Author Archive

Round Down: When Books Are As Essential As Bread And Water

Author: | Categories: Reading, Round-Up No comments
Whenever I drive to my real local library or the Barnes & Noble near my house, I’m always disappointed I can find a parking space so easily. Trust me, I love convenience. But where is everyone? What are they doing that’s more fun than browsing the shelves? Every man

Round-Down: The High Sales vs. High Quality Debate

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Round-Up No comments
One of my truly terrible habits is a reflexive desire to pour salt on a wound. Tell me your troubles, and I’m likely to say, “Oh, this is so much worse than you think.” For example, many editors and agents have said to me over the years, “I loved

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Publishing Isn’t Dead

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Round-Up No comments
There’s an old joke in publishing about consultants, though it’s probably rooted in truth. A new executive hires a prestigious firm to spend months on an expensive deep dive, and they come back, excited, with one key insight: “You should publish more bestsellers, and fewer books that aren’t bestsellers.”

The Ploughshares Round-Down: The Ebook is Dead. Long Live the Ebook.

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Round-Up No comments
One of the best parts of being a book editor is that it gives you a magic power. You take a Microsoft Word file, wave your hand over it and say, “Now it’s a book.” And it’s a book. Up until that moment, it’s just words and ideas, and

The Ploughshares Round Down: Short Stories as a Path to Literary Success

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about the submissions in my slush pile. When one comes in, the first thing I do–before I have even read the first sentence of the letter–is skim it for the name of a publication I recognize. If I don’t

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why Lena Dunham’s New Book is Worth $3.5 Million

When I talk to a new potential client, one of the things we go over is potential advances. Most nonfiction writers get between $25,000 and $75,000; fiction writers, a fraction of that. Everyone who gets more than that did something remarkable to get there. During this conversation, many writers have

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Never Tell Me the Demographics

Author: | Categories: Round-Up, Uncategorized No comments
I’ll read anything if it’s great. A romance novel, or a soldier’s tale; a book about Zsa Zsa Gabor, or one about Obama. I know what kinds of books dorky, urban-literary type of guys are supposed to be reading–those by Jonathan Safran Foer, and things titled Introduction to Banjo–but I hate

The Ploughshares Round-Down: What NYC Publishing REALLY Thinks About Self-Publishing

Author: | Categories: Round-Up 1 Comment
Last week, I had an author ask me the earliest his publisher could have his book out. I told him January 2016. Even if he turned it in this week. “And, they wonder why big publishers are dying,” he said. He wondered aloud if he should crowdfund a shorter

The Ploughshares Round Down: 10 Times in Life When Writers Have the Upper Hand

Author: | Categories: Round-Up, Writing 2 Comments
I’ve interviewed a lot of entry level job candidates. I’ve had plenty of recent college graduates sent to a conference room to meet me with a strong thumbs-up from Human Resources. Bright, well-dressed, great resumes, and eager. This impresses the HR types. However, when I’d ask questions, especially follow-up

The Ploughshares Round-Down: No, Books Aren’t a Lost Cause

Author: | Categories: Round-Up No comments
Have you ever shown up at a party only to find out the keg’s already been emptied? I meet a lot of writers who feel like that’s what happened to books. They’ve chosen to write a book at a time when that’s as old fashioned as typing it up