a copy in the first place—it was because Obama was reading it; I think it’s fascinating to know what a public figure is reading. And not just any public figure, but a president.

So it’s no surprise that I loved this slideshow on the Huffington Post of some of the U.S. presidents’ favorite books. After evaluating their favorites, I think Bill Clinton sounds like the type of person I’d like to sit down and talk books with. And, George W. Bush—95 books read in 2006? That’s a lot of spare time for reading.

How do you rate the presidents’ book choices? And, have you picked up a book simply because a public figure was reading it?

It's a Book!

by Lauren

As the (perhaps overly) proud aunt of the world’s most amazing nephew, I try to keep up with the latest children’s books offerings to make sure that my boy’s got all the most valuable reading material. No one should have to grow up without his or her fair share of pigeon tales. I made sure to be the one to read him his first book, even though he was sleeping and less than two weeks old—and regardless of its apparently quite insidious actual message.

And now, thanks to the Book Bench blog, I know what I’ll be buying him in August for his “visit with Aunt Lauren” gift. Fortunately, my sister was raised by the same book-loving mother I was (funny how that works out), so I have no doubt he’ll grow up aware of how fun and wonderful and significant words can be. Once he’s old enough to take his reading habits to nursery school and beyond, however, I fear he might need to share the final message of Lane Smith’s forthcoming It’s a Book with some of his less fortunate peers, and I’d hate for him to be less than prepared.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

16-year-old failure gets published

by Jim
Galleycat directed me to this blog post from a 16-year-old debut author.

Published at 16. Must feel amazing, right? Well, not necessarily. She offers this: “I'm 16. I got a book deal when I was 15. There are authors that were published at 13 and 14 and I always find myself thinking, God, must I fail at everything I do? They were published younger than me!”

I love this girl. Not only does she have an incredibly rational and professional approach to the publishing process, she’s also the kind of crazily motivated go-getter that I find equally unnerving and inspiring.

So sure, it’s easy to say that getting published isn’t a race when you’re 16, but the facts hold true: there is plenty of time to become a published writer. Even if you ARE already above the legal drinking age.

Collateral damage

by Michael

I really feel for authors. Partly because it’s my job, but also because I work with them closely and know how hard the business can be. I wrote a bit about rejection the other day, that being rejection from editors, agents and other “gatekeepers.” But then there’s rejection from the buying public. Sometimes books just don’t sell—the book doesn’t find its intended audience. Worse, sometime people buy the book and then explain to the world, via blog, or tweet or Amazon review, why they hate it. Those reviews sting. But I think there’s something that has to be even tougher: when readers reject your work, without having read it, because of a decision made by the publisher—in fact, they may boycott the book to make a point. But as John Scalzi smartly points out on his blog, the one getting punished isn’t the publisher, but the author.

There have been a couple of major brouhahas that caused readers to consider boycotting books from certain publishers. Earlier this year, there were calls for a boycott of Bloomsbury books over their perceived whitewashing of covers, and there’s quite the Amazon backlash to titles not available in the Kindle format. As Scalzi rightly points out, when one boycotts a publisher, authors are hurt, not the publisher. The author benefits more from one book sale than the publisher suffers from a lost one, as the publisher has an entire list (and probably several other imprints, or even other businesses) from which to make money, while the author has just the one book.

Now, I know what you’re thinking—authors don’t have to be published by any one publisher (I’ll ignore that it’s often the case that only one publisher is willing to publish the book), so they have some say in the situation. But in the two examples above, the controversies didn’t exist when the author signed the contract, and in both cases, the authors had no control over the perceived malfeasance. Authors have control over so little in the publishing process, that singling any one book or author out just doesn’t make much sense.

Maybe you all disagree, and I’m open to hear your thoughts. I just hope people will think twice about who’s getting hurt.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sh*t My Dad Says

by Stacey

This might be old news, but the fact that Justin Halpern's book based on his tweets about his dad is making its debut at No. 8 on the New York Times list this weekend is just incredible. This article goes into detail about the book, currently #25 on Amazon, and the sitcom scheduled for next season starring William Shatner. Wow is all I can say about the whole thing. This proves that all you need to make it is a really crass dad with a smart, funny writer for a son, and a quirky, catching idea. The Internet will do the rest.

Literary pablum…

by Miriam

This NPR piece about aphorisms and proverbs, made me think of the acquaintance who frequently utters the phrase “a fine tooth and comb” (as in “I went over that document with a fine tooth and comb”) to my endless chagrin and secret delight, or my four-year-old whose impressive vocabulary sometimes stalls on him and who ends up asking for a “drum ball” before an important announcement instead of a “drum roll.” But it also reminds me how much I hate the tired, meaningless cliches that authors occasionally resort to out of laziness or haste.

