InsideMobileApps InsideSocialGames 10,000 Words FishbowlNY FishbowlDC LostRemote TVNewser TVSpy AgencySpy PRNewser MediaJobsDaily UnBeige

Posts Tagged ‘Jon Clinch’’

Who Spiked the Water at 1745 Broadway?

It’s been a very strange week for the world’s largest publishing company. First we had Wednesday’s surprise announcement that Crown svp and publisher Steve Ross would be moving to Collins, with Tina Constable stepping in to take his place. Now comes last night’s announcement that Daniel Menaker was jumping ship from Random House‘s eponymous imprint, though it remains to be seen if the party line that the decision was “absolutely mutual” will hold up under scrutiny.

Maybe it’s because the current edition of Publishing Revolving Door takes me on a time warp all the way back to 2003 – ancient history for some, but important history nonetheless. Menaker, after 26 years at the New Yorker, first joined Random House in 1995 and continued uninterrupted there save for a sixteen-month stint at HarperCollins, which ended in 2003. The company he returned to was not the company he left behind. They had moved to sleek new offices in an office condominium between 55th and 56th streets; Ann Godoff was gone in one of the most publicized oustings in recent memory; Little Random had been absorbed in the same umbrella containing Ballantine and its holdings; and at the center of the new-look imprint was, and still is, president and publisher Gina Centrello. Taken together, these were clear signs of the company’s increasingly commercial shift that would play out in a major way over the next four-plus years. And yet Menaker was hired to give Little Random a distinct literary bent, which he did in the form of novelists Benjamin Kunkel, Arthur Phillips, Gary Shteyngart and Jon Clinch as well as former poet laureate Billy Collins, even if said acquisitions didn’t necessarily pay off in terms of sales.

No matter how much Menaker, Centrello and the Random House brass want to downplay the bottom line, it’s difficult to play by their rules in light of the company’s most recent shakeups – not to mention their gutting of the sales force, Bertelsmann‘s attempts to patch up the mothership after getting scared straight by former minority shareholder GBL’s threats to take their holdings public (Bookspan, anyone?) and a downturn in profits. All of which has to make one wonder about the overall health of Random House – and if more “unexpected” news is just lurking around the corner.

Mediabistro Course

Content Marketing 101

Content Marketing 101Starting September 8, get hands-on content marketing training in Content Marketing 101! Through a series of webcasts, content and marketing experts will teach you the best practices for creating, distributing and measuring the results of your brand's content, including how to develop a content marketing plan, become a content marketer, and more. Register now! 

Why David Blum Should Get Out More

The snark fairy very much wants to point out how difficult it may be to take seriously the opinion of someone who so haplessly ran the Village Voice into the ground, but there’s plenty of evidence showing just the logic flaws in David Blum‘s New York Sun opinion piece about the fortunes of Joshua Ferris‘s debut novel THEN WE CAME TO THE END truly is.

First is Blum’s question as to why the book “did not become a New York Times bestseller”: Sure, it didn’t appear on the print list, but came very close – hitting #19 on the April 18th extended list. Second, Blum’s excursion into the Lincoln Square Barnes & Noble indicates he hasn’t been outside his neighborhood radius in a while. “What if bookstores created sections devoted to that week’s best-reviewed books,” he asks? I see that all the time in more regional superstores, those in Canada and – oh yeah! the independents. And what of “posted positive reviews alongside the books themselves?” That’s why the shelftalker was invented, Mr. Blum.

Then there’s the comparison to Kurt Andersen’s HEYDAY – a second novel from a longtime journalist with plenty of platform – which only makes sense from a timing standpoint and even then is quite the reach. If Blum’s memory allowed him to go back to when Marisha Pessl‘s SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS had NYTBR cover treatment – and a stint on the bestseller list as high as #6 – then perhaps the piece might have carried more weight. Or more recently, Jon Clinch’s debut novel FINN, which had even more review love all over newspapers and didn’t even make it onto the extended list.

So no wonder Reagan Arthur “got depressed” at Blum’s questioning when the book did fairly well and turned a profit – and more importantly, probably earned out long before publication because buying world rights yielded foreign sales fruit.