Friday, April 22, 2005

The Inside Skinny on the Book Business

Another one of my secret addictions is to the website Publisher’s Marketplace. It’s put out by Michael Cader, whom I think is a former publishing company executive, and it is an indispensable compilation of book deals around the world.

The website and daily e-mail digest have become must reads for agents, publishers, editors, authors, and those hankering for a book deal. You can go to the site numerous times a day and see who sold what, who paid what, and who has had the same book idea as you.

I’ve been subscribing to Publisher’s Marketplace for the last 3 years, ever since I decided to write a book. By reading about various deals, as well as Cader’s daily digest of book news, I’ve learned a lot about the publishing industry. The site has a searchable data base, so if you’re looking for an agent, you can see who he or she represents and what kinds of books that person has sold. You can figure out which publishing houses put out a lot of women’s literature or how-to books. As my agent circulated my book proposal, I looked at which kind of books interested those editors.

Today set a record. When I went onto the website there was a note that there were 47 NEW DEALS since I last visited. 47! In less than 24 hours. (As I said, I’m kind of addicted to this site and I check it a lot) What is going on here? The weather’s been good in New York the past few weeks, so maybe spring fever has put everyone in the book business in such a good mood they’re buying and selling like crazy.

Here is just a taste of what was revealed today:

"Jack Kerouac's BEAT GENERATION, an unpublished, unproduced play that was written in 1957 (the same year On the Road was released) butunknown until last year, when Sterling Lord found it while sorting through Kerouac's old files, with an introduction by A.M. Homes, to John Oakes at Thunder's Mouth, by Sterling Lord at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA). Canadian rights to Harper Canada."

"Yale grad Diana Peterfreund's CONFESSIONS OF A (SECRET) SOCIETY GIRL, following the irreverent and intrigue-filled adventures of an average college student who just happens to be a member of one of the most notorious secret societies in the world, to Kerri Buckley at Bantam Dell, in a significant deal, at auction, by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency (NA). Film rights are with Matthew Snyder at CAA."

"Star of Subway TV commercials and spokesperson for the American Heart Association, Jared Fogle's JARED, THE SUBWAY GUY, using his unusual but effective weight loss plan -- a diet of nothing but Subway sandwiches, on which he lost 245 pounds -- to provide inspiration and advice to others fighting obesity, to Elizabeth Beier at St. Martin's, in a nice deal, by Al Zuckerman at Writers House ."

And how could I fail to share this:

"Salon columnist and author of the forthcoming LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS Ayelet Waldman's WINTER'S END, a novel about contemporary motherhood, marriage, and women's lives, in which a woman struggles with what appears to be the perfect life...a successful husband and a bevy of healthy and happy children, but her inner dissatisfactions take on new vitality when she meets a recently widowed artist and her entire world turns upside down, to Phyllis Grann at Doubleday, by Mary Evans at Mary Evans (NA)."

The website charges a fee, $15 a month, but Cader puts out a weekly list of deals for free. Check into it here.

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