It has been a lot of fun to read about reading and write about writing with you all for the last two months! As I turn my attention to other projects, I am happy to be officially handing over 100% of the reins to Ron and Andy, secure in the knowledge that they will continue to keep you informed about what’s new in the secretly exciting world of book publishing. (NB to publicists: Please don’t stop sending me free books).
About the ‘Cat
I confess—this isn’t really an indication of where publishing types fall in the pecking order in Los Angeles. It’s the West LA restaurant where Tina Dupuy of FishbowlLA and I met up so we could get to know each other before heading out to a book party during the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books weekend. I’ve got plenty of notes and pictures, which I’ll be sorting through later today. (You may be reading this as you switch on your computer Monday morning, but to me it’s actually Sunday night at the airport in Long Beach, waiting for the redeye back to the East Coast. I should have my bearings back by the early afternoon, and in the meantime you’ve got Emily and Andy to keep you company.)
I hope you’ve been enjoying the full RSS feeds this last week. Get ready for even more fun in the days ahead, because your other most frequent wish when it comes to GalleyCat is coming true: mediabistro.com is about to add comments functionality to all its blogs, with a platform provided by Disqus. You will have to register with Disqus to participate, which will hopefully reduce the likelihood of random hating. Look for the feature to work its way onto the site by the beginning of next week.
Emily Gould was an associate editor at Hyperion before unwisely deciding to scrap her promising publishing career for a job as an editor at Gawker. Somewhere in there she also co-wrote a YA book and found time to update her personal blog, Emily Magazine.
Andy Heidel brings twelve years of publishing experience and insight to his daily posts, most recently as the former assistant director of publicity for Houghton Mifflin. He is also the author of the short story collection <a href="http://store.pspublishing.co.uk/acatalog/desperate_moon_three_collections_jhc.html"Desperate Moon, and penned the infamous “Stroller Manifesto” for New York magazine, which is still making headlines as the heated debate over babies in bars continues.
Ron Hogan has been an editor for GalleyCat since late 2005. Before that, he created one of the Internet’s earliest literary-themed websites, Beatrice.com. He has never worked for a publishing company, but spent a year behind the counter at Dutton’s Brentwood Bookstore and two years working for Amazon.com. He, too, has a book: The Stewardess Is Flying the Plane.
If you have any tips, complaints, or compliments, you can email us or use the anonymous resender in the sidebar.
If you read that post about Bob Miller‘s move to HarperCollins and thought it sounded a bit different than the usual GalleyCat fare, that’s because it was written by new contributing editor Emily Gould, who will be chiming in from time to time on the books, authors, and trends about which people are whispering in her ear. As soon as mediabistro.com began its search for an additional ‘Cat, I thought it would be great to have her writing for the site, and I’m glad to see that that’s come together. I look forward to reading more posts from her in the future, and I’m sure you will, too.
One of the most frequent requests from GalleyCat readers over the two-and-a-half years I’ve been editing the blog has been for mediabistro.com to flesh out the RSS feeds, which used to truncate just a few words into any given post. Your requests have been heard: Starting today, GalleyCat‘s RSS feed is publishing full posts.
(Well, technically, it publishes whatever I publish to the home page. So if I’ve got a longer item, you’d have to click through to read the entire post, but you’d still have a substantial chunk of story to read right off the bat.)
Enjoy! And if there’s anything else mediabistro.com can do to make your GalleyCat reading experience better, let them know!
Reporters sought out my commentary on two of last week’s most prominent book deals: I told the New York Times I was “shocked and amazed” by the $300,000 Stuff White People Like deal, while Boston Herald readers learned, in reference to Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick‘s $1.35 million signing, that “books are increasingly seen as the political equivalent of a marketing tool.”
One point I made sure to bring up in both conversations—because both journalists wanted to know how these particular proposals had generated such high bidding among publishers—was that the clarity of a nonfiction book proposal is critical to its successful reception among editors. I haven’t seen what Gov. Patrick and Christian Lander‘s agents sent to publishers, but the articles written about their book deals suggest that their “messages” are well laid-out; Gov. Patrick’s emphasis on “certain realizations and lessons about life” suggests a motivational component that would certainly be considered an attractive way to elevate his profile outside Massachusetts. Of course, platform doesn’t hurt either; the size of the audience Stuff White People Like amassed in just two months, and the promise of being able to deliver a book for publication by the end of the summer, was no doubt one of the main reasons Random House is, in Times reporter Allen Salkin‘s words, “willing to take a chance it will attract attention in the bookstore.”
After all, that’s exactly what drove publishers to take a chance on the I Can Has Cheezburger book and the Go Fug Yourself book, which I see the Times is still bashfully referring to as “a book based on a popular Web site focused on fashion disasters.” (And remember the Flying Spaghetti Monster?)
If you’re wondering about the GalleyCat job listing on mediabistro.com, I haven’t given notice—they’re just looking for a second blogger to assist me in “break[ing] news, follow[ing] trends and cover[ing] the numerous events related to the book publishing industry.” I’ve got some ideas about what that would entail, but mediabistro.com will sort through the applicants first and, I’m sure, tailor the position to the strengths of whoever gets the nod. So send your resumés and clips to executive producer Chris Ariens and we’ll see what happens.
Occasionally, I get emails from GalleyCat readers about technical issues that I can’t really do anything about other than passing your concerns on to actual mediabistro.com staffers. One of the most common frustrations expressed is over the blog’s RSS feed, which currently quotes only the first 20 words of a post, requiring readers to visit the site to read the rest. Of course, “common” in terms of email feedback is “one or two emails a month,” so I wanted to invite all of you to weight in on the issue.
As publishing industry veterans know, not a heck of a whole lot is going to be happening business-wise next week, but I’ve still got my quotas, so it’s time once again for publishing pros (and published authors) to send me pictures of cats and dogs. Preferably engaging in cute antics, and preferably with books, and definitely with a story behind them. I’ll start running my favorites on Wednesday, December 26, when GalleyCat returns from a four-day holiday weekend.