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Posts Tagged ‘McSweeney’s’

Ethan Nosowsky Joins McSweeney’s

Ethan Nosowsky has been named the new editorial director at McSweeney’s. He currently serves as editor-at-large at Graywolf Press and will begin in his new position starting Monday, October 31st.

As editorial director, Nosowsky will acquire and edit manuscripts in both the fiction and nonfiction genres. He will also manage the development of McSweeney’s other publications.

Nosowsky gave this statement in the release: “In little more than a decade McSweeney’s has established a unique place for itself in the national publishing landscape. I’m delighted to be given a chance to contribute to such an innovative publishing program, and to be able to do so in my hometown is icing on the cake.”

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Kickstarter-Style Project Helps Students Pay for College

Want to support students in your community? Explore ScholarMatch, a venture that helps donors contribute to the college tuition of promising young students.

Here’s more about the site: “ScholarMatch is a website and service whereby potential donors can learn more about scholars who need assistance paying their college tuition–and by learning more about these extraordinary students, our hope is that potential donors will be more likely to support the educational goals of the scholars in their communities.”

The video embedded above features two ScholarMatch supporters: The Office actor John Krasinski and college freshmen Bianca Catalan. The site was founded by Dave Eggersnonprofit organization 826 Valencia. McSweeney’s tweeted this description: “ScholarMatch is like Kickstarter, but for students hoping to attend college.”

Indie Booksellers Choice Awards Winners Unveiled

The winners of the first annual Indie Booksellers Choice Awards have been announced.

The following five books were selected by independent booksellers: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books), The Instructions by Adam Levin (McSweeney’s), The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel (Unbridled), Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (Grove/Atlantic), and Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr (Akashic).

The five winning titles will be displayed in participating independent bookstores throughout the country. Comedian David Rees hosted the awards ceremony at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City.

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McSweeney’s Launches Food & Children’s Books Imprints

mcsweeneys-logo.pngMcSweeney’s will launch two new imprints focused on food writing and children’s books.

According to The Bay Citizen, McSweeney’s McMullens will start with 10 children’s books this year–with four titles planned for release in May. Editor and art director Brian McMullen (the imprint’s namesake) will oversee editing, art direction, and production. McMullen explained that the books will bear this logo: “The McSweeney’s McMullens will find and publish great books — new and old — for individuals and families of all kinds.”

The food imprint, which has not yet been named, will deliver two to four titles this year. Co-publisher Chris Ying told Publisher’s Weekly: “We’re trying to make something that appeals not only to foodies, but to readers who appreciate good writing and art in general.” Ying said readers loved the food section in McSweeney’s one-issue newspaper,  San Fransisco Panorama.

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And the NBCC Awards Go To…

While NBCC Board member Rebecca Skloot liveblogged the awards, Ron and I sat through a somewhat speedy ceremony emceed by president John Freeman and highlighted by Mary Gordon‘s glowing retrospective and tribute (accompanied by retro Jill Krementz photography) to Sandrof winner John Leonard, followed by Leonard’s own words, a speech so filled with mirth, self-deprecation and reflections on present and past reviewing that I hope the transcript is made publicly available at some point. Nona Balakian winner Steven G. Kellman was a quote-a-minute, namechecking the gamut from H.L. Mencken (who had unkind words about criticism and even more scathing words about poetry – partly because of a volume he himself had written and then done everything in his power to squelch) to Lily Tomlin (“we’re all in this together – alone,” as applied to book critics, who Kellman quipped “are the only critics who can do their job in their underwear.”)

Then came the awards:

Criticism: Lawrence Weschler, EVERYTHING THAT RISES: A BOOK OF CONVERGENCES (McSweeney’s)
Poetry: Troy Jollimore, TOM THOMSON IN PURGATORY (Margie/Intuit House)
Non-Fiction: Simon Schama, ROUGH CROSSINGS: BRITAIN, SLAVES AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (Ecco)
Biography: Julie Phillips
, JAMES TIPTREE, JR.: THE DOUBLE LIFE OF ALICE B. SHELDON (St. Martin’s Press)
Autobiography: Daniel Mendelsohn, THE LOST (HarperCollins)
Fiction: Kiran Desai, THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS (Atlantic Monthly Press)

