Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Book deal goes south, along with her life...

So its all over the interwebs today that Lynn Spears Parenting Memoir is now on Hold, indefinitely, check out Galleycat for the full report.

The reason? Lynn’s precious 16 year old daughter Jaime Lynn (the one that up until this point wasn’t the train wreck dressed in road kill that her older sister Britney has become) is totally preggers! I remember growing up, my mom had 3 rules for me. Don’t drink, don’t do drugs, and don’t get anyone pregnant! She put the fear of god that if I did, I wouldn’t survive to see my next birthday. So, what did I do? I drank, but I made sure to get wasted at other people's houses or back alleys where my mother would never see me. I smoked pot, but whatever. who doesn't? and sex? Did it whenever I could get it, but I always used a condom. why? 'cause if you knock someone up, it's pretty much a giveaway that you've been doing the nasty. My mom knew how to be a parent. She laid down the law, and I snuck around to break it. The idea that Lynn Spears had the audacity to write a parenting memoir in the first place is ludicrous. What kind of advice can she give? She raised Prosta-tots. Well, she can’t cash in on Brit anymore since she’s legally an adult (cough cough), she can certainly make some mullah by selling her daughter’s pregnant story to OK magazine (for a cool million or so I heard). oh, and don't get me started on OK magazine. Thank you Jezabel for getting me all riled up.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Publitron's list of The 9 authors you will work with at one time or another.

We all have worked with great authors and terrible authors at one time or another. Well, after working with a particularity terrible author, I realized that there are 9 general archetypes or categories in which they fall. And now, for your general amusement I present to you my list...

1) The Space Case: Although well-intended they forget about interviews (even after being reminded the night before) and if they do remember they have an event, they’ll show up late. The net result causing mild ulcers every time you get a phone call from a reporter or bookseller who doesn't know how to get a hold of him/her. Solution- Never let them out of your site.

2) The Overeager: Not to be confused with the Gem (see below). While thankful and willing, wants to do too much and constantly floods your inbox with unfeasible ideas. “Hey, how about we send Oprah my signed tiger woods golf club along with a copy of the book?” ummmm, dude, your book is about child rearing and Oprah is friends with Tiger. I’m sure she can get his club any time she wants. Solution- Ignore the majority of their emails and never reply immediately to anything they send you.

3) The Gem: Thankful for any and everything you get them, they are an eager beaver willing to do anything and everything you ask them. At times, you feel pity for getting them on WOR’s Joey Reynolds show and making them stay up till 3am, but hey, its a national booking. Solution- Thank God.

4) The Two Face: Will deal with you politely, then complain to their agent and get their agent to do the dirty work for them. Oh sure, you’re all smiles now, but that venom dripping from your agent’s surgically reinforced lips tells me a different tale. Solution- Document everything and share this ammo with the editor and your boss so you have peeps in your corner fighting for you. Take author off your Christmas card list.

5) The Ego: A prima donna that comes in 2 levels, unjustified and justified. The Unjustified Ego is the first time author who thinks they should be the center of your attention and laments their lack of coverage loudly. The Justified Ego is the New York Times bestselling author who's sales make up your paycheck and who can actually get you fired if you screw up. Solution: Bitch about the Unjustified Ego to their editor and they’ll whip em into shape. As for the Justified Ego, do your damndest to do anything and everything you can for them.

6) The Recluse: Impossible to get to do any media whatsoever and you can only communicate with them through their agent. Solution- None.

7) The Waste: Sadly, The Waste has no presence whatsoever, looks ugly, and can't hold a conversation no matter how brilliant they sound in print so you can't get them any publicity outside of an email Q&A. Solution- None.

8) The Neurotic: Constantly worries about their performance, compares themselves to other authors and are self deprecating to a fault and detriment of their publication. Bonus points if #8 is also an Unjustified Ego. Solution- Prozac, counseling.

9) The Amazon Author Crack Addict: All of the above obsessively check their ranking.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Book Rage?

Back on October 9th we reported on the rise of the Canadian dollar and the pesky dual prices on jacket flaps. Well, it's now resulting in what the Toronto Globe and Mail is reporting as Book Rage, eh. "As the Canadian dollar hit the $1.10 mark earlier this week, booksellers and publishers began to circulate stories of customers going beyond simply venting their dismay at hapless clerks and turning books into projectiles, sometimes to the point of drawing blood."

Hmm, that gives me an idea. What if we combine the bookmobile with a bloodmobile? We can bring cheap American Books to our friends up north and trade them for cheap prescription drugs.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Irony, the other other white meat.

The current media coverage over the tanking of Gawker’s Guide to Conquering all Media is actually improving sales. Zubin Jelveh notes on Portfolio that Gawker may have sold a whopping 12 extra copies as a result of Jeff Bercovici’s post. I’m sure the irony is not lost on anyone, and as this project begins to hemorrhage all I can think of is the last national geographic special I saw. Gawker’s progeny is weak and limping along, and soon we’ll see the predatory journalists begin to take bites out of it till the poor book, mewling and bleeding from a thousand wounds, finally succumbs and falls prey to the jackals.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

OMG... Dumbledore is Gay

Man, I bet the Harry Potter film peeps wished they had tapped Sir Ian McKellan to play that role now! It would have been so perfect! Anyhoo, for those of you that live under a rock and have missed the official announcement (much like Ladytron who kind of didn't make it to work yesterday and therefore hadn't been on the internet or watched live TV - long live DVR - since Friday afternoon): Rowling outted the beloved headmaster at Carnegie Hall on October 19th. Many have already blogged about this theory before, and I'm sure are now thrilled to have their suspicions validated.
Now, the real question for many is - was this something that Jo has always known, or is she just trying to give the phenom that is Potter-mania EVEN longer legs? It's easy to see both sides. Dumbledore's relationship with Grindelwald can certainly be (and has been) read that way. On the other hand, many could easily read that as a simple close relationship between heterosexual adolescent boys (like, say, perhaps that of Harry and Ron - or of James and Sirius). Of course, Dumbledore's love of the ladies was never discussed, but the headmaster always seemed (to me, at least) to be a character that was just somehow above such trifling things as sex or relationships. He just always seemed to have a higher purpose.
So what do I think? I really don't care. Whether she decided to just give into all the speculation and make Dumbledore gay, or whether she planned it from the beginning…whichever way, J.K. Rowling has done a great thing. In today's movies, TV shows, and even books, gay characters often fall into a stereotypical pigeonhole, or somehow become defined solely by the fact that they are "gay." Rowling has created a character that is beloved by many for who is he is as a person, a role-model, and a leader - and now, who just happens to be gay. And if that helps promote a new level of understanding or tolerance among even a fraction of those millions of fans, then more power to Rowling.
[update: Upon re-reading this, I realized it lacks the snark that many (by which I mean all 5 of you dear loyal readers) of you have come to expect. I promise that my next post will be much more withering and critical of all things literary. Thank you for your patience. ]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Quills – from the Editor’s date’s perspective

So, I convinced the Editor to bestow his extra $100 ticket on me in exchange for dropping a few E! style lines about the Quills. First off, I had the pleasure of accidentally finding myself standing next to Amy Sedaris at the pre-awards reception ($100 gets you an hour of free champagne – awesome. but no snacks – boo.), and she was adorable. Very tiny in person, in a green velvet dress with a giant feather across the skirt. And a matching little feathery purse! Totes adorable. I passed Al Roker a couple times, but I’d met him before and really he’s just kind of a short, rotund man – although he always does look cheerful and that goes a long way in my book (ha ha. book! get it? 'cause it's a book cer...oh, never mind). Brooke Shields also walked right by me, and she was a totally hottie – very tall, svelte and not as manly/tranny as pictures have led me to believe. And she had on a gorgeous black silk gown – her boobs looked great. As mentioned above, she did tower over poor Tiki.

