Friday, March 7, 2008

Client Updates

I'm delighted to announce that WASHINGTON IRVING by Brian Jones will be featured in The New York Times City section this Sunday, March 9th.

Here is the new cover art for David Oppegaard's THE SUICIDE COLLECTORS (December 2008). Pretty cool, right?

Finally, we got a great blurb in for Ed Wright's DAMNATION FALLS (August, 2008) from Ken Bruen, author of The Guards, The Dramatist, and Priest.

“Damnation Falls will garner a second Shamus Award for Edward Wright. Imagine if Pete Dexter, the best writer on journalism, got together with Joe Lansdale to write the ultimate P.I. novel and an exposition of the New South, you'd have...Damnation Falls. Never was a novel so aptly titled or beautifully and heartbreakingly rendered.”

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Last Post on this Stuff

I'm burned out talking about Love and Consequences, so this will be my last post on the matter unless additional news breaks.

First, has anyone noticed how inconsistent the newspaper coverage has been? You would think that on an issue like this they would make sure they fact-checked themselves, but I've caught quite a few misstatements and misrepresentations in their articles about the publishing industry.

Next, I have to admit that there is a good chance that Jones would have hoodwinked me as well. I've met the agent in question a few times, but I know her more by reputation, and she is by all accounts considered a very good and ethical agent. This is actually not an easy thing - I'm sure you could find a few people who would have a bad word or two to say about me.

Anyway, if one of my clients referred a writer to me, and that writer sent me their project and provided letters and photographs to support their story, and then introduced me to actual people who claimed to be the writer's foster siblings, I could imagine myself believing the story and not digging further.

Finally, a number of people have asked about the whole fiction v. memoir angle. Rachel Donadio addresses this rather well here, even if her article title was taken from me (j/k).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Vampire Month

It's vampire month over at Jaye Well's blog. Check it out!

More on Truthiness

Here's a link to a article (thanks Benwah) from the NY Sun explaining why publishers don't fact check more. As I tried to point out yesterday, if publishers fact check every line, it means either book prices will have to go up significantly or less books will be published, and I'm sure all of you aspiring writers out there don't want that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Truthiness of Memoirs

Another day, another faux memoir. In Love and Consequences, Margaret Seltzer (writing as Margaret Jones) describes her life growing up half-white, half-Native American foster child in gang-infested South Central Los Angeles, running drugs for the Bloods. Too bad none of that is true.

What's a little eery is that the book was released by Riverhead, who published James Frey's second book, My Friend Leonard, and they employ the editor who originally bought A Million Little Pieces. So the next question is... how can this keep happening again and again?

First, let me point out the obvious - people have been exaggerating and fictionalizing true events and personal histories since the beginning of the written word. The only difference is that there are now tools available today to research and verify what was previously taken at face value as true.

So why doesn't the agent or publisher? Well, in the agent's case, we simply don't have the time and resources to check every detail of every book we represent. As I'm sure you've gathered by now from reading my blog, an agent's duties are varied and plentiful, and investigative journalist is just not in the job description.

So what about the editor and publisher? Well, the editor certainly doesn't have the time either to investigate fully each and every nonfiction title they edit. In fact, doing this would have to be a full time job - which is why it's journalists who are breaking the news.

So it appears to me that the only other option available is for the publisher to hire in-house or freelance investigators. Ignoring for now how this changes completely the philosophical and emotional relationship between author and publisher, it would cause havoc on the financial template of publishing, a template that already suffers.

As a result, it seems to me that the problem needs to be fixed on the writer end of things - i.e. stop lying and start calling your memoir a novel.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Important Query Announcement

Starting March 31st, I will only accept and respond to queries via my agency submission form. I will not respond to queries emailed directly to me. In addition, I will not respond to queries sent by mail or by messenger, regardless of whether you include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

If for some reason you cannot access the internet and/or my website then you may mail your query, but I will not respond unless the project interests me. But if this means you, then how are you reading my blog? And for that matter, if a tree falls down in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Is deja vu for real? What happened to Amelia Earhart? What doesn't bacon taste good with?

Ugh, too much philosophy for a Monday morning.