It’s an award winner list of some surprise – Jollimore’s win especially surprised the poetry faithful in the audience – and some that might have seemed like a surprise, like Desai, but on further reflection are just about right. Ron’s got more about notable quotes and the afterparty, but I’m especially happy to have chatted with John Leonard about his new prize, his belief that literary blogs are “where the passion is” and finding good books to read that might be off most people’s radar. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Today in AMS: the NoCal perspective, AMS’s side of the liquidation story

The SF Chronicle finally picks up on the AMS bankruptcy story as Ilana DaBare probes the Northern California angle. That’s because many of Publishers Group West‘s clients – like McSweeney’s, Amber-Allen and New World Library – set up shot in and around the Bay area, and are still very much reeling from every development stemming from a bankruptcy that occurred at the “worst possible time.” Take tiny Parallax Press, a nonprofit Buddhist publisher in Berkeley with six employees, was owed $150,000 of its total annual sales of $850,000. “Revenues from the three most lucrative sales months of the year are not available to us,” said Travis Masch, Parallax’s publisher. “This has a tremendous financial impact on us.”

Meanwhile, the San Diego Union Tribune has much more about the liquidation petition by AMS creditors. And not surprisingly, AMS isn’t happy with the idea at all – as the company’s attorney, Russ Silberglied, accused the creditors of exacerbating the company’s problems by cutting off book shipments and making the warehouse stores deal with rival distribution companies. “(The creditors), together with our competitors, are talking to our customers and trying to circumvent us,” Silberglied said. “It seems like the very definition of the harm that’s going to befall us. That’s our business. You know, if we can’t perform, if we can’t sell books, we can’t perform our business.”

And Bud Leedom, who publishes the San Diego Stock Report, said it’s possible AMS still has a shot at surviving its current difficulties. “I’d like to think there’s more to the company than liquidation,” said Leedom. “On the other hand, AMS’s business is all about relationships and the strength of its customers. Those relationships may be untenable because the customers can’t get information about the strength of the company.”

Today in AMS: PGW Conference Calls, Bankruptcy Court Hearings

Publishers Lunch reports that Publishers Group West clients were explained in a conference call yesterday he details of the offer being formulated by Perseus Books Group, which has already secured distribution rights for Avalon Publishing Group and its imprints. The rough plan is for Perseus to pay 70 cents on the dollar of what clients are owed up to the date of the bankruptcy filing. PGW would continue operating as is for the next six months before clients accepting the Perseus offer would move over to their distribution facility. Though other offers could still be tendered, 70 cents on the dollar is a lot higher than what PGW clients were expecting.

So on the face of it, this looks like Perseus could well be PGW’s savior – or is it? Never mind that already the company is responsible for CDS and Consortium clients, and adding the full roster of PGW clients would give it a gigantic stake in independent publishing, with the ramifications and consequences still very much up in the air. Never mind that there’s no word on which of PGW’s clients were included in the conference call, as grumblings have reached GalleyCat‘s ears of “musical chairs”-like prioritization, potentially leaving some struggling independent publishers out in the cold, with little recourse but to shut up shop. In other words, the news sounds good – but optimism is far from guaranteed.

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Independent Publishers Get Hurt by AMS Chapter 11 Filing

Declaring bankruptcy isn’t exactly the best way to begin the new year, but that’s exactly what has happened as Advanced Marketing Services filed Chapter 11 papers on December 29. The full text filing is available via PW Daily, and looking through the list of its top creditors – scrolling past the instantly eye-popping numbers of $43 million owed to Random House and $26 million to Simon & Schuster, the real story begins: the plight of the independent publishers.

That’s because many of them – over 150, in fact – use Publishers Group West as their distributor. PGW, over 30 years old now, had been an independent distribution entity until AMS bought them in 2002. And even though PGW had been considered an autonomous unit within AMS, that only goes so far, especially when money owing is concerned. Because even though the volumes at play do not compare to what’s owed to the top corporate publishing companies, it’s all about the percentage of revenues – so companies like Avalon ($2.3 million), Cooks Illustrated ($1.5 million), Good Books ($970,000), McSweeney’s, North Atlantic Books, Milkweed and Soft Skull, to name a select few of PGW’s clients, are about to take a severe hit, what with expected revenues for the last three months – key months for all publishers, small or otherwise – suddenly disappearing.

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