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Posts Tagged ‘Little’

Hillary Books: What’s the Rush?

For those keeping score, last month Knopf announced that it was publishing Carl Bernstein‘s 640-page book A WOMAN IN CHARGE: THE LIFE OF HILLARY CLINTON, originally planned for the fall, on June 19, surprising Little, Brown, which was scheduled to publish its own Hillary book by Jeff Nerth and Don Van Natta Jr., HER WAY: THE HOPES AND AMBITIONS OF HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, on Aug. 28. Then, this month, Little, Brown said it had also decided to move its publication date to June 19, making the rivalry abundantly clear.

Now the release date wars have really heated up, reports the New York Times’ Motoko Rich. Bernstein’s book will now publish on June 5, with Nerth and Van Natta’s to follow only three days later. Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards said the push-up correlates to the Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire on June 3 which “presented a significant coverage event for our book.” Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch explained HER WAY would be excerpted in The New York Times Magazine on June 3, which prompted the move of its on-sale date to June 8. “It’s not Belmont, mind you,” Bogaards said, “but I like the fact that our horse is already saddled up and in the paddock, ready to run, shall we say.” Thankfully, Pietsch did not engage in any horse metaphors, and the books can’t be moved up any further lest booksellers’ headaches worsen..

Good News for Lagardere

Lagardere, parent company of Hachette Book Group (as well as Hachette’s UK arm comprising Hodder Headline, Orion and Little, Brown Book Group) reports its first quarter revenues and for the publishing arm, revenues rose by 29.2% to 411.2m euros (or ($554 million), largely due to the consolidation of 83m euros of sales from Time Warner Book Group. On a like-for-like basis, revenues to end March 2007 advanced by 3.0%. They report that the 2007 outlook for Lagardere Publishing is good, especially for Education in France and Spain and for Literature in the United States.

The Perils of the Misblurb

Though we at GalleyCat have taken issue from time to time – okay, often – with Henry Alford‘s contributions at the New York Times Book Review, I must say up front that I quite enjoyed his recent piece on how publishers take a perfectly neutral or negative review and mine it for any and all positive words in order to fashion a blurb out of it. Take what happened to Time Magazine book critic Lev Grossman, who was “quite taken aback” when he saw a full-page newspaper advertisement for Charles Frazier‘s novel THIRTEEN MOONS that included a one-word quotation – “Genius” – attributed to Time. Grossman was confused, Alford reports, because his review “certainly didn’t have that word.” Eventually, he found it in a preview item he had written a few months earlier, which included the sentence “Frazier works on an epic scale, but his genius is in the details.” As Grossman put it, “They plucked out the G-word.”

Alford continues with many more examples (including one from his own reviewing past, when Little, Brown transformed his “tour-de-farce” about David Sedaris‘s NAKED into “tour-de-force) and explanations from the publishing world. “We get tempted and we get desperate,” Morgan Entrekin, the publisher of Grove/Atlantic, said. “We publish over 100 books a year. I know we make mistakes. But we try to obey the rules.” To him, that means not changing the wording or the meaning of reviews. Paul Slovak, the publisher of Viking, says part of what keeps the house honest is the desire to maintain “good relationships” with book reviewers. “Michiko Kakutani wouldn’t be happy if we pulled two words of praise out of a negative review,” he said, referring to the chief book critic of The New York Times.

And as for what happened to Grossman, I am sooooo not buying Random House associate publisher Tom Perry‘s denial of any misblurbing. “We were being very short and punchy,” he said. “We have limited space.” Sure, see that pig overhead? Its flight patterns don’t like misappropriated blurbs, either…

Petition Circulating to Save AJC Books Section

In the wake of this week’s shocker announcement that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had let go its books editor, Teresa Weaver, in a cost-cutting measure, the literary community in Atlanta is mobilizing in full force. Wordsmith Bookstore owner Zachary Steele expressed his dismay at the move. “the AJC is depriving us all of that literate touch and in the process, I believe, showing how completely little they understand their readers and what it is that they want out of their paper.” In the comments section of that post, Little, Brown publicity manager Shannon Byrne (who works remotely from her Atlanta home) has posted a petition (which is reprinted after the jump) which she emailed to AJC editor Julia Wallace.

According to PW Daily, Byrne received an automated response stating “We are not killing our book coverage or book pages…. We will be using freelancers, established news services and our staff to provide stories about books of interest to our readers and the local literary community.” Byrne’s response to Wallace’s message? “I don’t buy it for one minute.”

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Not Giving Up the Ghost

Aside from making my debut LA Times Book Review column, “Dark Passages”, on ghostwriters going solo, the Arizona Republic’s Kerry Lengel tackled the same subject, interviewing a slew of mystery & suspense staples (like yours truly) as well as Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch. But if that isn’t enough, the Women’s National Book Association will host a discussion on the same topic Wednesday evening at the Small Press Center. Join panelists Meg Leder (editor at Perigee Books), ghostwriter-centric agent Madeline Morel, Emily Heckman and Stephanie Gunning as they discuss, as moderator Janet Reid terms it, “the business of ghost writing, co-writing, ‘as told to’ and other forms of ‘invisible writing’ from the authors who write it, an agent who sells it and an editor who acquires it.”

Little, Brown UK Going Open Plan?

And if that is the case, as Publishing News reports, Little, Brown would be the second UK publisher (after Penguin, which adopted the process kicking and screaming as it moved to its current digs in Brick Lane) to move into an open-plan office space. The company has signed a ten-year lease on the second floor of Unilever House on Victoria Embankment, near Blackfriars Bridge, and when it moves in, nobody, from CEO Ursula Mackenzie down, will have their own private office.

Little, Brown hopes to make the move in October and Marketing Director Roger Cazalet told PN that the decision to go open plan was influence by a number of factors. It gives you a greater sense of freedom and it’s a more egalitarian way of working. Communication will be a lot better too. When you have separate offices you email a lot, rather than leaving your desk. It also means we can cut down on the number of printers we have, which is more environmentally friendly. At the moment there are something like 60 printers. In the new offices, we’ll have print areas where groups of people will share printers. We’ll actually have the same amount of space in the new offices, but because it’s open plan you end up with a lot more room. We will have meeting rooms too, of course, but also more informal meeting space. Where we are currently is quite cramped.”

But hey, with the move not being planned till October, that leaves Little, Brown executives plenty of time to protest!

Get Ready for Sebold’s Sophomore Effort

Rumors of a second novel from Alice Sebold have swirled for a few weeks now but USA TODAY confirms that the author of THE LOVELY BONES will be back on the publishing landscape. According to Little, Brown‘s fall catalog, the novel, due for publication on October 15, tells the story of a woman who “crosses a terrible boundary,” and a big clue is likely the book’s opening line: “When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.” The print run is an eye-popping 750,000 copies, with no doubt galleys of the novel will disappear very, very quickly at BEA – where Sebold will be a featured speaker.

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