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Posts Tagged ‘Doubleday’

Gargoyle Rep Makes Ugly Face at Pre-emp

So I was catching up with the Vulture blog at New York, and I saw where Janklow & Nesbit agent Eric Simonoff had reportedly waved off a million-dollar pre-empt for The Garygole, a novel by Andrew Davidson described in the item as “a densely packed story about a car-accident victim in the burn ward befriended by a mysterious woman who claims to be a stone carver in a fifteenth-century German abbey.”

A Google search on Davidson and publishing-related matters turned up a children’s illustrator, but when I emailed Simonoff to learn more about the submission, he immediately let me know we were talking about an altogether different fellow. The debut novel was originally sold to Random House Canada last year, and Davidson has been revising diligently for the last four months based on editor Anne Collins‘s notes. “I have been raving to editors in New York and London for months about this book to the point that some of them questioned my sanity,” Simonoff added. “But it delivers on all promises… Let’s just say, it is really really really good. It is both genuinely literary and enormously commercial.” He also noted that editors who’ve seen the manuscript compare it to authors like Umberto Eco, Michael Ondatje, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and… Chuck Palahniuk?

OK, that’s got my attention, and Simonoff’s the agent who got Vikram Chandra seven figures for Sacred Games, so he presumably knows from big books; let’s just hope whoever eventually signs Davidson to what Michael Cader will undoubtedly call a “major deal” really does score a The Shadow of the Wind rather than, say, the next The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

UPDATE: The Vulture followed up last night with a report that Gerald Howard at Doubleday won the auction, reportedly for $1.25 million.

S&S Launches Video Channel

Simon & Schuster announced this morning that they have reached an agreement with video company TurnHere to launch a book-centric internet video channel to promote S&S authors and their new releases. The companies will produce videos with in-depth information on featured books and authors as well as sneak previews of upcoming titles. The channel, called, will launch in early June.

“Readers have long hungered for greater contact and more information about authors,” said Sue Fleming, Vice President, Online and Consumer Marketing for the Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. “Now readers will have a way to view and share compelling content about our authors, available on a 24/7 basis. will allow readers to easily use the internet to replicate, for the digital age, the critical and time tested word of mouth excitement that comes from talking about a good read. Working with TurnHere to tap this huge potential audience is an exciting new way of marketing for us, and we expect to find legions of new readers while at the same time giving a new experience to dedicated fans of our authors.”

The WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg has more on the story
along with a telling observation from The Book Report’s Carol Fitzgerald: most readers don’t know which publishers actually publish their favorite authors. “They could say, ‘Why don’t you have John Grisham?’”, even though he’s published by Doubleday.

This Summer, It’s All About Diana

The Wall Street Journal‘s Jeff Trachtenberg looks at the plethora of books that have something, anything to do with Princess Diana – just as the 10th anniversary of her death approaches. The article focuses primary attention on Tina Brown, as the end result of a seven-figure advance for her take on the princess – THE DIANA CHRONICLES – hits stores on June 12. Doubleday is printing 200,000 copies of the book, Trachtenberg says, deemed a comprehensive biography that promises new insights regarding Diana’s pursuit of Prince Charles, her sad early years and how she used the media to her own ends. Beyond juicy details, Brown says she set out to write a book that examined the princess in a media and social context while discussing the impact of celebrity culture: “Why Diana was important, why she continues to fascinate, and what we should make of her 10 years after her death.”

But some are skeptical that Brown will find success, considering a number of books – let’s not forget Paul Burrell‘s “embargoed” account – didn’t live up to sales expectations. “It’s a gamble for us,” said Vivien Jennings, owner of Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan. “Will there be new information and pictures people haven’t seen before? And will there be so much news coverage that people won’t have to read the book?” Jennings says she has ordered 20 copies of THE DIANA CHRONICLES because those who are interested will want to buy the book immediately. “We can’t miss a sale,” she said. the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, Ill., has ordered only two copies, based on weak sales of recent Diana-related titles. “Publicity could save [it] but there isn’t a lot of enthusiasm in the heartland,” said owner Roberta Rubin. One potential bright sign: a customer has already reserved a copy. “Somebody has gotten word, so I’ll buy a few more,” said Rubin.

Pulitzer Prize Winners

The Pulitzer Prize has announced its winners in a variety of categories, and while our Fishbowl siblings will be dissecting the journalism winners, we’ll look at the book-related winners:

FICTION: Cormac McCarthy, THE ROAD (Knopf)

  • Also nominated as finalists in this category were: AFTER THIS by Alice McDermott (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and THE ECHO MAKER by Richard Powers (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • HISTORY: Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff, THE RACE BEAT (Knopf)

  • Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005″ by James T. Campbell (The Penguin Press), and “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking).
  • BIOGRAPHY: Debby Applegate, THE MOST FAMOUS MAN IN AMERICA (Doubleday)

  • Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty” by Arthur H. Cash (Yale University Press), and “Andrew Carnegie” by David Nasaw (The Penguin Press).

  • Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness” by Pete Earley (Putnam), and “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq” by Thomas E. Ricks (The Penguin Press).
  • POETRY: Natasha Trethewey, NATIVE GUARD (Houghton Mifflin)

  • Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “The Republic of Poetry” by Martin Espada (W.W. Norton), and “Interrogation Palace: New & Selected Poems 1982-2004″ by David Wojahn (University of Pittsburgh Press).
  • The upshot is that some of the smaller university presses should be proud, the big winners were Knopf, FSG and the Penguin Press – and about the only prize Cormac McCarthy hasn’t earned is beatification, but who knows, that may follow in due course…

    Dare We Call it a GalleyCast?

    I admit it: I’ve wanted to make that pun for ages, and thanks to Andrew Keen at, I’m now able to. Almost as soon as my piece on the Google UnBound conference ran on’s homepage, Keen, whose Web 2.0 polemic THE CULT OF THE AMATEUR will be published by Doubleday in June, contacted me to be his next guest on his podcast devoted to media, culture and technology. The 25 minute interview is now available for listening.

    Regan a Clef and More Publishing-Inspired Books

    AP’s Hillel Italie is the latest reporter to profile Bridie Clark and her debut novel BECAUSE SHE CAN. No matter how much she and Warner Books, the book’s publisher, swear up and down that the dragon-lady boss character, Vivian Grant, bears no resemblance to Judith Regan, about the only major difference is that Grant is a blonde and Regan’s a brunette. But the piece is more fun for who gets quoted about the paucity of insider-ish novels about our favorite industry. “It isn’t that kind of business,” says Jason Epstein, a longtime editor with Doubleday and Random House whose many authors have included Norman Mailer and E.L. Doctorow. “It’s very gentlemanly, and there isn’t a lot of scandal to write about. You publish a book, it sells or it doesn’t sell, and then you publish another one.”

    Other editors who get ink include Rob Weisbach (who namechecks Adam Davies‘ THE FROG KING as a publishing-drenched novel and praises Clark for her good editing skills!) and Robert Gottlieb, who cited Herman Wouk‘s YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE, a 1961 novel about a publishing sensation who lives fast and dies faster. “But publishing is not a glamorous business,” Gottlieb says. “It involves people sitting home and reading long manuscripts and then putting their pencils on the paper and making notations. Someone may set a novel in the publishing industry, but I don’t see it as the basis for a strong novel.”

    Strong, no; vivid, yes, but then there are certain scenes in Olivia Goldsmith‘s THE BESTSELLER that are impossible to clear from our heads…