Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Ever Happened To...

I wonder if Rosemary Ahern knows about the new Brad Gooch biography of Flannery O'Connor? It looks good.  I don't think she has a full-time gig in publishing any more. If I had her address I'd send it to her in the mail. 

Even the Symbol is Dumb

All I've got to say to The (&) is this: #%$^&*!   Seriously, "Dear Person: It's not you. It's us." If this is what you came up with for a good rejection, then yes, by all means, please do move along.  (?!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

PW has published this depressing list of editors who have been laid off.  Really it is meant to publicize their current contact information, but it comes across as a bit more sad than that.  I can't tell if it's a nice resource or an insensitive gaff (via GalleyCat). 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Will You Still Pub Me When I'm 64?

Psychologist and author Ira Rosofsky, who also blogs for Psychology Today, posted a juicy article entitled, "I'm a Late Bloomer Too: My Unlikely Path to Publication."  Dude's first book comes out next month, so take that, you ageist publishing industry!  Turns out Ira is sometime mouse on this blog so we'll see if we can get a profile of his new book for a "Victory Over Rejection" feature.  New book is delightfully entitled Nasty, Brutish and Long: Adventures in Old Age and the World of Eldercare (Avery/Penguin, March, 2009)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mass Rejection

This one is pretty and blue with a little inked "sorry" on the bottom.  Nice touch.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's Practically A Barry Manilow Song

The snow in New England is finally melting, which may change everything: the landscape, the economy, maybe even the current editorial needs. Chew on this rejection over the weekend.  And have a nice one while you're at it.  (Who can name that tune?)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The New Book BenchMark

Even though our book club tanked after Darin Strauss's novel, it is not a dead art form. Like, it's totally cool if you're The New Yorker.  Maybe we needed more clever headlines ("We Read to Know We are not Alone") or cute taglines: "Adventures in communal reading."  Ah, well, mice, it will not be the only time I fail you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Are You Doing in 2011?

According to GalleyCat, Allan Kornblum predicts that the publishing recession will begin to improve in 2011. Here specifically is the prediction: "We are anticipating an immediate 10% - 20% drop in individual donations in 2009, and a subsequent, comparable drop in grants in 2010 and 2011. We believe the economy will start coming back in 2011, and grants and donations will start to improve in 2012."   Kornblum is the publisher of the not-for-profit Coffee House Press, which has had two recent hits: Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang and Patricia's Smith Blood Dazzler.  There's an interesting interview at Conversational Reading called "How to Publish in a Recession."

Glad someone is doing well.  Has anyone ever received a rejection from Coffee House?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We Call Your Writing Work

Minnesota Review, second-tier journal, no capital letters in the logo, pitch for a two-year subscription: still rejected.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President's Day

It's kind of surprising that not all of the U.S. presidents have books published under their names.  Here's the list of those who do in celebration of the holiday: 
  1. George Washington's Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation (Little Books of Wisdom) by George Washington
  2. Thomas Jefferson: Writings: Autobiography/Notes on the State of Virginia/public and private Papers/Addresses/Letters (Library of America) by Thomas Jefferson  (Catchy title!)
  3. James Madison: Writings 1772-1836 by James Madison
  4. Political Writings of James Monroe (Conservative Leadership Series) by James Monroe
  5. Letters on Freemasonry by John Quincy Adams
  6. Mid-American Frontier: Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison 1800-1811 by William Henry Harrison
  7. State of The Union Address of Millard Fillmore by Millard Fillmore
  8. Calculus of Consent (Collected Works of James M Buchanan) by James Buchanan
  9. Lincoln: Speeches and Writings: 1859-1865 (Library of America) by Abraham Lincoln
  10. Personal Memoirs: Ulysses S. Grant (Modern Library War) by Ulysses S. Grant
  11. Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography (Da Capo Paperback) by Theodore Roosevelt
  12. The Rough Riders (Modern Library War) by Theodore Roosevelt
  13. The Collected Works of William Howard Taft: The President and His Power and The United States and Peace (Collected Works of W H Taft) by William Howard Taft
  14. The Quotable Calvin Coolidge: Sensible Words for a New Century by Calvin Coolidge
  15. Memoirs of Harry S. Truman: 1945 Year of Decisions by Harry S Truman
  16. Crusade in Europe by Dwight David Eisenhower
  17. Why England Slept by John F. Kennedy
  18. Profiles in Courage by John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  19. The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969 by Lyndon B. Johnson
  20. RN: The Memoirs of RIchard Nixon by Richard Nixon
  21. A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford by Gerald R. Ford
  22. An Hour Before Daylight: Memoir of a Rural Boyhood by Jimmy Carter
  23. An American Life by Ronald Reagan
  24. All The Best, George Bush: My life and Other Writings by George Bush
  25. My Life by Bill Clinton
  26. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
  27. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama
  28. Change We Can Believe in: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise by Barack Obama
  29. Barack Obama in His Own Words by Barack Obama
p.s. Sorry I didn't post a broken rejected heart this year for Valentine's Day...guess I'm just not feeling very broken hearted at the moment.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Binky, Binky, Binky