Do you ever find yourself reading something and being so put off by the author’s use of throwaway platitudes that you put the book down and turn on the tv? Or is it just me?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Diamond in the rough

by Stacey

I know we've all talked a lot about self-publishing and what it means for the more traditional, old fashioned book business, and I'm not really interested in getting into the pros and cons of self-publishing, but I thought it was worth exploring this topic a little bit further and see if there are ways to address how the two worlds can come together.

What prompted by interest in the subject was a few things that came up around the same time. First, I read this piece about the rise of self-publishing and how the digital age is somehow making self-publishing more respectable. I'm not sure if I agree entirely , but she makes some interesting points about how far self-publishing has come. Then, I saw this in Publisher's Weekly about an entire trade show for self publishers and authors who have either published this way, or plan to, or for anyone curious about what it's all about. Finally, and perhaps the most interesting piece of all, I had lunch with a prominent editor recently at a major commercial house who told me that they had recently done a deal with an author who had previously self-published her book. We talked a little bit about it, and when I asked her if the book had done very well in its self-published life for them to consider reissuing it, she told me that it hadn't sold particularly well, and the numbers weren't all that great. So I asked her why in this ridiculously difficult market did they agree to publish it? Because it's really good, she told me. Oh, how simple. And how refreshing!

I continue to believe that there are untapped talented authors lurking out there publishing books on their own, in some cases quite successfully. I've signed up several self-published books over the years, and it's been a bit of a mixed bag. One author was self-publishing her novels successfully long before it became fashionable, or as easy as it is today. When she chose to reach out to traditional publishers, we got her a very nice six-figure deal for two books with a commercial publisher, and after a few years of feeling increasingly frustrated by the lack of control over the publishing process, she decided to go back to self-publishing. Another was a cookbook that I resold successfully to a division of Random House, and the book has sold fairly well and looks like it will backlist nicely. A third was a nonfiction self-help book that had some great elements and an author who promised to support the book financially, but I wasn't able to make it work. I am fascinated and intrigued when I hear stories of self-published books selling to traditional publishers, in some cases for a lot of money or with a big promotional plan in place. And I've thought over the years about trying to find self-published books that have done well in an effort to find new clients and new projects. If an author has gone through the time and work required to publish on their own, they have already shown a commitment to their work, and if the stars are aligned in just the right way, maybe we can help them in their efforts by matching them with a traditional publisher who can offer much greater sales, marketing and distribution support. In the perfect storm effect, this can be a major win-win for all parties. Look at The Shack as an example.

There are so many books self-published every year (the stat of 764,448 titles last year is staggering) that there still needs to be some sort of filter to find the quality over quantity. Other than the books I've worked on, I haven't read many self-published titles, and I'd love to learn more about what’s out there. Do any of you have any recommendations for self-published books you absolutely loved?

Books good enough to eat

by Chasya

All over the country last week people were celebrating Children’s Book Week. An exciting nationwide undertaking that has been going on annually for nearly 100 years, Children’s Book Week introduces new ideas and author to kids and encourages reading. Events and readings took place in cities across the United States at libraries, schools and book stores. Promoting books to kids? Nothing can make me happier! Um, except for maybe this awesome post from Cake Wrecks celebrating CBW with some decidedly not-so-wrecked cakes. See my favorite below, and click here for more amazing looking cakes that will undoubtedly remind you of childhood!


Monday, May 17, 2010

De gustibus non disputandum est

by Michael

Anybody looking to feel better about rejection should take a look at this list of authors whose work was rejected (via Rejectionist, via Editorial Ass). The reality is that every published author has been rejected, usually many, many times. It goes with the territory.

I could bore you with all my thoughts on rejection, but the title really says it all: there’s no disputing taste.

The Storytellers at the University of Florida

by Jane
This weekend, I spent a couple of days at a really super writers’ conference at the University of Florida at Gainesville, the Storytellers’ Summit, which was organized by Dr. William McKeen and Professor Mike Foley, two incredibly talented and inspirational journalists and teachers. There were over 200 attendees.

And, again at this conference as was the case at the one I attended in February in a far different setting, I spent time with some really wonderful people:

Michael Connelly, the down-to-earth, bestselling author who told us he had actually graduated from the University of Florida 30 years ago this weekend.

