Category Archives: Publishing

Twentysomethings to take over the world!

News brief: Amelia Lester, 26, was named the new managing editor of The New Yorker. As the news broke, reporters could hear the collective sound of thirtysomethings around the world choking on their coffee and cigarettes. Meanwhile, Forbes noted a spike in the number of resumes submitted by 21-year-olds for managerial positions at Goldman Sachs, Google and the White House.

Congratulations to Lester, a Harvard grad and former fact-checker for The New Yorker. You inspire the rest of us to get our shit together.

Saving trees, one screenwriter at a time

Networking sites for writers seem to be all the rage this year. First there was Pitchtopia, a site designed to bring writers, editors and agents together in a forum for shopping stories. Now there’s Greenwriter.org, a site bringing screenwriters, agents and producers together in the same fashion. This latest conduit for starving artists also incorporates an environmental angle into its mission:

“Screenwriters in America print 180 million sheets of paper a year. In six months, we hope to cut that in half.”

Sounds good to me. Saves on stamps, too. But writers should make sure to copyright their work before submitting it — Greenwriter can’t protect against story theft. Go to www.copyright.gov to register your work (note: basic claims cost from $35).

That’s your public service announcement for the day.

Top 10 books of the “season”

Trade publication Publishers Weekly recently released its top 10 debut novels of the season (what season? Summer? Baseball? Debutante?). Many have late 2009/early 2010 release dates, so keep an eye out for them for future book-club planning. Mom, this means you. Also, in an effort not to infringe on any copyrights (and to add some spice to my day), I’m only giving 6-word descriptions of each book.

1. A Glass of Water, by Jimmy Santiago Baca (Grove Press, Oct.). Undocumented Mexican immigrants struggle in US.

2. Blacklands, by Belinda Bauer (S & S, Jan.). Boy + serial killer = pen pals = dangerous.

3. Moonlight in Odessa, by Janet Skeslien Charles (Bloomsbury, Sept.). All about Russian e-mail-order brides.

4. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, by Heidi Durrow (Algonquin, Feb.). Am I black or white?

5. Union Atlantic, by Adam Haslett (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, Jan.). Four faces give depth to financial world.

6. The Calligrapher’s Daughter, by Eugenia Kim (Henry Holt, Sept.). Young woman in Japanese-occupied Korea.

7. Mathilda Savitch, by Victor Lodato (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sept.). Teen girl unravels beloved sister’s death.

8. Rizzo’s War, by Lou Manfredo (Minotaur Books, Oct.). Old cop, new cop, dirty tricks.

9. The Ghosts of Belfast, by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime, Oct.). Former IRA hitman haunted by past.

10. The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, by Gina Ochsner (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Feb.). Bridget Jones in post-Soviet Russia?

(This is a stretch.)

Fun fact: Average age of debut author (out of 8 authors — two ages not given): 49.

The team at Amazon also named their favorite books of the “season,” aka new releases from January-July 2009. Check out their picks here.

Pitchtopia: where writers might actually have a shot

We’re in an age when publishing has been democratized — citizen journalists and iReporters ask celebrities questions for online news sources, and anyone can self-publish a book. Just go to Amazon.com and read about their manufacturing-on-demand models. If you have something to say, you can say it! But that doesn’t mean people necessarily want to hear it.

The best new site I’ve seen to balance quality assurance with the American Dream zeal is Pitchtopia.org. This forum plans to bring writers, agents and editors together to network. Meanwhile, a Pitchtopia team will cull the ideas received and pitch the best to the editors/agents. The site’s still in the works — it launched in beta form this month, with a full launch slated for September. They’re also currently hiring to fill that Pitchtopia team (check mediabistro.com for — gasp — job openings!).

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What I like about this site is its earnest hopefulness — Pitchtopia’s revenue is purely ad-based. They don’t get a cut if there’s an editor/writer connection, and they even use online tutorials that explain the basics of pitching book or magazine ideas. I like to imagine a group of retired professors, editors and Jewish mothers sitting around drinking tea, reading our stories and making literary love connections. Hell, I even want to try it. I already signed up!

For people who don’t know someone in the business but think they have a good story to tell, this is their site. I hope it continues to blossom this summer. For now, I give it a thumbs-up. thumbsup