On the way into the theater, I managed to lock eyes with Rocco DiSpirito, who I swear stared soulfully into mine. Or perhaps he was just trying to figure out why the hobbling crazy lady (my shoes were killing me) was trying to burn holes in his face with her eyes. Whatevs. As soon as I had broken away from his smoldering gaze, I heard a lovely British accent and caught of flash of red hair. OMG, I was standing mere inches from the original Fergie – Weight Watchers spokesperson and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson. She was quickly swept away however, and the Editor was way ahead of me (with my ticket, I should add) due to my gawking and limping. So I rushed on and off to him and our seats.
What followed (as described in the Editor’s post above) was long and excruciating. It turns out that my best celeb spotting was already over. Except for Stephen Colbert, of course. Oh, and Lorraine Braco. I hadn’t noticed her in the lobby, and I can’t resist Dr. Melfi. Her dress was very sparkly and her legs looked as hot as usual. Other than that, a bunch of really old authors. Oh – and Joan Allen! Love her. But, I have to say, she walked a bit like a man. Maybe her feet hurt? I bet she didn’t have to take the subway there like some people I know (ahem, me), so I see no reason why her tootsies would be in pain. Also – she’s very skinny. Which I’ve always known but her neckline was really plunging (appropriate for book ceremony?) and I couldn’t help but notice all her little bones.

Now, I had been told that Ann Curry would be co-hosting these awards. And that was a big selling point for me. I don’t know why, but I love that woman. She’s so pretty and adorable, and she always seems like she really cares about stuff that’s happening in the world. And she’s willing to look like an idiot for fluff pieces on the Today Show. Yay! However, apparently, Ann cares too much because she was off reporting in Palestine or Pakistan or some P-country, so some other lady (they claimed a co-host of the Today Show, but I sometimes watch that and I’ve never seen her) hosted. Her name was weird, but she seemed to do well and seemed pleasant enough. And she and Al had a nice banter going on, so fine. But still. I really wanted to see Ann Curry.

And that my friends, was that. The Editor and I did manage to grab some of the yummy hor d’oerves for the after party on our way out, but with my feet aching and a champagne headache setting in, we silently made our exit.

"The Latin Grammy’s of Publishing…" or something like that

is what Stephen Colbert called the 2007 Quill award ceremonies in his opening speech and he couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t think there was one Latino in the Rose Theatre Monday night (certainly not among the presenters or winners – perhaps on staff?). The awards ceremony was PAINFULLY slow and long. One quarter of the award recipients didn’t show (well, 2 of them were dead, but still!) and Al Roker (while a fine weatherman) is not the best of producers. During the 2 and a half hour taping of the ceremony there were many awkward moments. The audience wasn’t prepped accordingly and not given any cues on when to applaud when they returned from commercial break. The teleprompter set at the back of the theater was incredibly inadequate (and very distracting to those who could see it. I couldn't resist turning around to read along on numerous occasions). Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (apparently he’s famous – I had to Wikipedia him) and his crotchety old man puppet Walter (who looked suspiciously like some of the elder publishers on hand) had to have the thing rewound several times and redo an entire bit. And poor Mary Higgins Clark misread Sissy Spacek as "Suzy" even though it was typed in 114 pt font. It wasn’t quite as bad as Elizabeth Taylor’s "Glaaaaadddddiaaaaator" presentation at the 2001 Golden Globes, but I still had some concern that Bobby Bacala was going to need to carry her offstage before they could squeeze out all three awards.

That was another thing. Why have two presenters each give out multiple awards? And, even worse, awards that had nothing to do with one another? Religion, Thriller, and Audio? Or how about Cookbooks and Children’s Books? Oh, and the pairings! Brooke Shields and Tiki Barber (who is way short, at least next to Glamazon Shields)? Fergie (as in Sarah, Duchess of York) and Rocco diSpirito? And two members of the Sopranos? Look, I know all of those people have written a book at one time or another, but come on. That’s the best we could do? Al Gore couldn’t even be bothered to pick up his award – he sent his daughter (not author Kristin – the other one). The man presented at the MTV Movie Awards, and he can’t come to the Quills?

The official Quill Awards website calls the event "the only book awards to pair a populist sensibility with Hollywood-style glitz." Sadly, the only time the two really meet is when a book is turned into a film (congrats to the Bourne Identity Trilogy for winning the Variety magazine book-to-film Award). The ceremony was woefully unattended with orchestra seating not even at capacity and mezzanine and balcony empty except for the box seats. Even worse, was that after 2 hours of mind numbing television production with no suspense because all the award winners had already been announced, at least ¼ of the audience had left leaving gaping holes in the seating. The worst insult, though, was the time limit imposed on the authors. Why give presenters a good 2-3 minutes of insane banter and then only allow the award winner 20-30 seconds. They won an award because their words mean something. Can’t we trust that when they talk, the words they speak will mean the same or more?
do tell,
The Editor

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

But what will they call it?

Looks like the folks over at AM New York are following in the footsteps of the New York Post - in today's paper, I spotted an ad for the new book section starting this Wednesday. One more contact to add to your core reviewer list, people. Emily Hulme, the listings and entertainment editor at the free daily, will now be the point person for books as well. The section will run every other Wednesday and will feature reviews, author interviews, and "hot titles" that New Yorkers are reading. Will Metro soon follow in AM's footsteps?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Battle of the Bookseller Dot Coms

Perhaps the recent revamp of B& was spurred by Borders Books and Music getting ready to reclaim in early 2008. Until recenlty, they've been directing traffic to, where anyone with a brain basically goes to shop online. The discounts are better, the selection wider, and you can get more than books, music and dvd's.

In a side-by-side comparison, the B&N site is more homogeneous in design, color palate and flow between sections. (beta) features harsh breaks and static images. While I do like the scrollable "magic shelf" front and center on (which sadly you can only scroll up and down on), B& has a lovely animation of their featured titles running right to left with mini windows that show you the price and discount when you mouse over the cover of any title.

Best addition to the new Borders site is their "guest shortlist" featuring 5 picks to read, watch and listen to.

Newest edition to B&N is their reviews section (which I don't see anything comparible to on the Borders site). While the author interviews will be a great addition, I doubt we're going to get critical debate or bad reviews coming out of B&

In the final analysis, both are too busy promoting ALL their products, instead of focusing on their main mission: Books. Sadly, we're left with sites that are "full of sound and fury, signifying... nothing."

do tell,
the editor
ps: Borders, you might want to put a temporary "coming soon" page up for people who type in Also, talk to google, because the 2nd listing for on a google search is your partnership with

We Heart Stephen Colbert

Only Stephen Colbert would have the gravitas to interview himself on The Colbert Report to promote his book, AND create a petition offering himself as a guest on Oprah in order to save her book club. As stated in the petition: "your book club has a troubling record. So far, you've given your implicit endorsement to liars, hermaphrodites, the apocalypse, and, in honoring Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Fidel Castro. All of which are actively plotting to destroy America. Isn't it about time you chose a book that cared about this nation?"
Best of luck, Stephen. Best of luck.
do tell,
the editor

Blind Item: WTF is up with the WaPo book blog?