Rick Bragg, the outrageously funny and brilliant Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, bestselling author and fanatical sports fan.

Andrea Billups, the gorgeous journalist and author formerly from Florida, now living in Michigan.

Dear Roy Peter Clark, client, friend and mentor.

Nicole Cisneros McKeen, Bill’s wife and editor of the Engineering School Alumni magazine, who made me feel immediately welcome.

Jeffrey Klinkenberg, award winning journalist and book author who had great stories to tell. (I wish we’d had more time to chat).

Wonderful Tom French, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author and incredibly talented and inspirational teacher and his beautiful wife Kelley, a superb journalist herself who I am hoping will be writing a proposal for a book very soon.

Steve Johnson, a talented photojournalist and precocious junior at the university who many are certain will some day rule the world.

Witty and brilliant Norton book editor Amy Cherry with whom I shared a panel and who I like and respect deeply.

I have always found these gatherings so inspirational. We talk about the business and our experiences, we learn from each other, we discuss ideas for new projects, we laugh a lot.

I encourage everyone who can possibly do this to find at least one conference a year to attend – I think you will learn a great deal from doing so. If you have already been to some of these, I would be most interested in hearing about your experiences.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Going once...going twice....

by DGLM

Sorry for the late notice, but if anyone wanted to bid on the galleys we donated for the Do the Write Thing auction, bidding is ongoing!

At home on the shelves

by Lauren

One of my deepest home decor desires is to line my walls with bookcases.  I grew up in a house where bookshelves were everywhere you looked, but New York City apartment living isn't necessarily ideal for the literary pack rat in me.  I'm probably not going to fulfill my dreams of Beauty and the Beast-style rolling ladders any time soon. 

That said, I've happily just added a new bookcase to my collection, so for right now, my shelves just barely hold all the books in my apartment, so long as I don't bring home the stacks of books obscuring the window by my desk here or the ones boxed up at my mom's.  The box of Babysitter's Club books I just bought from a stoop sale (Books #1-44 plus various specials for $20!  A total bargain!) really ate up all the space I had left after moving the floor stacks onto the bookcase.

So when I read the comments on Rachel's post last week, I was envious of the enormous size of your to-be-read piles.  Those numbers don't count all the already-read books you probably possess!  Do any of you have a real personal library?  Or walls upon walls lined with shelves?  Just massive stacks threatening to topple?  Books strewn about here and there, to be picked up on a whim?

I'm a big fan of the New Yorker's Book Bench blog's 1,000 Words feature, where people send photos of books out in the wild, so I'm asking you, dear readers, to send photos of your lovingly curated or totally ramshackle collections.   Email your photo as an attachment to news@dystel.com with the subject line "Book Shelves", and then comment below to tell us about your personal library!  We'll feature some of our favorite photos here on the blog—and I'll see if I can't convince some of my colleagues to share their own images.  The person who sends in my favorite photo (or the first person to demonstrate their ownership of the enviable rolling bookshelves) will get a copy of something from my bookshelves--making room for me to bring home the copy of Sebastian Junger's War I just got.

Literary heroes turn plastic!

by Rachel

When I was growing up, I played with Masters of The Universe action figures. My sister and I would play with these action figures for hours until a fight broke out over who would play with He-Man and who would be stuck with Skeletor – because seriously, nobody wants to play with Skeletor when you can be playing with He-Man.

I’ve always been a bit of a fan of action figures, and especially now that you can get action figures of literary heroes. I’m not ashamed to admit I have a plastic Virginia Woolf action hero, or a Chekhov finger puppet in my apartment. My love of good writing knows no end, I suppose.

So, I just loved this video I found on Huffington Post!



Bronte power dolls! I’ve got to get some, though if I do, I’m calling dibs on Emily Bronte—because seriously, again, why play with the other Bronte sisters when you can play with the writer of Wuthering Heights?

I’d like to see literary characters as action figures, too. Maybe Gregor Samsa from The Metamorphosis. He looks like a regular plastic figurine, but with the switch of a button he easily transforms into a monstrous insect.

Got any literary characters you’d like to see made into action heroes?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It’s not a bestseller if no one bought it

by Michael

It seems that Amazon finally caught on to the fact that the top 10 books on the Kindle Bestseller list were all free books—they’re now creating two lists, one for paid books, and one for free books. As the LA Times Jacket Copy blog notes, at the very least, the “bestseller” label won’t be a misnomer any longer.