Oh, that New York Observer, always on the cutting edge.  This time with an article entitled "Is There Any Glamour Left in Publishing?"  Short answer: no.  Long answer: Please, please, please do not let us have to relive our hideous publishing experiences through memoirs and novels written by those people. Seriously: please.

Here's an excerpt: ICM agent Binky Urban does not believe it would be possible to write much of a novel about modern book publishing. “What is there to say?” she said by phone Monday. “It’s such an internal, sort of cerebral job. ‘And then I edited …’? I don’t quite get how that would work, to tell the truth.” According to Ms. Urban, there might be a few people in the business (she suggested former head of Knopf Bob Gottlieb and Grove publisher Morgan Entrekin—hint, hint) who could write pretty good memoirs in the tradition of longtime Simon & Schuster editor in chief Michael Korda’s beloved Another Life. But in general, she said confidently, the world at large is not so curious about the book business these days. And those books that take it as their main subject—whether they’re novels or memoirs or works of history—never really do that well with readers, even if they do tend to catch the attention of the publishing community. “They’re fascinating to all of us because we’re all narcissistic,” Ms. Urban said.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Are Not Diane Keaton

Remember when publishing was all about the bidding wars? Ah, those were the pre-memoir-crazy days when money abounded and agents who went out on drug binges didn't get 6 figures to get sober and write about it.

Well, not so fast, buster! 

HarperCollins (recently sans Collins), Ecco, and Little Brown found themselves the losers of a bidding war to Random House, who scored Diane Keaton's memoir for a cold $2 mill.  

The book was agented by Bill Clegg of William Morris Agency.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Is Harper Minus Collins?

You may ask yourself what good HarperCollins (HC) will be now that layoffs indicate it can no longer afford Collins.  Also on the wires, HC (minus C) is shutting down Bowen Press, a newish imprint. (News via GalleyCat.) I guess HC (minus C) is on the cutting edge.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spoil This!

Someone called Spoiler Alert recently commented as follows: "everyday, barring weekends, it's going to be an image of a polite form rejection from a paying 1st or 2nd tier lit rag, some whiney woe-is-me comment from wr, followed by a barrage of semi-germane rants, conspiracy theories (actually my fave) and John comments. i thought reruns didn't start until the summer. post something new and newsworthy, or quit posting wr. better yet, why don't you delete the blog and work on another book."
Oh, how often the same old bloggers come around with their stale advice to shut down this blog  and get writing a new novel!  (And what of my writing several hours a day and then writing for pay the rest of the day? Is it not enough?  Am I not enough?)  Anyhoo, let us not ask who these trolls are, and why they eschew the proper use of capital letters.  Let us instead sing a new song to the Spoiler, a song of rejection, which I have resisted for, lo, these many years. It's called "Eat me."  Perhaps you know it? If so, please join in with the LROD chorus.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Little Rejection on the Prairie

Speaking of A-list, here's one:  "We thank you for submitting your manuscript for our consideration.  We regret that we are unable to accept it for publication.  Also, we are way out of your league." The decoration at the bottom of the note is 27 dagger points on which you may fall.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Whatever Happened To...