Saw in today's GalleyCat that the Washington Post has a new blog, Short Stack. Book World editor Marie Arana writes "If Your Marriage Is on the Rocks: We kick off our blog with a short list of five books that might be tonics to marital troubles." Is this a subtle sign that things aren't so rosy between Arana & hubby Jonathan Yardley? Their relationship (adulterous, a little birdy at the Post told me) began over books at the office; maybe it'll end there. Could "Short Stack" be a not-so-loving nickname? The list reads more like a tonic for insomnia than marital woes.
Keep those blind items coming!
do tell,
the editor

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bad News, Good News

Bad News: The Canadian Dollar is at an all time high against the dollar, basically 1 for 1. So much for a cheap vacation in the world next door, eh?

Good News: Looks like we can finally get rid of those pesky dual prices on jacket flaps.

Maybe its time to publish more books in Spanish, or God forbid, French Canadian.


Monday, October 8, 2007

The Colbert Effect

Stephen's got game, not only plugging his very own book tonight, but that of his guest, The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders. I've seen Colbert in the past push books to #2 on Amazon, and right now at publication hour of his own book, I Am America only ranks #6. In a "tip of the hat" to Harry Potter, stores like Powells are having a midnight release party right now. But, as a "wag of a finger," I didn't see a damn thing about it on their homepage. I know they're an indie, but at least they could afford a webcam that linked to
How irate this man will be tomorrow if it doesn't at least hit #1 on amazon. However, I'm sure it will be on the NYT list, but, as we all know, Colbert doesn't read. As for Mr. Saunders, he's at #1,535 on Amazon.
Regardless, tomorrow's ep will be one not to miss.
do tell,
the editor

Friday, October 5, 2007

Okay, I'll admit it, I wasn't wrong.

It appears my brain trust of Slunch contributors led me astray when I announced our Oprah pick. Turns out it will be Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera. Evidently, the book is so good, "You just want to eat it!" says Oprah.
Obviously Oprah isn't getting enough fiber in her diet.

do tell,
the editor

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Oh Rosie, you're driving me crazy

so first, you're not doing Oprah, then you're doing interviews, then you cancel your second Diane Sawyer interview and won't do any other interviews. Now I hear you did NPR yesterday and GMA today. I can't keep up. All I can say is I'm happy I'm not your publicist, and I'm even happier that I'm not you, especially since I'm a dude and you're not (at least, so I'm told).


Friday, September 28, 2007

Oh Rosie, I hope you wrote a letter of apology to Cindi

Media bistro reported that "Rosie O'Donnell has pulled the plug on her two-part interview with Diane Sawyer to promote her new book, Celebrity Detox. 'The book is a very personal snapshot of a certain time in Rosie's life, and she felt she bared her soul on those pages,' Rosie's publicist, Cindi Berger, said. 'She feels people should read the book and take away from it what they will. She does not want to do any interviews.'"
Oh Cindi, I'm soooooo sorry. I know you worked hard on Rosie's book, and got a ton of bookings for her and man it must have been like a knife in your heart when she said she didn't want to do Oprah. But what Rosie did to you is unacceptable! Nothing is harder as a publicist to cancel a booking or multiple bookings, but on top of that to put a spin like you did for your quote: kudos. I hope she wrote you a letter of apology, or sent you a fruit basket or something for undermining your hard work. I really don't get authors. We pay them cash for their books, and then when it comes time to do the media to promote them, they're all gun shy or something and it's a huge deal for them to do media. I'm going to post more on this strange dynamic later, so stay tuned. In the meantime Cindi, stay strong. You've got not only my sympathies, bot those of countless publicists.
Rock on!

Slunch's Editor has no life

Yeah, it's Friday night, and the editor is finally getting around to updating Slunch and of course, he needs his intern. If you work in publishing, you understand how your free time is not entirely "free" and that your passtimes continue to pass you by while your work life works you over. At least he's plying me with enough Chardonnay to keep me happy while I fetch his dry cleaning, do the dishes in the sink, finish some research... and then there are the other fringe benefits ;)

-The Intern
ps: We're talking Ian McKellan hung here.

Ask Slunchie - Panicked on Park Ave

Dear Slunchie,

My boss just asked me what kind of response I was getting from my follow-ups for a book that is being released this November. Unfortunately, I've been slammed preparing for a huge author tour next month, and the book kind of slipped off my radar. In other words, there has been no follow-up. What should I do? -Panicked on Park Ave

What to do: First of all, Don't Panic. Drop everything and immediately send an email blast followup to the entire contact list that received your book. Then, contact the easiest placement you can get before the end of day. Immediately following this, make yourself scarce and unavailable to your boss in order to buy you time. Guaranteed, by 5pm, you'll be able to go to your boss with a list of at least 5 top tier placements that said "no," 1 outlet that said "yes," and 3 that said "thanks for reminding me, I'll have to take another look at it." And, by all means, don't mention that this is the first time that you've contacted anyone. If asked, merely reply that you were "consolidating your notes," or some other office slang for organization. So as long as you can give him/her an update by the end of the day, you're golden.

What not to do: Tell the truth. Your boss is only asking because your title is coming up on a marketing meeting, or the agent called to find out what was up. He/She just needs something to say. Again, repeat after me, do not tell the truth.

do ask,

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review-Gawker Guide to Conquering all Media

Yesterday I was trolling through Gawker and came across the awesome trailer for their new book, complete with Dianetics call-back with faux almost pornographic volcano eruption. I had to watch it, I had to know more... and after I watched it I wanted to understand "How can I effectively berate and exploit my assistant?" and "How can I drink on the job and still get a raise?" (the last one I'm sure our deathwatch candidate would like to know as well). Well, I did what any blue blooded publishing peon would do, I emailed my friend who works over at S&S and they emailed their friend, and the next thing I knew, there was a copy of CONQUERING ALL MEDIA on my desk.

First of all, I was intimidated. Was my work here at Slunch over? Would they answer everything I had questions about? Would they say what I didn't even know I had to say yet? Fear not, while the Gawker Guide is incredible, it will inspire all of us over here at Slunch to work even harder so that one day, we too will get a book deal.

Upon first opening the book I was happy to see on page xi a handy glossary of icons. Among which was a martini glass which indicates "you might want to skip this section. It's useless. We started to drink heavily as the book deadline approached." Spoken like true writers. Brilliant! So, with that in mind, I made my self a martini (or three) and sat down to write this review.

The book is broken down into 7 sections, 5 of which are dedicated to the different branches of the media" Book Publishing, Print, Radio, TV and Film (suckers, lumped together), The Internet. Working in Book Publishing and Blogging on the Interwebs, chapters 2 and 6 intrigued me most so I read them first... that is after turning to page 19. I have an assistant that I feel I'm not effectively berating and need to know how. Unfortunately, I was a victim of false advertising. Instead of giving me a blow by blow on how to handle my own assistant, there is a hilarious sample dialogue of "you" calling someone elses "assistant."