This is also as it should be. Comparing the downloads of free books to the download of paid books never made much sense—the whole point of making the book free is to entice people who aren’t willing to pay for the work in the first place. Without payment, it’s not a sale, it’s a gift. Including both paid and free books on the list is comparing apples to oranges, and I’m glad they’re making the distinction—as Apple does in their App and iBook stores. With more than half the books on the Kindle Bestseller list being free, it’s going to be interesting to see which books now appear in the paid list.

With more information about the paid books, I’m curious to see how pricing affects sales. We know that free books are frequently downloaded, but is there a big different between $12.99 and $9.99? Or $9.99 and $4.99? A quick look at the iBookstore bestsellers shows only 7 books under $9.99 in the top 50, and those books are not new and priced to move, but rather backlist titles available in mass market formats. But the titles in the iBookstore are much more limited, so it’s hard to really draw conclusions.

So what do you think? Was it a good idea to divide the lists? Or did lumping free and paid ebooks onto the same list tell us something important?

Literary analysis

by Jessica

In this month’s Atlantic, author and staff writer Caitlin Flanagan argues that the success of books like the Twilight series, the romantic raptures of the High School Musical franchise and the syrupy stylings of Taylor Swift are related—indeed, they are a collective expression of an “insurrection” among young girls, which is taking place now. She hypothesizes that girls are hungry for “the Boyfriend Story,” because in the real world, where the sexual landscape is bleak, romance has been replaced by “hook-ups.” Hers is a controversial point, and Flanagan is not everyone’s cup of tea, indeed one blogger called her “the Phyllis Shlafly of the late Boomer set," and another “the antifeminist darling of the Atlantic.”  The Observer is perhaps most diplomatic in calling her “a provocatrice.” I was actually fairly surprised to see the fury she generates; there were on-line rejoinders to most every word she has written.

In any event, whether or not you buy her argument that in this trend toward the lovey-dovey we can espy “the fourteen and fifteen year olds of our nation” making “one of the last, great stands for human dignity,” it seems to me that this sort of conjecture (tendentious or not, I leave this up to you) is part and parcel of the ongoing discussion how books shape and are shaped by the public discourse. Indeed, Flanagan’s essay is at heart about a book—Anita Shreve’s new novel, Testimony, which Flanagan believes is a pitch-perfect portrayal of the grim world in which adolescent girls must operate. Flanagan’s penchant for peering into novels in search of larger reflection of the zeitgeist is hardly unique. You can find examples everywhere—including A.O. Scott’s recent New York Times essay, which connects Sam Lipsytes new novel The Ask, the Ben Stiller film Greenberg and Hot Tub Time Machine, and situates us squarely in what Scott believes is Gen-X’s “midlife crisis.” (As a gen-Xer myself, I find it impossible to believe.)

So, tapping into the cultural studies geek/provocateur in all of us, let’s indulge in a little trend analysis. What does it say that vampire books are huge? For a smart discussion on the new generation of ethical undead, have a look at the Millions. That mash-ups and steam punk and graphic novels are in vogue? That we are fascinated by the Tudors to the exclusion of much of the rest of British history? That books on the unseen forces behind common phenomena, a la Malcolm Gladwell, are so very popular? It’s tricky to make these sweeping statements about what we’re reading and why, but formulating wild generalizations is part of the fun.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Words, words, words

by Miriam
Looking back it’s amazing I survived my childhood without much in the way of bullying or even name calling. I was a humongous geek with a penchant for reading the dictionary (and the World Book Encyclopedia) and then holding forth on my discoveries about everything from glaciers to Millard Fillmore or using words like “sesquipedalian,” just because they rolled so trippingly off the tongue.

To this day, I can pick up a dictionary and get hopelessly lost in definitions. When I found this piece on one of my random Google searches that led to other searches I was delighted to be reminded that other people enjoy the dictionary as an entertainment, not just reference, source. Lots of us geeks out there, huh?

‘Fess up! Do you read the dictionary for fun? What are your favorite “finds?”

What do men want? A poll--and a prize!

by Stacey

Following up on my blog post from last week and based on some of the comments we received, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to ask our blog readers, men in particular, or the women who love them, what it is they'd like to see more of, and/or less of in the marketplace. Reader David Jarrett brings up a good point that a lot of what's published today is derivative of other, successful books or authors, and often not even written by those original authors. But because they've become a household name, it's easier to sell the "branded" version of an author's work than an original work by an unknown writer. I read one of these for our work book club once, and I found it almost unreadable, lacking any depth or originality, a complete by the numbers exercise. It's a frustrating thing that we are all forced to deal with, but it's a reality of the current business model.

