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Behind the Deal

How to Change Your Writing Style But Keep Your Agent

td23.jpgEarlier this year, novelist Tony D’Souza finished a novel that completely broke out of the style of his first two novels, Whiteman and The Konkans.

When he turned the manuscript in to his agent, Liz Darhansoff, they seriously discussed publishing the novel under a pseudonym to avoid confusing his readership base. What would you do?

In the short essay that follows, D’Souza (pictured) explained what happened over the course of the submission process, as he was forced to ask himself a hard question: “What does one do if one and one’s agent disagree?’”

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Peter Heller on Nonfiction Book Proposals: “Keep Knocking on Doors”

peterheller.jpgReading a work of nonfiction, we forget how much work and reporting goes into proposing the book–years before the book is completed. Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Peter Heller, author of the memoir, Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life & Catching the Perfect Wave.

Heller spoke about the art of balancing writing and a day job. He also shared his harrowing experiences with the documentary filmmakers behind the Academy Award-winning film, The Cove.

Heller discussed his long book proposal process: “I was keeping at it, keeping the proposal out there. I wouldn’t go without a publisher interested in this, I needed to wrangle a publisher. It took two years to line that up. So there’s the persistence thing. If you have the dream, keep knocking on doors, keep sending it out, keep trying.”

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How David Farley Went from Newspaper Travel Writing to a Book Deal

a10582.jpgTravel writing is a tricky field, but one writer explained how he navigated the “egalitarian” world of travel writing and landed a book deal.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was David Farley, talking about his recent travel book, “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town.”

Press play below to listen.

Here’s an excerpt: “Starting off with smaller magazines is always good … For those newspaper travel sections that are still buying freelance travel pieces, and there are less every day, one easy way to break into this is write a destination piece with a strong, unique angle and then send it to them. Newspaper travel editors don’t really want to get pitched. It’s always on spec–you’ve got to write it up, send it in, and if they like it, they’ll publish it. That’s how I got my first break in the Chicago Tribune.”

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Ask a Lawyer: How Do I Avoid Getting Sued for Copyright Infringement?


In light of the recent article in The New York Times about Time Magazine and Politico posting the entire Rolling Stone article on Gen. McCrystal without permission, we wondered how this might affect today’s writers.

Many writers like to use “snippets” of others’ material previously written yet other writers risk using larger portions bordering on the side of plagiarism or under the guise of “remixing” others’ works.

But how does a writer do so without disrespecting another writer’s hard work or worse yet encountering a law suit? To find out more about this, we asked veteran publishing attorney, Lloyd Jassin about this issue.

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How Brendan Brazier Landed His Fitness Writing Book Deal

brendanbrazier.pngDo you want to write about your workout? One triathlete and vegan turned his fitness passion into a self-published book, eventually landing a book deal with a major publisher.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was author, vegan, and athlete Brendan Brazier (pictured, via). He told the story of how he self-published a fitness book about living a healthy vegan lifestyle. In addition, he talked about working with Moby on a new collection of essays, Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat).

Press play below to listen.

Here’s an excerpt: “In 2004, I wrote and self published a short book about my nutrition plan. I had been racing Iron Man triathlons professionally for seven years–eating a completely vegan diet. I was getting asked all the time where I got my protein, my calcium, my iron, and all these things. It came out in 2004, and did better than I expected. I expanded it and it was published by Penguin Canada.”

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How to Find an Agent for Your Animal Writing

searchrescue.jpgOver the last few years, library cats and journalists’ dogs have inspired a number of bestselling books. If you’re thinking about writing about your pet, keep reading–we interviewed an expert about the whole process.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was canine handler and author Susannah Charleson–talking about how she landed a book deal for her new book, Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search and Rescue Dog. Charleson explained how she turned her passion into a timely book about her Golden Retriever search and rescue partner, Puzzle (pictured, with the author).

Press play below to listen to the whole interview.

Charleson explained: “Animal writing is tremendously popular. Of course standout books have done extremely well commercially. There’s a huge readership that’s interested in our connection with animals. It’s a field ripe for searching and exploring, if you can pardon the metaphor.”