Damn martinis are hitting me pretty hard now.

Anyways, Gawker hits the nail on the head when they answer the question about how does the book publishing industry really work? The answer: "It doesn't really work. But the good news is that the industry's ass-backwardness makes it an easy mark for domination." This is something I've been saying for years and I'm glad someone finally put it into print.

In the Internet section they have incredible examples of the Very Important IM (VIIM) including how to use IM to fire employees.

Well, this is getting pretty long for a post, and I'm having trouble focusing now that I just finished martini number 3, so let me sum up- If your work in media, buy this book. If you're thinking about working in media, buy this book, and if you work in publishing, email your friend at S&S for a copy.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ask Slunchie-Miserable in Midtown

"Actually, I would like to start an office Romance. Any tips?
Thank you in advance." –Miserable in Midtown

what to do: The quickest way to start an office romance is with booze. Organize an office happy hour and invite your target of choice. They'll feel comfortable going out with a group but awkward enough hanging out with coworkers, making for the perfect dynamic to get tipsy fast. Buy a round to show off, and to help everyone get nice and blotto so that memories will be pretty hazy the next day and your motives not so obvious. Be sure to check in and chat up your romantic target throughout the evening, and once you've reached a good conversation point, suggest going somewhere else a little more quiet (like your place - or the now empty office building 'cause after hours office sex = hot) to chat. The rest is up to you my friend, the rest is up to you.

What not to do: buy them something from Tiffany’s and give it to them at the company holiday party in front of everyone else and then bang them in the copy room. Sure, many a 2nd marriage have begun this way, but I don’t recommend it. It gets akward way fast, especially if its your assistant.
do ask,

blind item

What recent award winner is known as being a bit of a lecherous sleaze with a penchant for sleeping with his Gothic fan base despite being married? I'll give you another clue: his new movie tanked.

-Paige Sexie

Monday, September 24, 2007

Purely Speculation... but

According to the blog-o-sphere-net-tubes-web, Oprah Winfrey will announce her latest book club selection on October 5, and big surprise, the publisher is Vintage. After trolling through the Vintage site and seeing what they have coming up (and taking a poll from all the slunch contributors) we would like to make a wild speculation that the title that she'll choose is (insert ending of Sopranos finale here... just kidding) Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirosvsky. Why you ask? One word "Auschwitz." We're talking heartbreaking tale here, genocide, and of course a race of people relentlessly persecuted by Mel Gibson.

Can't wait to find out if we're right, or asked to remove this post (same thing).

do tell,

the editor

Bay Area: 1; Atlanta: 0

I'm sure you all remember awhile back when the AJC eliminated the position of book review editor and the book community went all petition crazy and junk. And, of course, the AJC didn't give two shits and now Ms. Weaver is working for Habitat for Humanity and Atlanta Magazine . Well, it turns out that the Contra Costa Times is a bit more caring about their literary audience. BRE Sue Gilmore has announced that the newspaper has reversed it's decision to move their Sunday Book Review section out of the paper and onto the interwebs only, due to the huge outcry from readers.
Apparently the Contra Costa times made the mistake of thinking that people who still subscribed to papers preferred TV listings over book reviews, not realizing that no one freaking checks the paper to see what's on. That's what the "Guide" button is for on our Time Warner remote. Plus, who watches live TV anymore? We have Tivo and DVR people. Also, I remember back when I used to get a paper (or well, when my parents did and I still lived at home), it came with this crappy little local TV guide thing that had the schedule for the whole week. And we saved that, and looked in it (because my parents were assholes and refused to get cable so I didn't have a fancy schmancy "Guide" button. Screw you all.) when we wanted to see what was on. But, I digress. The point is, go Contra Costa Times for realizing that you were being dumb retards. And boo, AJC for never realizing the same. That is all.

ps. I should probably also note that the Contra Costa Times received a number of letters suggesting that their loyal readers would defect to - horrors - the San Francisco Chronicle. The AJC has the luxury of being the only decent newspaper in the state, so really, where else where those whiney literati gonna go?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quote Of The Day

“On the surface we all get on brilliantly, but on a personal level we all fucking loathe each other...In my view what’s happening in publishing in the past few days is a catastrophe. Everyone is horribly excited.”

--the editorial director of one of England’s largest publishing houses, responding anonymously to the mass resignations at literary agency PFD
do tell,
the editor

Ask Slunchie

We here at Slunch (well, really, I) believe that the time has come to start our very own advice column for those of you looking for new ways to deal with your interoffice romances, intolerable bosses, flaky coworkers, insane authors, vampiric agents, and ineffective assistants... just to name a few. So please, email your questions to Slunchie c/o the editor at

I can't wait to tell you what I think ;)

do ask,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why I Love The Observer

Now, I know I've already written about James Frey, but when I saw the cartoon accompanying the New York Observer article , I couldn't resist one more mention. Yes, the article is great, informative, blah, blah, blah, but it's already been written about in the more respectable lit blogs, so I'll leave it alone. But this cartoon people! James Frey as Humpty Dumpty - cracked open and putting himself back together again with…money glue. Hilarious. And the caption - "Humped, Dumped, Pumped!" OMG, New York Observer. I heart you.



Excerpted from:
The Savvy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity (Carroll & Graf)
By Lissa Warren

A savvy author is going to have a lot of questions about the publicity for his or her book. Yet there are some questions that are notorious for riling publicists. I list a few below, and reasons to avoid them. I encourage you to think of them as the seven deadly sins.

“Have you tried Oprah? (or Larry King, Charlie Rose, Regis and Kelly, or Terry Gross)?” Publicists know that these people’s shows really sell books, and go for them before anything else if you and your book are even remotely appropriate. They’re already under a lot of pressure to get you on these programs. They won’t appreciate more.
“Could you overnight a copy to . . . ?” You’re asking your publicist to stop what she’s doing (perhaps preparing for a big marketing meeting where she’ll discuss your book) and send a copy by the costliest means possible. If it’s a major show or publication and they’ve expressed real and urgent interest, by all means ask for this. Otherwise, just e-mail the info to your publicist and ask her to mail the book or send it via UPS Ground as soon as possible.
“Anything new?” If there were, your publicist would have told you; we’re not shy about trumpeting success. Keep in mind that your publicist constantly hears this same question from her immediate supervisor, the publisher, the sales reps, the foreign rights department, the subrights department, and the editors. Then multiply the pestering by ten for the number of books she’s working on, in some capacity, on any given day.
“Did the host/reporter who just interviewed me even read the book?” Unfortunately, the answer is, probably not. But please don’t be offended. They may be even busier than your publicist. That’s why she sent them press material to crib from.
“Is (insert name of show or publication) going to do anything with my book?” Your publicist will do her best to get a “yes” or “no” from each media outlet about your book, but she isn’t always able to, and pushing the media for an answer when they haven’t responded to a galley, a finished book, two e-mails, a fax, and three voice mail messages isn’t going to help her reputation—or yours. Sometimes, no answer is an answer—if they were interested, they’d have called. Also keep in mind that when she does get a “no,” your publicist might not get a reason or the reason may be vague (“it’s just not right for our magazine,” or “the host wasn’t interested”). This is frustrating, but perfectly normal.
“Could you send a copy to my friend Mandy from high school? She knows Katie Couric’s assistant.” It’s nice that your friend knows Katie Couric’s assistant. However, your publicist probably knows Andrea Smith (Editors Note: This excerpt is from the 2004 edition, so I'm sure Lissa would like us to note that it's now Jackie Levin), the books producer at the Today Show(who has been on the list of publishing’s most powerful people) and the person there who is most likely to actually do something with your book—and chances are your publicist has sent your book to her. Remember, your publicist only has so many copies to send to the media. You don’t want her to waste one, and insisting that she send one to acquaintances of yours who have distant connections to the media is a sure way to do so. However, if you yourself have a direct connection to the media (e.g., your friend Mandy from high school is Katie Couric’s assistant—or better yet, your friend from high school is Katie Couric), then by all means ask your publicist
to send. She’ll be grateful.
“How many other books are you working on right now?” More than you want to know about. Trust me.