So I'd like to know what our male readers really want to read (which categories specifically on the fiction and nonfiction side), what they see lacking in the market, what they see too much of in the market, and what they would feel excited to spend their money on. I'd also like to see positive and negative examples of books they either loved or hated, and why.

Then if I (or any other agents here) sign a new project up that falls into these categories, I will gladly reference this blog post and let editors know there are lots of men out there who are excited to buy and read interesting, original, thought-provoking books in any number of categories, and we need to work harder to find them! As an incentive, I will choose one person who responds at random and send along a copy of a recent DGLM title. Thanks for taking part in our discussion, and in our ongoing effort to make the book biz a better place.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cash for pageviews

by Chasya

These days we often advise our clients to get out there and build a presence on the internet. We may sound all broken-recordish on this issue, but the free publicity an author can get simply by engaging in social media is becoming more and more necessary and invaluable! And, of course, we’ve been practicing what we preach right here on our blog and by spending time reading and boning up on social media ourselves. Which is why this great piece from The Awl caught my attention. Looks like the New York Observer is offering cash prizes for certain achievements made by their staff on the interwebs! Authors, take note, because the tips they offer to achieve these goals are fantastic and can be used to boost your own web presence. Check out their advice on how engaging readers in discussion and offering commentary on buzz-worthy topics can get your name out there.

Any other helpful tips you’ve come across in your own quest for internet domination?

These are a few of my favorite things

by Rachel

I always wonder if my personality reflects my choice in books, and last August, if you were following the DGLM blog, you’ll remember that everyone in the office put together their list of great books and made you—our readers—guess who had created them. Before working at DGLM, I actually read this series of Great Books posts and loved a lot of selections.

It’s difficult to say why I love a certain book and why I can’t get into another. I fell in love with reading Steinbeck novels when I was living in California, so I used to put my love for his writing down to geographical familiarity—Cannery Row and Salinas were places I knew about and so they came alive in his writing—but then I fell in love with Dostoevsky while living in the Midwest, and when I began reading his work there wasn’t anything familiar about his world, yet I couldn’t stop reading.

Anyway, seeing as I’m now part of the team here at DGLM, I think it’s time to give you my best books list. Scrutinize it as you will. I’m up for friendly banter on why you think my choices are terrible, mediocre or just plain brilliant.


John Steinbeck’s East of Eden
Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening
William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying
Katharine Susannah Prichard’s Coonardoo
J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace
Albert Camus’ The Stranger
Luke Davies’ Candy
Rawi Hage’s De Niro’s Game
Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
Milan Kundera’s Identity
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs
Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451


After reviewing my list, it makes me wonder why I enjoy certain books. I still don’t know what it is that draws me to a particular author, or why I get into one story and not another. Years ago I certainly didn’t think John Steinbeck would be my number one writer—reading about farming and migrant laborers?  Are you kidding me? I’m still trying to find out why I love his work so much.

Do you feel at all surprised by your favorite author, or love certain books you never thought you would?

Foreign covers

by Jim

The Guardian has managed to put together one of the world’s most ridiculously obvious articles ever regarding book covers.

Did you know that one of the reasons book covers might be different from country to country is that there are cultural differences? Shocking, I know! And sometimes book covers don’t represent the actual content of the book in explicit ways (stay with me): they just try to make you buy the product. Breathe deep: this is a lot to take in.

I think the real difference between getting their North American cover versus their foreign covers for an author is just timing and input. You see your US cover early and have a chance to call someone up and ask, “What in the hell?” Your foreign editions sometimes just show up already published. And while the question remains the same, it doesn’t make any difference.

But the one thing I really dig about the article is the gallery of side by side comparisons. I love the French cover of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo though was surprised to see the title translated to (high school French don’t fail me now) Men Who Don’t Like Women. I’m a little obsessed with the Chinese cover of Birdsong but wonder if that kind of subtlety really has a place in cover design.

One of the best chroniclers of their own foreign editions is Charlie Huston who has blogged about cover design on his website Pulp Noir.  He even describes an edition as looking like “the poster for a hip-hop dance interpretation of a novel by S.E. Hinton.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Query mistakes

by Jane

Every once in a while, a writer sends me a query addressed to another agent at another company and it makes me think that she or he couldn’t be that serious about getting representation if s/he is so careless with his or her submission.

Then there are those who query every agent in our agency at the same time, a definite no- no.

And I am always suspicious of the writer who refers to his or her work as a fiction novel.

