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Posts Tagged ‘Kate Lee’

Agent Kate Lee on Microblogging Books

catswho2.jpgICM agent Kate Lee is scouting sites like Twitter for book deals, and today revealed some insight into her process.

During to a recent Daily Beast piece about “Twitterature,” the blog-friendly agent talked about why she landed a deal for the microblog site, Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves–a deal GalleyCat covered last month.

Lee explained what attracted her to the pithy posts about pets: “There was something human and universal behind how we all treat our pets … From the more practical perspective, these pet books sell like mad.”

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But Does It Come With a Handmade Wallet?

campcamp-display.jpg

After the success of Bar Mitzvah Disco, Roger Bennett and Jules Shell settled upon summer camp as the theme for their second batch of archival photographs and original essays, and now that Camp Camp is out, they’ve teamed up with American Apparel for a summer window campaign that will put photos from the book on display at ten stores in New York and Los Angeles. “It’s a natural pairing,” says their agent, ICM‘s Kate Lee, “since the look that A.A. has brought back originated—and flourished—in summer camps in the 1970s and ’80s.”

Scene @ Granta Young Novelists Party

grantaparty.jpgTypically, relying on a cameraphone to convey the joie de vivre at Cafe Loup last night after nine of Granta‘s Best Young American Novelists read and spoke about their work at the New School‘s Tishman Auditorium leads to blurry, non-specific photographs like the one to the left. But even if the persons captured are hard to identify (Nell Freudenberger‘s in the center, that’s about all who is recognizable) those who attended both reading and afterparty generally had themselves a good time. I got to the reading on the late side, missing out on readings by Gary Shteyngart (whose oratory skills convinced at least one reader to pick up a copy of ABSURDISTAN), Olga Grushin, Akhil Sharma and Daniel Alarcon – handpicked by Ian Jack and Matt Weiland to read on the alleged grounds that they wrote non-American settings, or were born outside of America, depending on whom was asked (when I asked Jack and Weiland about it, each deferred to the other, which was actually pretty funny.)

The other five – Freudenberger, Jess Row, John Wray, Uzodinma Iweala and Gabe Hudson – didn’t read but took questions from the audience. One that elicited the most amusing answers was the old standby “why do you write?” Because, evidently, that’s all they can do or, as Shteyngart and Wray explained, they had been fired from any other job each tried.

An early beeline to Cafe Loup along with Lizzie Skurnick, Kathy Daneman and Rachel Grady (co-director of JESUS CAMP) meant exchanging greetings with Kate Lee, Elizabeth Spiers and Sloane Crosley, who were having dinner with Whit Stillman. (I also thought I spotted Ian Spiegelman at the far end of the table.)

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Abate v. ICM, Day Two: Laying Out the Timeline

If there’s one thing yesterday’s proceedings in Judge Peter Leisure‘s courtroom demonstrated, it’s the extreme disconnect between legal relevance and true-blue drama. From a legal standpoint, all the preliminary injunction hearing (which wrapped up by 4 PM yesterday) accomplished was to show whether there was enough standing to hold Richard Abate to the terms of his ICM contract until the last day of 2007, or whether ICM’s contract, forbidding Abate to even discuss options with Endeavor, was anticompetitive according to New York law. That will be decided fairly quickly – likely within the week – as Leisure, testier and more impatient than he’d been on Thursday, remarked once more that he’d “never seen such a delay on proceedings for a preliminary injunction” as well as the scuttled TRO. From a contractual standpoint, either Abate left – thus violating his existing contract – or he was fired in passive-aggressive fashion because turning down a new offer imperiled his future and so he needed backup in case that happened.

But you’re not reading this lengthy account for legal wranglings (even though there were plenty, especially when Abate’s father-in-law, Harold Moore, could only testify in limited fashion thanks to attorney-client privilege, a point vigorously debated between ICM counsel A. Michael Weber and Abate’s lawyer Brian Kaplan.) You want the drama. And boy, was there drama, never more evident than when a steely-eyed Esther Newberg, pursing her lips and visibly unhappy to have spent most of the day cooling her heels in the jury room under sequestering until she was called to the stand around 2:30 PM, testified that she felt “betrayed” by Abate’s surprise exit on February 9, someone whom she characterized as being a close friend – though not anymore. Add Sloan Harris‘s testimony as well as Abate’s completion of his to the mix and the real story of this hearing is not so much about money, but about how seemingly close relationships deteriorated so suddenly, so badly – which might explain why the arbitration demand slapped upon Abate late last week is to the tune of $10 million dollars.

But first, let’s backtrack to the very beginning of the day’s events, when Judge Leisure reminded the court that the hearing ought to have wrapped up in a single day and he felt much of it was a waste of time. “I hope we can make some headway here,” he said, and while the court may not quite have got its wishes, the reporters in attendance – yours truly, the LA TimesJosh Getlin and a late-arriving Michael Fleming from Variety – certainly did.

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More on Abate/ICM/Endeavor Triangle Tango

Josh Getlin had a short piece in this weekend’s Los Angeles Times about last week’s lawsuit slapped upon former ICM agent Richard Abate, rehashing many of the details already reported on his exit for new digs at Endeavor and ICM’s alleging that he violated the terms of his contract – which runs through the end of this year — by moving to an arch-competitor ahead of time. Though no one spoke to Getlin publicly by name, one anonymous agent’s comment reflected the industry’s fascination with the impending lawsuit and its implications. “This kind of lawsuit normally doesn’t happen in the publishing world unless you’re playing at a very high level in the business,” said one veteran agent. “Usually these disputes get settled quietly. But when you’re a big agency and you’re threatened by the loss of clients, you don’t just take it sitting down. You have to make a statement — and that’s what this is really all about.”

Meanwhile, for those like me who wondered why Gawker kept inserting throwaway insults about Abate’s reputation and character, current La Jolla University doctoral student Ted Gideonse offers his own perspective. He interviewed with Abate in 2002 when looking for work as an agent’s assistant, and knowing of Abate’s penchant for attending “every thesis reading at Columbia and Iowa and pouncing on the best writers” thought it couldn’t hurt to mention the upcoming readings at Gideonse’s then-graduate program, the New School. “I was trying to be nice and proud of my school and I thought it couldn’t hurt the school’s reputation if a major agent came, listened, and signed some folks. Also, I was hoping this little gift would help get my a job,” Gideonse explained.

Except things didn’t work out as planned. “First, he told me he’d hired someone else, and then he asked me who was good, and who he should sign. My jaw dropped. I muttered something and then he went and started pouncing.” But Gideonse had the last word, telling those Abate approached of his rep and “that if they were looking for a good agent, I could suggest some better people.” Gideonse’s quest landed him with Ann Rittenberg, and Abate found the assistant he needed in Kate Lee, who hasn’t fared too badly since landing at ICM.