Keep those anonymous submissions coming. I don't think Publitron could have put it any better.

do tell,
the editor

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why Americans Don't Read

I'd like to thank Pillhead at Jezebel for this insight from their latest post Counting Sheep is for Suckers:

"I didn't ask my doctor for a sleep aid, he just offered me an Ambien prescription and I said, "Why not?" That night, I popped half and climbed into bed with a book. The next morning I woke up with the light still on and my head on the book -- I hadn't even made it through one page before sweet, sweet Ambien knocked me out. (This is why I have a theory that the decline in literacy rates and the rise of sleep aids are inextricably linked.)"

Sweet Ambien indeed... and, you don't get those pesky hangovers that come with drinking a bottle of vodka before bed.


Random Musings - brought to you by The New York Times

So, I was flipping through this coming Sunday's New York Times Book Review , and I noticed two things on interest.

One: a ginormous color ad for Nicholas Spark's new book, The Choice (Grand Central Publishing/September). Why is this interesting you may ask? Because I freaking love The Notebook, that's why. Not the book. Fuck that. THE MOVIE . Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams…the scene in the rain…"It wasn't over. It still isn't!"…sigh. Amazing. And I want another movie that I can love and rewatch as much as that. A Walk to Remember sucked - although Shane West was quite the hottie in it. What was the other one? That bottle one with the Princess Bride (aka Sean Penn's wife) and Kevin Costner? I think that was based on a Sparks book. Whatever. It sucked too. So, I will pin my hopes on The Choice. I have no idea what it's about, I haven't read it, I won't read it, but I will cross my little fingers that some wonderful screen writer will be able to transform it into another The Notebook. And if Ryan Gosling could star too, that would help.

Two: the new bestseller format is in effect. I don't know why, but I find the switch fascinating. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great idea - trade paperbacks are kind of the middle ground between hardcover and mass market (price and kind of quality wise too), and if you're going to separate hardcover and paperback, you might as well separate trade and mass. Fair enough. Good idea, Mr. Tanenhaus. Also, there are more books on the paperback and advice/how-to lists now. Awesome for all those writers who could never quite get up off the extended list (which really doesn't have the same ring). But here's what cracks me up - no one's actually buying that the Times cares about having "a list that corresponds closely to what we review in the section and what we gauge our readers are interested in." Nope, everyone in the biz knows it's about the money. As one insider put it "It's completely ad driven. People want to buy a position next to the list." And, as Crain's points out (you may have noticed that I'm basically stealing their article), people are going to be more likely to buy ads in the New York Times if they can actually say their books are bestsellers. Pure genius. Those book reviewers are so friggin' clever. No wonder they look down on bloggers so much. I mean, no one's scrambling to buy ads here. Hmm, maybe we should start a Slunch Bestseller list. Time for a meeting with my editor...


Blind Item

What mega-bestselling thriller writer has grown tired of receiving pretentiously negative reviews from Kirkus that they have banned the trade rag from ever receiving one of the author’s galleys?
Keep those tips coming!
do tell,
the editor

Collaborators in Publishing, Love

It seems that Houghton Mifflin and Soho Press have more in common than The Collaborator of Bethlehem (Houghton bought the paperback rights for Matt Beynon Rees's debut novel). Rumor has it that romance has blossomed between two publicity staffers as well.

-Paige Sexie

UPDATE: Galleycat has just outed our blind item with names and photos.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Proust on the Luce

Could it be that Steve Carell's role as the foremost Proust scholar in the United States in Little Miss Sunshine has helped bring Proust back into the mainstream? This fall sees two titles: Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by professor of child development at Tufts University, Maryanne Wolf (Harper/Sept), and Proust was a Neuroscientist by Seed Magazine's editor at large, Jonah Lehrer (Houghton/Nov).
While Wolf takes the approach of relating the evolution of reading and its effects on the brain, Lehrer's angle is to illustrate where art and science converge and how art-- whether it be culinary, painting, or writing--predicted scientific breakthroughs.
So where does Proust fit in? In Proust and the Squid "Wolf takes the reader from the brains of a pre-literate Homer to a literacy-ambivalent Plato, from an infant listening to Goodnight Moon to an expert reader of Proust..." Whereas in Proust was a Neuroscientist, one chapter is dedicated to how the prolific revisionist unlocked the mysteries of memory.
Looks like Luce clipping service will be hard pressed to pay attention when sending out the clips.
-Jonathan P. Highbrow, Esq.

Friday, September 14, 2007

James Frey is a liar - but do I care?

Wow. After I left work yesterday, emily gould posted a scathing response to the news that James Frey was back in the book biz with a 7-figure deal to Harper. On one hand, she's totally right. It's crazy that this dude could deceive millions of people, make Oprah look like an idiot, and still manage to come out on top. Plus, I totally had the hots for the bad boy image he created, and after seeing him reduced to a pathetic shell, I totally lost my hard-on (or lady equivalent of) for him. Hmm, although, thinking about it now, it was a pretty badass move to play O. Lying to Oprah - that takes balls.

On the other hand, I fucking loved A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. And I'm totally curious to see what Jimmy-boy can come up when writing actual fiction, rather than a fictionalized account of his own life. So, yeah, I'm guilty of the "oooo, it's a train wreck. I must watch" effect that makes so many unworthy people famous. But the difference between Frey and say, Miss Teen South Carolina, is this - Frey became famous for writing something that people loved. Sure, his fall from grace made him even more so, but at least he's coming back into the spotlight with a piece of work that could be a shot at redemption. As opposed to hitting up Fashion Week and smiling for the cameras.

So for now, I'll reserve judgement until I can get someone at Harper to send me a free copy of the book. Because, after all, Frey was the man that once said "I don't give a fuck what they think of me. I'm going to try to write the best book of my generation and I'm going to try to be the best writer." Maybe this is his chance...


Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Blogs-an open letter to Peter Sacks

Dear Peter:
A mutual fan asked me to comment on your remarkably insightful essay published on The Huffington Post. It was honest, to the point, and illuminates many of the problems with the industry as a whole, and our country of illiterates as well. (Also, I'd like to note that I was impressed you apologized for "the bitch" remark. Afraid of the Imus effect?) Regardless, take heart. There are avid non-fiction readers out there and you do have an important subject to educate us on.
However, what I found fascinating was that you never once mentioned the title of your book in that essay: Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education.
So, I'd like to give you a bit of advice.
1) Always mention your book! When you're being interviewed or writing something call back to your book with the simple phrase "As I say in my book...". I noticed one of the commenter's was wondering what the title of your book was. You got them interested, which is great. But how many readers left without asking what the title was or taking the time to read your bio?
2) You're a writer and writers write, not to publish bestselling novels. If it happens, great, but if not, you at least got published and paid for something you obviously love to do. While there are very few authors that make it to the elusive New York Times best seller list, there are thousands of would-be authors receiving rejection letters every month. The majority of authors I work with have a day job, and write because they love to or they have something to say. Remember why you're writing. Remember your message. If you keep these up front, and express them, everything else will come in time.
3) Sadly, you're with a University Press. While I'm not familiar with the University of California Press, and I've seen some University Presses get some great ink for their authors, books, and have a nice reputation for their lists, they don't have the gravitas of a major house. Publicists are only as good as their contacts, and if major media isn't beating down their door on one book, which opens it and gives them a chance to pitch their other authors and books, it's tough to get the attention of Oprah, or a morning show, or the other press you've lamented missing.
4) Shelf Life. Your book was published in May '07. Really, there's only a solid month of publicity that can be done around publication time that ties into your book while it is timely. However, your subject matter is something that is timeless (at least until we find ourselves in a Utopian society). Troll the news, the blogs, find anything that relates to your book and contact them. Tell them you're an expert on the subject and would be happy to comment.
5) 3 Letters: NPR. Ask your publicist to work with you to craft a great pitch letter to send to National and Local NPR producers. NPR listeners are great literate folk and the backbone of book sales. Your subject is perfect for many of their shows like Conversations from Wisconsin Public Radio or Talk of the Nation.
Well, I hope this helps. Currently your Sales Rank is: #47,067. Lets see if we can get that into the 4 digits together. If we do, you owe me a bottle of scotch.
Best of luck to you, Peter.

BTW, in your essay you said "We are all bloggers who produce "content," and content is now a commodity." What you should know is that I write for this blog because I love to write, and I think I have something to say about the industry after all my years in it. This is my voice. I don't get paid for expressing my opinion. I do so simply because I can, I want to, I need to, and best of all, because you're listening even if you don't agree.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Roe V Tupe

Could this surpass Californication as the literary event of the month? The smack down between Rosie (Fish Roe) O'Donnell and Donald (The Tupe) Trump has found new life as Trump enters the ring again swinging. As reported by Extra (Dear Lord, I'm getting my lit news from Extra? Someone please shoot me!) The Tupe said: “Rosie is a loser and her book is terrible. She attacks Barbara Walters and she attacks me…she’s not a smart person. If her book does as poorly as her magazine and Broadway shows, it will fail." Evidently some pages were leaked to Page Six which reported that Roe "calls Donald Trump 'a torn scarecrow' and 'a slug'" in her new book, Celebrity Detox. Evidently The Tupe has a book coming out next month too titled Think Big and Kick Ass (I can't even comment on that title) and Page Six goes on to quote from Trump's masterpiece that "Rosie is a loser, a very sad case - unattractive both inside and out. I'll make a little wager my book sells a lot more than hers."

I wonder how much that wager would be? For all our sakes, it would be that the loser removes themselves from the public eye... forever.

Why can't they just admit they're in love with each other?


Monday, September 10, 2007

PLUG-The Bat Segundo Show

The latest five installments (Shows #134-138) of The Bat Segundo Show, a literary podcast featuring interviews with today's contemporary writers, are now up. These shows include a rare and comprehensive interview (over two days -- in two parts!) with the novelist Rupert Thomson (#137-#138), a discussion on email pranks with Welcome Back, Kotter star Gabe Kaplan (#136), a conversation with the acclaimed writer Marianne Wiggins about Edward Curtis and photographic manipulation (#134), and a talk with Antoine Wilson, who unearths an unusual connection between Knight Rider and Don Quixote (#136).
In the meantime, Mr. Segundo continues his regrettable attempts to find a paramour or, at least, someone who can be persuaded to warm his dingy bed at the Motel 6. He has begun learning how to paste heads onto bodies using Photoshop and, since Vanessa Hudgens has spurned his advances, he has shifted his seduction efforts to wooing Marianne Wiggins. Alas, there has been no reply from Ms. Wiggins. Mr. Segundo's difficulties may have something to do with a regrettable morning many years ago, in which he encountered a handlebar moustache. Nevertheless, we wish him well in his efforts, however ill-advised they may be.

-The Bat Segundo Crew

THE RAG HAS A MAG - Publicists rejoice

In a hostile environment that has seen review coverage cut entirely at some papers (Atlanta Journal Constitution I'm looking at you) and slashed at others (L A Times, tut-tut) publicists, authors and readers will rejoice to hear that New York's premiere tabloid will expand their coverage. Abby Wisse Schachter, editor at the New York Post will be heading up the new review section that will run in the Post's Sunday magazine that debuts on 9/23. And get this, as opposed to the Post Opinion reviews she ran, we'll be seeing a good selection of fiction titles covered as well.
Thank you for reinstating our faith in book coverage. Bravo Post!
Keep those news tips coming!

do tell,
the editor

Does Tehran have a B&N?

Press TV an international Iran-based news network reports that "A fictional story of an Iran-Israel nuclear war is the main theme of the latest novel by American political thriller author Vince Flynn. The delusional book [titled Protect and Defend] will be published by Atria Books on October 30 and is categorized in literature as a fiction and thriller genre."
"Delusional?" Are they living in the same Middle-East I keep hearing about?
keep those news tips coming!
do tell,

-the editor

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Am I the only one confused by Rosie O'Donnel's latest blog lashing against
her publishing house for a dust jacket typo? I'm not talking about the poor taste in which she chose to lambaste Grand Central, nor the fact that she makes it clear how she feels about the book. As reported by Access Hollywood Rosie wrote: “this book has been more of a pain in the a** than it was worth.” (However after reviewing Rosie's blog, it looks like she removed that line from her post). No, the real head-scratcher is her threat: "I want to scream NO ONIONS at every one"

What exactly does "No Onions" mean? Is that kind of like "bad dog, no biscuit?" or is it something stronger and more sinister.

A commenter on Defamer are scratching their heads too:

"'No onions'? Could someone make English of this for me?"

But we might have an answer from the Entertainment Blog which writes:

"We think the reference to onions had something to do with her tantrum-throwing idol, Jeff Lewis of Bravo's Flipping Out, though that footnote won't likely provide much comfort to the employees of Grand Central Publishing when a rampaging O'Donnell storms their headquarters and shouts, "NO ONIONS!" directly into their faces. Sadly, sometimes loudly quoting dietary restriction catchphrases from obscure reality TV shows is the only way they'll learn. We only hope the comedian's strong reaction doesn't end up backfiring, however, resulting in the revised book flap reading, "in 1973, Rosie O'Donnell forced her mother to eat so many onions she gave her cancer. This is her story."