In response to Miriam Goderich’s very clever blog entry last week regarding having fun while we do our jobs, Mary Witzl suggested that we ask writers what their worst query mistakes have been. That sounded like a great idea to me and so I am throwing the question out to our blog readers.

Bring those submission errors on! I am eager to hear about them.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The unbearable lightness of not reading

by Rachel

I think most people who love literature have a to-read pile of books waiting for them, but Kirsty Logan takes it to a whole other level in her article for The Millions, where she proudly boasts owning 800 unread books. Yes, 800, unread—I don’t think 800 books could even fit inside my apartment!

I can understand Kirsty’s reasoning behind not reading a book because she knows she’ll end up loving it—though nonsensical, I do this all the time, too. I buy books knowing from reviews, word of mouth, or simply because of its author, that I’ll love reading it, and so I leave them on my shelves for months before I sit down with them. A reader’s comment on her article puts it perfectly: it’s like “savoring the thrill of the unopened present on Christmas morning,”—I get that. But, I do eventually read these books.

What I don’t understand is Kirsty not reading books because she simply worries they’re not the books she thinks they are. I think when it comes to reading, it’s good to have certain expectations, but choosing not to read books because we have expectations and fear disappointment, seems to me, to be a little drastic. Kirsty Logan’s article is titled "The Joy of Unread Books," but I see no joy in collecting shelves full of books and refusing to read them.

Do you side with Kirsty on this one? Have you ever not read a book simply because you thought your expectations were too high? And if so, what book was it?

Do the Write Thing

by Lauren

Have you heard about the flooding in Tennessee? At least 30 dead, more than a billion dollars in damage, and a potentially crippling blow to a local economy dependent on tourism. I haven't seen much coverage of it—except blogs lamenting that the lack of media attention hinders disaster relief fundraising efforts—and some people here weren't aware of it at all when I mentioned it.

It's actually due to Facebook that I really know the extent of the damage and need for relief. One of my closest friends grew up in Murfreesboro, a city in Nashville's orbit, and I took a trip down there to stay with her family and help her move back to college just before our sophomore year. Her family, who I know well, still lives there. One of my clearest memories of my visit to Nashville is the lovely Cumberland River—now wreaking havoc—and how much a part of the downtown landscape it is. (The other is that Rachel ordered a veggie burger when we had lunch at the NASCAR CafĂ©, which was frankly delightful.)

With so much need, I was happy to stumble across the Do the Write Thing for Nashville auction being run by authors Victoria Schwab, Amanda Morgan, and Myra McEntire. They're auctioning off some amazing items that anyone reading this blog should appreciate—galleys, critiques, etc—so head on over and check out their wares! And if you want to offer them something to auction, take a look here.

Keep an eye out for the DGLM auction item on day 5: a batch of galleys by our clients!

Now I'm off to figure out what I want to bid on!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Take two books....

by Jessica

I ran across this article in Salon (which also has a good continuation of the why men don’t read story—see Stacey’s post) in which the author lauds the therapeutic value of the mystery novel, and goes on to recommend several that she promises to have salutary effects. I’ve always been partial to the notion that a book can be the cure for what ails you (or at the very least, provide an excellent distraction). Years ago, a good friend assembled her own book-based survival guide to break-ups; I can’t recall the precise titles, but I remember that it was a blend of commiseration, distraction, and gritty nonfiction--designed to make her unhappiness pale by comparison. Fortunately, I’ve no present need of such heavy duty meds, but when I’m feeling weary of negotiating contracts or listening to the latest Cassandra prophesying doom for the written word, I reach for a work that reminds me of the joy inherent in a great book. I’ve not quite come up with my own diagnosis-driven reading list, but it seems there are those who have: indeed, there is a whole discipline called “Bibliotherapy,” dedicated to the idea that reading carefully selected books can promote physical and psychological healing—have a look at this Guardian article. Interestingly, the books that the bibliotherapists prescribe are not self-help books per se, but serious novels. For a marvelous hybrid of literature and pop psych, check out Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life.

So my question is this: What books do you use to self-medicate? Won’t you kindly share your prescriptions?

You like “i,” you really like “i!” *

by Michael

Depending on your feelings about the Apple iBookstore and iPad, this may or may not come as a surprise. According to a report on Publisher’s Marketplace (subscription required), ebook sales through the iBookstore have been robust, comprising “12 to 15 percent of all ebook sales.” This makes the iBookstore the #2 ebook retailer only a month after opening, and with Random House still holding out. (And, if you ask me, a terrible, terrible user interface in the iBookstore—it’s a wonder you can find anything.) As the report notes, with income lower on a per-book basis under the agency model, ebook sales need to increase 20 – 30 percent in order to make up the difference. It looks like that may just be happening.