So what is up with the Paris Review?  
Last I heard there was a new hot editor (Philip Gourevitch), who was going to shake things up. To quote his vision: PR could be “reinvigorated and slightly reconceived for a new century.”  Of course, even in the brave, new, reinvigorated world, someone over there rejected me with a handwritten note (for some reason, I don't have it posted, so will try to locate it). 

Maybe I'm out of the loop, but I can't quite get a handle on whether or not reinvigoration has occurred.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...of Rejection

You think I'm a sick puppy for posting all my rejections on this blog?  Check out this dude, Stephen Hines.  He sleeps in a bedroom with a huge wall of rejection posted above his fragile sleeping head.  Also, when you move our cursor across his blog, little cartoon flames shoot up all over the place.  Man, I think I'm in love.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

50.2% of You Are Reading Literature

What?!  People! This is news! The New York Times reports that the National Endowment of the Arts has found that reading is up? (Not quite to the level it was at in the literary 80s, but still....up.) This report is from mid-January.  Maybe it's the effect of the recession we're in?  Who knows, but let's hope it keeps creeping on up there.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"We're All Hacks," says Young Writer

Here's an anonymous email from today's mail bag:

"After six years of continuous writing, continuous submissions, continuous rejection, I’ve had nine short stories published. Some in journals no one’s heard of. Well, most. I just had a story published in West Branch. A journal you can find in a bookstore. A journal with a barcode. And then I had a story nominated for the Pushcart. I’m twenty-three, and I know you’ve never heard of me. I didn’t have a problem until I went snooping around your site more. And I read Ted Genoways’ contribution, the links to stories by young writers.

Now I have a problem.

Being a young writer doesn’t grant you a god-damned thing. Does it get you more attention because your peers aren’t as introspective? Because you devote yourself to something? Do I deserve an actual response as opposed to an automated rejection email from VQR? We all do. What bullshit am I supposed to be swallowing here? That somehow being younger gives me an advantage? That the editors of VQR are plucking up young talent and perching them on the thin limb of success?

I still live at home. I don’t have a job. I have a novel that I can’t edit because I can’t stand to read it. Because it reminds me of the four other novels I’ve written. Because no one wants to read them. Getting noticed for writing doesn’t change anything. No one’s sitting in an ideal world where all their problems have dissolved because they became successful writers. Faulkner was constantly in financial distress. He drank himself to death because he was a miserable man, mostly for not making enough money as a writer. And this was after he won the Nobel prize.

Recognition doesn’t give you confidence. When you sit in front of a blank page, you’re just as miserable as everyone else who likes words. No one really knows how to tell a story. That’s why we keep trying. It’s why everyone is rejected. No one knows how to tell a story and no one knows how to read. So when a clueless writer and a clueless editor cross paths, magic happens and a story gets published, and everyone else laments and resents and calls them both hacks. We’re all hacks. The secret to writing is knowing how to exploit it. That’s what publishing is. Shame on you if you think it’s a deep, spiritual endeavor. Stories move audiences. Not writers. Not editors. We’re immune.

Today was not a good day to think about writing."

How about we show our true good natures and give this anonynewbie some encouragement?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Damn, There Are Nuns in My Novel!

The first big novel deal of 2009 is a high six-figure monster called Angeology, according to GalleyCat. New York Observer reports that the author is Danielle Trussoni, who wrote the memoir Falling Through The Earth.  The novel reportedly "follows a young nun in upstate New York who, in uncovering a correspondence between the former mother superior and Abigail Rockefeller, unwittingly reignites an ancient war between a society of angelologists (a group that studies angels) and the Nephilim (the monsterlike descendants of angels and humans)."
The agent was Eric Simonoff, the bidding war was heated, the author has an MFA from Iowa.  Same-same?  Pretty much!