I like the image of a rampaging O'Donnell storming the Grand Central Headquarters, shouting "NO ONIONS"! and her editor doing one of those head-cocking motions a confused dog makes with the sound "wruerh?"

Looking forward to what Rosie does next to derail the success of her book, and her career.


Ian McKellen is...impressive

So, I guess the new run of "King Lear" at BAM this month technically falls into the theater category. But I think since it's Shakespeare, we can certainly bend the rules and include it as a literary event. Especially since Ladyton managed to secure herself some tickets and is aching to write about it.

First off, the venue. The BAM Harvey Theater is lovely - although when you're running late and unsure of where to go, you do get a bit frustrated that it's not by the spinning letters sign at the main BAM building. I mean, sure, they provide directions when you buy the tickets, but come on, who looks at those? But, once we arrived, we were efficiently sent up to our seats up in the gallery to sit. A little word about the gallery - it's TERRIFYING. For those of you familiar with sitting up high in a theater or at a baseball game, I'm sure you recall that slight vertigo feeling of looking at the steep rows of seats before you - the irrational fear that if you leaned slightly forward, you would somehow sail straight down over them to an untimely death. No? Perhaps that's just me. Anyway, Harvey had that. Only worse. The seats, you see, were not normal theater seats. They were glorified bar stools. Oh sure, they had backs and arm rests, but they were narrow, hard, and high off the ground. Which, while optimal for viewing the stage, horrific for the nerves. Thankfully the seats were bolted in place, or I would have spent the whole show in fear of tipping over.

Now, I had read the play before, but never had the pleasure of seeing it on stage. Despite the fact that it was a bit lengthy (we arrived at 7:30 and left at 11:15), it was magnificent. And - for you non-theater folks (which I very much am) - there were a couple other familiar faces as well. The chick from "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" (come on, you watched it too) was Cordelia, and that dude from Titanic (you know, the one that sneaks into a life boat like the coward that he is) plays the Lord of Kent. Excellent. Although, I did have a hard time buying Kent's loyalty and bravery. I kept waiting for him to be like, ho, hum, Lear's insane. Nothing I can do. Might as well jump in a boat to some nicer kingdom. Other than that, a whole bunch of people who are probably famous Shakespearian actors, but that was lost on me. One guy had been in an episode of HBO's Rome, a show I really liked, so kudos to him.
First of all, I love Sir Ian McKellen. Love him. If he weren't gay and a bit too senior for me, I would marry him in a heartbeat. And this only made me love him more. I had to resist the urge to throw myself over the balcony into his arms. He transformed himself from the self-assured, mighty Magneto and the all-powerful Gandalf into an old man who seemed to disintegrate before the audience's eyes. The shaky hands, the hunched walk; the moments of complete innocence in his madness or utter despair in sanity - I found myself worried that McKellen himself was going to keel over and die. I fell in love with him the first time I saw "Gods & Monsters," and he hasn't let me down since.

Just one more aspect in which McKellen truly awe-inspiring. When he dropped trou. I had read that there was a pants dropping scene, but for some reason, I didn't put it together that we were talking full frontal. And at first thought, ew, who wants to see Lear naked? But, after the initial shock of seeing Gandalf's penis, a new shock set in - Sir Ian is hung. And I was in the next to last row people.
Well done, good sir.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

mea culpa...kinda (DBF part 2)

Wow. First off, let me say, we had no idea that so many people were reading us - or cared. I mean three comments in less than 24 hours. Wow. I mean, we're no GalleyCat or Gawker (yet!), so that's kind of a big deal. For us. God, we're losers. But yeah, thanks for taking the time to read and to make comments.

That said, the stuff about Wordsmith was pure speculation (hence, when I mentioned that I "unearthed some speculation" in the original post) from other local book people that I met at the Festival. I'm sure the stores did still get a good crowd, and I didn't mean to say that because they weren't "present" at the festival, they didn't draw business from it. Darren Wang (see comments), as head of the Decatur Book Festival, would certainly know better than I, but several sources did tell me that Wordsmith's application was rejected, and that they "lost" the right to sell books for the Charles Frazier event to Tall Tales.

Also, I never meant to imply that I was confusing the AJC with the DBF. But, you have to admit that it's a bit ironic. The biggest sponsor of the Festival (so big, their name gets to modify it) is the paper that drew so much criticism from the book community this year. That petition to save Teresa Weaver popped up in my inbox at least seven times - and I certainly signed it, for all the good it did. All I'm saying is, maybe they donated a bit more this year because they were feeling guilty? But again, people, I don't WORK there. SPECULATION.

Darren did put me in my place with the B&N info - seriously, Ladytron totally missed seeing them. I was probably too busy eavesdropping on people's conversations. However, his comments seem to suggest that I indicated the DBF was not supportive of independents. I certainly meant to convey the opposite (For example, when I wrote "So right on, DBF peeps.") I was proud of the independents being represented there - from Charis to Outwrite to Eagle Eye. I met tons of great people and was thrilled at a chance to mingle with the people that so lovingly handsell books and keep people like me in a paying job. One cannot live on slunch alone, you know.

I LOVED the Decatur Book Festival and think it's a wonderful event, and hope one day to be invited to participate myself, rather than just be an observer. I also did make my way over to Wordsmith and enjoy it. And I wish more power to Zach and the gang because Atlanta needs more booksellers that truly care about books. But, as a slunch contributor, it's my job to bring you what the people are saying (right until proven wrong)…and that's what they're saying, y'all.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Psst, guess what... Southerners Just as Snarky as New Yorkers (DBF part 1)

I must say, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution went all out for the second annual Decatur Book Festival. It was almost as though they were trying to prove something (cough - no Teresa Weaver - cough - no book section. The Square itself reminded me of a good old New York street festival, complete with corn dog stands. All of the exhibitors had little white tents for visitors to browse, and there were a variety of stages where authors and other industry folk discussed their books and the biz. There was even a special participant room, stocked with food and drinks, where the "VIPs" could hang between events. Not too shabby. Maybe Book Expo should take notes for next year.

But aside from the panels, the southern charm, delicious food, and plenty of booze, there was some other interesting stuff at work behind the scenes. First of all, the exhibitor list . Notice any stores missing? Hmm, Barnes and Noble? Borders? Nowhere to be found. Apparently, the AJC favors the independents, and Ladytron says more power to them. I've been known to swing into a B&N in my day (ahem, Harry Potter), but for the most, part, I do try to support my local independent. So right on, DBF peeps.
The most glaring omission, however, was Wordsmith. I was especially interested in checking the store out, since I'd read so much about it in the past few months . Opened by a former Chapter 11 exec (previously the largest independent book chain in the ATL area), Wordsmith is located RIGHT OFF the Decatur Square and had been written about in PW, Shelf Awareness, Galleycat, etc. So, after being hailed as the next great independent, why weren't they represented at the Festival?