The report also notes: “At least two publishers were certain that iBook sales so far have been incremental, growing the overall ebook market rather than taking share from other accounts.” This is even better news, as there was worry that ebook sales would just shift from one store to the other. Growth is good — especially with the news of declines in print book sales.

Publishers have to be thrilled with this news, as moving to the agency model was definitely a short-term gamble. They sacrificed the money they were making from Amazon off loss-leaders for the chance to open the market to another major player. And it looks as though that might be paying off. That said, it’s only a month out, and it remains to be seen if people will continue to purchase their books through the iBookstore.

So does anyone else have an iPad? Anyone buying books with it? So far, I’ve read Lowboy on it, along with many, many submissions, and while I hate the iBookstore, I love the reading experience. How about you?



*For the record, I know this isn’t the correct Sally Field quote, but it’s how most people remember it!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Men don't buy books?

by Stacey

I found this recent blog post by thriller writer and former book editor Jason Pinter thought provoking. He brings up a lot of points we hear often in the book biz about men not reading books, and not being the target market publishers are looking to reach. And it is in many ways out of date and completely short sighted, not to mention the fact that it's just not true. Look at the bestseller lists for fiction and nonfiction, and there will always be a fine collection of books squarely aimed at male (and female) readers. Books about politics or history or science or technology on the nonfiction side, or what about big runaway bestsellers like Freakonomics? I don't think the target audience there was women. On the fiction side there are the big thriller writers like Michael Connelly and David Baldacci, currently number 1 on the New York Times list, and what about Stephen King? These are just a few examples of big time authors whose audience is made up of a large percentage of men. The story Pinter uses to illustrate his pitch for the Chris Jericho book is pretty funny, but also a little ridiculous. It's the kind of thing that can drive forward-thinking agents and editors a little crazy when there's a good idea or project outside the box--it takes a serious load of convincing and ultimately a leap of faith to get it through. And then when one of these "risky" projects does work, a whole slew follow until the market is saturated and you're back at square one. I don't think there's an obvious answer here, but it does beg a further discussion and perhaps a shift in our collective perception about readers and how we find them.

I understand publishers have limited resources, but the goal, especially in this day and age when there are so many opportunities to draw in new readers, needs to be to stop using old excuses and start implementing new tactics to find the audience, whichever gender they might be.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course....

by Miriam
Sometimes, when watching NickJr. with my four-year-old, certain imponderables are raised: How come there’s a preponderance of cartoon pigs? Why do Little Bear’s parents wear Victorian clothing while LB himself walks around stark nekkid? Why is Dora the Explorer so irritating? One thing that always comes up with either the tv shows or when reading a book with my precocious little fellow is the fact that there are lots of animals who walk, talk, and think like humans. When we recently added a standard poodle puppy to our household, it was funny to see my son addressing himself to her as if she were another kid, explaining why she had done something wrong and he was annoyed or trying to make her understand the rules of a game he wanted to play with her. I wonder whether these interactions were informed by the expectation that Cleo the dog would suddenly respond not with an “Arf, arf” but with a perfectly formed sentence in the Queen’s English.

This lovely piece in the Guardian discusses animal characters in literature. But it doesn’t explain why Little Bear’s parents wear clothes.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A poetry reading by Bill Murray

by Chasya

In case you missed it, Bill Murray stopped by the construction site for Poet’s House last week to treat workers to the first poetry reading at the new location. And I thought my love for Bill could not grow deeper.


We all just wanna have fun...

by Miriam

Jane and I were meeting with a prospective client yesterday, a lovely young woman with a great book idea and lot of good questions about the agent-author relationship. In the midst of explaining who we are as an agency, and why and how we do things, Jane mentioned that few authors, even those who are successfully published, end up getting rich from their efforts. So, the goal, she said, should really be to have fun with the process. The comment stuck with me. Even though “Have fun!” may seem to be as much of a platitude as “Have a nice day!” the sentiment is one that I wish more people in our business would take to heart.

In the midst of gloom and doom predictions about the industry as a whole, flagging book sales, the terrifying juggernaut that is the electronic revolution, and the fact that readers are dumber, more distracted, cheaper, unable to read more than a couple of Twitter feeds at a time—fill in the blanks with whatever the wags are wagging about at any given moment—it’s hard not to take what we all do as seriously as a migraine. Happily, we at DGLM are lucky in that, as a group, we’re fairly sophomoric in our sense of humor and more delighted than most by the absurdities and ironies inherent in the publishing process.