After the jump, Charleson told us how she found her agent, Jim Hornfischer.

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Wimpy Kid director on Adapting the Book to Film

2010-04-07-ThorFreudenthal1.JPG
Diary of a Wimpy kid has not only blown away cash registers at bookstores but it recently has blown away box office records by racking up over $45 million since its film adaptation’s debut.

In our short interview with the director, Thor Freudenthal, GalleyCat had the opportunity to ask him about the challenges of adapting a book into the box office smash.

What were the challenges of adapting the book to the film and still making the fans
happy?

The challenge is that the books are funny but very episodic. They offer a rich collection of loosely connected episodes, you can open the book at any page and find a funny anecdote. But how do you tie these stories together and make a movie? Our approach was to view it as a friendship story between Greg and Rowley. Their relationship creates a through-line in the movie. It’s a love story of sorts: Friend takes friend for granted, friend loses friend and realizes what he had, friend has to win friend back. Greg has to put aside his desire for accolades and popularity and learn what friendship really means. Once we had that structure in place, we hung all the favorite episodes of the book onto it.

From Website to Book Deal: PleaseFireMe.com


PleaseFireMe.com has just sold the book rights to Citadel Press at auction. Citadel Press is the publisher of the New York Times bestselling book, I Hope They Sell Beer in Hell by Tucker Max.

Acquiring editor, Amy Pyle is said to envision it as a huge franchise. In fact, according to founder and co-author, Adam Chromy, she says, “When I first brought it up at our editorial meeting, our publisher threatened to fire me if I didn’t get this book.”

The book will be written by Adam Chromy and Jill Morris and will include some of the best posts from PleaseFireMe.com along with funny advice on how to cope or escape malemployment.

Several Hollywood producers are circling the project as a potential sitcom and Chromy is already launching the sequel, PleaseDumpMe.com for all the romantics in the world who are stuck in a love that they just can’t leave.

Why Novelist Carrie Vaughn Left Her Publisher

kittybook.jpgEarlier this week, novelist Carrie Vaughn (the author who published seven novels in the Kitty Norville Series with Grand Central) wrote a thoughtful essay about why she chose not to extend her publishing contract Grand Central.

According to the essay, Vaughn didn’t leave Grand Central over money or exposure. She was frustrated with her contract’s non-competition clause. Read the rest of the essay and weigh in–should more authors be reconsidering their contracts?

UPDATE: In addition, Vaughn has joined Tor Books. Read the publisher’s welcome post here.

Here’s an excerpt: “I have two stand-alone contemporary fantasy novels I wrote when I was waiting to see if the Kitty series would sell, and I’ve been trying to get those out there. Grand Central rejected them. I really wanted to sell them elsewhere. Grand Central really didn’t want me doing anything under my own name but the Kitty novels. I really wanted to do them under my own name. So, it was an issue of control. I wanted to be able to diversify my career, publish other novels, expand my audience, and so forth. My agent and I offered compromises, which Grand Central did not accept.”

Shiloh Walker Sells Three Paranormal Novels

shilohwalker.jpgThis week novelist Shiloh Walker sealed the deal on three new paranormal novels with Berkley. Irene Goodman from the Irene Goodman Literary Agency sealed the deal, and Cindy Hwang at Berkley bought the books.

The first title is Thrill of the Hunt, a paranormal contemporary romance about a werewolf pitted against a vampire who works as a killer-for-hire. Intrigued by her Twitter posts, GalleyCat caught up with Walker to find out how she landed her most recent deal.

The veteran author outlined her pitching process: “While I spazzed out (spazzing out is my normal MO), the actual pitch itself was easier than the first one, easier than the second … gradually, I think it just gets easier and easier as you get used to working with one particular editor.”

She continued: “Now, last year was a different story altogether. I write paranormal for Berkley, but I’m a fast writer and I wanted to branch out and explore romantic suspense with another publisher. So I put together a proposal for a new publisher. Pitching that one? I think that was even harder than when I’d originally first pitched an idea to Cindy.”

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