Ladytron used her connections (by which I mean, I chatted up some locals from other independents) and unearthed some speculation. One, Wordsmith opened in June, a mere two and a half months before the Book Festival. All of the other independents were well-established in the Atlanta area, while Wordsmith (despite publicity) hadn't had a chance to prove themselves. Two, owner Zach Steele might be a touch shady. I've never met the man personally, so truly, I don't know, but word on the street is that when he defected from Chapter 11, he took a number of authors with him, dealing a huge blow to the already struggling store. Also, Steele claims to not sell children's books due to an agreement with nearby children's book shop, Little Shop of Stories. Not true, my sources say. Zach just doesn't like kids and doesn't want them running around his shop. The folks at the AJC-DBF are pretty kid-friendly and were not down with this. Finally, I heard that Steele, an initial supporter of the "Save the Book Review" campaign that stormed Atlanta earlier this year, disassociated himself as opening day grew closer. Once the store was open, Wordsmith claimed they were always involved in the fight, angering some of the true supporters.

However, to Steele's credit, he has opened a beautiful bookstore, and I've heard he took in many of the former Chapter 11 employees who were left jobless when the stores closed. And, maybe, in this day and age, you need to bend the rules a bit to play with the big boys...
So there you go…turns out that New York's not the only place where book gossip reigns supreme. Those crazy independents are just as back-stabbing as us publishing folk anyday. Whew. I don't feel so bad about myself now.


David Duchovny, why don't you love me?

Don't know if you have showtime. If you work in publishing you probably can't afford the premium channels, but at least here at the Slunch offices we know we can write off cable at the end of the year. Anyways, you need to watch Californication on Showtime, new eps air every weds night at 9pm. Duchovny plays Hank, a misanthropic sex addicted former writer turned blogger (sounds familiar). A great game to play each episode is "count the boobs." Yes, there's that much sex, good times, literary angst and agency bullshit. Welcome to the writers world in LA.

we give it an A+++

The Slunch Editors

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

i stand corrected, they didn't do it

Well, as PW reported today and one of our intrepid readers informed us, it turns out B&N has changed its stance on If I Did It, which will be retitled I did It (OH! I see what you did there). Yes, what was once an altruistic stance against the abomination which is OJ's pseudo memoir of death has been reversed because they must serve Mamon, the green tooth-stained god of money. Guess that's why Beaufort Books went back to press, and speaking of the press, their coverage has made it #102 on Amazon right now. Way to renew my faith in the future of corporations and humanity as a whole. Way to go... (insert slow clap here)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

another "memoir" decreed a lie

Oh, Augusten Burroughs. How far you have fallen. I devoured your memoir, "Running with Scissors." I watched the movie on-demand (even paying Time Warner a whole $3.95 for it) and laughed at Alec and Annette's crazy antics. Oh, and Gwyneth and pre-Manson Evan Rachel Wood. But now. Now. To find out that the Turcottes "are each fine, decent, and hardworking people." And that you've paid them off. Settled even. No! I haven't been so distressed since I found out that James Frey was a spoiled subarban kid who was no tougher than my grandmother.

When Oprah crucified Frey on live TV over the "lies" in "A Million Little Pieces," publishers everywhere feared what this meant for the memoir. After all, every person remembers certain events differently. As Burroughs himself writes the Turcotte family's memoires "are different than my own." The solution seems easy enough - simply change the names and sell it as a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel, "based on real life experiences."

Yes, I know that James Frey initially tried to sell his as a novel. And it got rejected again and again. But, seriously, publishers, let's think about this. Do you want to get sued? Do you want Oprah to hate you? Go the route of Jack Kerouac for "On the Road." Hell, follow in the shoes of Lauren Weisberger and "The Devil Wears Prada." And just promote the bejesus out of the author's background. People will latch on and barely notice the distinction. In fact, they'll become obsessed with identifying who these characters are actually based on. Save yourself the trouble in advance. It worked for Hemingway…until he killed himself.
Love and Kisses,

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

An open letter to PW

Dear PW:

What the hell! First your email bounces back and then you just ignore me - do I not send you tons of books each year? Are they not good enough? Sure I know some of them weren't the best - but they have feelings too ya know!



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

what the hell pw?

Hi, I'm sorry, we are no longer able to provide the service of checking to see if a book has been schedule for review. Sincerely,
Isabell Taylor
Executive Assistant Publishers Weekly

Monday, August 27, 2007


There is a deathwatch for a certain editor whose hard-partying ways might be catching up with them. Always late, that’s if they show up of course. Continues to drink throughout the day, just ask anyone who walks by them in the hall, elevator, or street. Others are beginning to catch on because he isn't doing a good job of hiding it anymore!


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dr Blogstein, Our Hero.

Congrats to Dr Blogstein for jumping the shark and making Page Six news in the Post for his interview with Walid Shoebat formerly of the PLO.

Proof once again that the Jews control the media ;)

-Slunch Editor

What's black and white and red all over and can't go through a revolving door?

We all talk about how the revolving door in publishing continues to spin, but i've never seen it spin faster than it does over at Gotham & Dutton. In the last year I've read in Pub Lunch about their publicists moving on to do great things at Random, Soho, S&S, Houghton, and an insider over at Penguin reports to us that the turnover is something like a person a month. DEAR LORD! How do they manage? All I can say that is if anyone can stick it out there, they've got serious cojones. That, or they can't find a decent job anywhere else.


ps: the answer to the riddle is: A nun with a spear through her stomach.

Not if, but how I did it.

It's rare to see corporations take a moral stand on things. Sure, they have their sexual harassment policies, and codes of conduct, but at the end of the day its anything goes to make a buck. right? Well, I do have to commend B&N for taking a stand and NOT carrying the OJ Simpson book If I Did It. Granted, we embrace free speech as a country, and this is in no way censorship. The book will be published, the Goldman family will make gobs of money off the sensationalism of their son's death, and that more than anything is the real tragedy here. If it was me, I'd want the whole thing behind me, and after receiving the rights, destroy every copy in existence. The book in my opinion is an abomination, and a veiled admission to murder by a sick mind hoping to profit from it. Get back in your Bronco OJ and take a slow drive to another country. I hear the Mexican film industry is taking off and they could use your talent.


R.I.P Magdalen Nabb

I just received this obit from the ladies over at Soho Press. British author Magdalen Nabb passed away on Saturday in Florence, Italy. She will be missed by the book community and mystery lovers everywhere.

Obituary: Magdalen Nabb
January 16, 1947 – August 18, 2007
Magdalen Nabb, British crime writer and author of children’s books, died on August 18, 2007, following a stroke.
Magdalen Nabb was born in the village Church in Lancashire, England in 1947. She studied art and pottery at the College of Art in Manchester, and it was there that she started writing. While working in a pottery studio in the Italian town of Montelupo Fiorentino, Nabb came up with the idea for her most popular character, the Sicilian-born police detective Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia. From 1975 onward she lived and worked as a journalist and writer in Florence, Italy. Her novels were much loved and praised and have been translated into 14 languages. The New York Times Book Review called the Marshal Guarnaccia series “elegant” and the Sunday Times (London) deemed them “crime fiction at its best.” She recently finished the manuscript of Guarnaccia’s newest case “Vita Nuova,” which Soho Press will publish in June 2008. Soho will also be releasing “Death of a Dutchman” this November. In addition, eight other titles are currently available.
Magdalen Nabb also published thirteen books for children and young adults, including “The Enchanted Horse,” which won the British Smarties Book Prize in 1993.