Yes, we do keep a binder with samples of the worst query letters ever sent, we treasure anecdotes about authors behaving badly and editors throwing office furniture at their assistants, we are inveterate gossips, and we spend way more time than we should chortling over pictures of the Mr. Romance contest at the Romantic Times conference. Does this mean that we don’t consider our work and that of our clients and potential clients important? Not at all, it means that in order to be good at what we do, we have to have perspective and even a sense of play. A potentially disastrous conflict between an author and a publisher can be defused by reminding both sides to “Lighten up! It’s not brain surgery.” And, our jobs are infinitely more engaging when we remember that before we were agents, editors and “serious” writers, we picked up books because they provided a world of fun.

Bottom line is that if we allow ourselves to forget how much joy there is in the vigorous exchange of ideas, in the beauty of a perfect sentence, and in the collaboration with brilliant people to create content that inspires, instructs, and entertains, then we might as well cash in our chips and leave the table. Meanwhile, we’ll keep doing what we do until it’s no longer fun.

Monday, May 03, 2010

First lines: We have a winner!

by Jim

We have a winner from last week’s poll! At the end of the business day on Thursday, the author who had accumulated the most votes was K whose “I wondered if the girl at the front desk knew that things like me existed,” garnered a healthy 236 votes!

So K, bring it on! Send me your manuscript, and I’ll review it promptly.

Everyone else, don’t be discouraged if you weren’t chosen as a finalist or if you didn’t win. Do feel free to query me—there were lots of great entries!

To Kindle or not to Kindle

by Jane
Last fall, after hearing many people discuss the Kindle for many months and after owning a Sony Reader for a couple of years, I decided to purchase several Kindles for our staff. It seemed to me that the Kindle was more versatile than the Reader and I was excited to begin using it.

Now, it is six months later and I have been reading both books and manuscripts on my Kindle. There is no question in my mind that it is far more versatile than the Reader and, when I am traveling, as I have been quite a bit for the last six months, there is nothing more convenient than the Kindle.

Over the last several weeks, though, I have been reading Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, and while I was doing so, I kept wondering why I wasn’t loving it as much as many of my colleagues had. I finished the book the other night and all of a sudden I realized that the reason I hadn’t gotten the same pleasure out of reading it as everyone else at DGLM had was because I wasn’t reading an actual book—I was reading it on the Kindle. Let the Great World Spin is, first of all, a beautifully designed book with a gorgeous jacket; there is no way to tell this on the Kindle. It is also a story that makes the reader want to dip back and forth to re-read certain passages and this is all but impossible to do on the Kindle. In addition, because there are no page numbers on the Kindle (all one can tell is the percent of the book one has already read), there is no way to know how to reference page numbers. Ultimately, even though I enjoyed the book I believe it would have been a far more pleasurable reading experience had I had a print copy of the book.

Then, recently during a meeting in our office, one of my colleagues was describing her experience reading The Help. She mentioned that it felt like a really long book. I was surprised to hear this. In fact, I had read the book last December and had no sense of how long it was—none at all—because I had read it on the Kindle.

There are so many different opinions about what reading on a Kindle is like. My doctor, who only reads on the Kindle, has to go buy the actual book when he is writing a paper and needs to cite a page. There are those who say they really miss the “feel” of an actual book when they are reading on the Kindle; and then there are those who say that the iPad is better than all the other devices.

I’d like to believe that, in time, much will change technologically with these electronic readers and I think that, ultimately, they will increase the number of readers over all. I would also like to believe that old fashioned books will never disappear entirely; they offer too much comfort to many of us who love physical books. Reading a book electronically simply does not offer the same kind of pleasure in my opinion as reading it in hard copy.

So now I would love to know what you think?

Jim's Romantic Times

I’m just back from a four day trip to the alternate reality of a writers’ conference. And not just any conference: the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. It’s kind of like a regular writers’ conference on acid. There are costumes, pageants, skits, and awards shows. There is also the largest author signing I’ve ever seen and one of the highest concentrations of sheer author talent I’ve encountered yet. It was the ultimate high/low experience filled with shiny things to look at, outstanding pitches to be heard, and a gaggle of my clients to hang out with. There's lots more info, including photos and video after the jump!

We'd like to thank the academy....

by DGLM

Thank you very much to Chuck Sambuchino at the Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog for naming the DGLM blog one of the five Best Agent Blogs for 2010! Now, with more than half of 2010 still ahead of us, we're going to have to figure out how to live up to it!