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HarperCollins’s William Morrow imprint has plans to introduce a new line of nonfiction and literary fiction. The new line doesn’t yet have a name, but it does have a vision.
Titles published will “seek to investigate, inform, entertain, and inspire conversation,” wrote Liate Stehlik, SVP, Publisher at HarperCollins, in a memo.
Geoff Shandler has joined William Morrow as VP, Editorial Director to run the nonfiction side of this new list. Shandler comes to Morrow from Little, Brown & Company, where he served as Editor in Chief and Editorial Director of the Adult Trade division.
As a children’s author, editor and writing coach, I spend a lot of time talking about writing and/or publishing books for children and young adults. I feel so blessed to do the work I do, and to belong to such a warm, supportive and buoyant community of fellow readers, writers and children’s book lovers.
So I thought I’d start this New Year off a little differently. I want to begin 2015 by listening… reallylistening, in order to help me best serve those who share the dream of writing or publishing a children’s book or young adult novel in the year ahead. Will you help me? Please tell me…
What’s your #1 question about writing and/or publishing books for children or young adults?
What holds you back? What do you feel like you don’t know, or need to do or have in order to fulfill that dream?
To answer, simply click on the link below and write your response in the box provided:
Self-published—and to an extent, traditional—writers who owe much of their reading audience to Amazon’s publishing platform are upset with the retailer’s new Kindle Unlimited program, notes the New York Times’ David Streitfeld.
The KU subscription service offers 700,000 self- and traditionally published books for $9.99 per month. While this new model may continue to draw readers, writers are earning less. Successful romance author Holly Ward, writing as H.M. Ward, saw her income drop 75% after two months in the program. She wrote on the site kboards under the topic “KU Crushed My Sales,” “I couldn’t wait and watch things plummet further,” and left the program.
Streitfeld writes, “Amazon, though, may be willing to forgo some income in the short term to create a service that draws readers in and encourages them to buy other items. The books, in that sense, are loss leaders, although the writers take the loss, not Amazon.”
Authors’ responses have included calls to unionize. As the Times points out, “since the payment is the same whether the book is long or short, other writers are taking the hint,” and adapting by writing in shorter forms, with serial novels and short stories, and publishing more frequently.
E-Book consultant and publisher Bob Mayer split his book on failures of technology and leadership into seven different Kindle Unlimited volumes. Ward’s first novel was 500 pages; some of her recent works average 100 pages. Volume 17 in her “The Arrangement” series pubbed in early November; she brought out “Life Before Damaged Vol. 1” at November’s end, following it with “Life Before Damaged Vol. 2” two week later.
“I’ve started working with four co-authors,” Ward told the New York Times. “If you’re not constantly putting out new material, people forget you’re there.”
As the editor at Editorial Sudamericana, a publishing house in Buenos Aires, Porrúa discovered Gabriel García Márquez’s classic novel, 100 Years of Solitude.
The Buenos Aires Herald has more: “Apart from his undeniable gift as a translator and his keen eye for extraordinary, even if unknown or too daring, literary gems, Porrúa will forever be remembered as the man who, running contrary to the opinion of other editors and publishers who easily dismissed it as far too imaginative, devoured and became fascinated with García Márquez’s unpublished manuscript. Such was the fascination that Porrúa wrote him an advance payment cheque of US$500, which in 1967 was a small fortune for the impoverished writer and his wife, both living in Mexico at the time.”
I’ve had a writer ask me recently why he hasn’t found a lot of information on breaking into the market as an illustrator first, then trying to be an author/illustrator for his own projects. My first reaction is that this is a much tougher proposition than going in with an author/illustrator dummy. And I may be biased, since I worked primarily with author/illustrators as an agent. And it’s not helpful to those people who are illustrators, through and through, without really having an interest in writing.
So for the purposes of this answer, I’m talking to those people who possess some illustration skill and who are thinking that maybe they’ll pay the mortgage illustrating picture books while they put together their own author/illustrator dummies.
The basic rub with breaking in as an illustrator is that a lot of houses have hordes of illustrators that they already work with. So when a manuscript that needs an illustrator comes in (text only), an editor goes through the following thought process:
1) Did we pay enough for this manuscript and is it a big enough idea to give to one of our “famous” stable authors? We need to keep them happy with projects. If not…
2) Are there any other house illustrators that would be a good fit? Let me ask my colleagues about their stables, too. We want to keep these guys at our house. If not…
3) Here’s a stack of postcards for illustrators that I’ve been dying to work with but haven’t found a project for. Might this work for one of them? If not…
4) Maybe I’ll poke through the submission pile for any new postcards that have come in. Maybe there’s someone in there.
At this point, you’d be starting at the fourth (outermost) layer of consideration. Sure, you can definitely catch an editor’s attention, but her mind is gong to be in a million other places when considering an illustrator. It’s a very tough road. There are a few agencies that deal mostly with illustration, like KidShannon, but even they would prefer to launch you in front of editors with an author/illustrator full book project.
It’s a lot of work to get in front of editors as an illustrator, you need a strategy to get your work in front of editors (mailing or Internet-based? etc.), and the financial reward for an agent is very low compared to if they tried to sell your dummy. Not a lot of people are interested in going this route to start, unless you are committed to being an illustrator only and have no real interest in creating your own dummies. (In the list above, coming in with a dummy puts you even ahead of the text-only manuscript in the editor’s eyes.)
It’s also assuming that you can compete with the hundreds or thousands of MFA-level trained illustrators who are out there looking for projects. These are visual artists in the field of illustration who have oftentimes done years and years of study in just illustration. Illustration is highly competitive, it isn’t the easy secret backdoor to publishing that some might imagine in to be.
At least for your first project, focus on your strength. If that’s illustration, great, put together a portfolio. If it’s writing, put together some manuscripts. If you’re handy at both, put together a dummy. But all routes are quite difficult, and there’s no real shortcut, unfortunately.
Lennon & Maisy, the 15 and 11 year-old sisters that star on the ABC drama series Nashville have signed a book deal with HarperCollins Publishers.
The Canadian born performers are working on a picture book called In the Waves.
The Associated Press has more: “Based on their song of the same name, “In the Waves” tells of boogie boards and homemade lemonade and a few unexpected adventures. The illustrations will be by Steve Bjorkman. The book is scheduled to come out April 28.”
Chronicle Books has sent out its fifth annual holiday video. The holiday greeting was created by the publisher in-house. For this year’s video, they built the Little Free Library. It will be given away during National Library Week next year.
Former wrestler Jesse Ventura is suing publisher HarperCollins for defamation of character.
Ventura asserts that the memoir American Sniper by the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle contains a derogatory story about the former Minnesota Governor that Ventura claims never took place. He’s already won a lawsuit against Kyle’s estate.
The new lawsuit says the publicity and controversy “generated by the false and defamatory story about Ventura substantially increased sales of ‘American Sniper,’ thereby generating millions of dollars in revenues and profits for Harper Collins.”
“American Sniper” has been turned into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper with a limited release in theaters on Dec. 25. There has been no indication that the incident involving Ventura is included in the movie.
Melville House plans to publish The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture.
This book will contain the results of the Senate committee’s study of the detention and interrogation techniques utilized by the Central Intelligence Agency in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. A release date for both the paperback and eBook editions has been scheduled for December 30th.
Here’s more from the press release: “Five years in the making, the report was officially declassified in April, but its release was delayed until yesterday, when a heavily redacted version of the report was made public. Called by the New York Times ‘a portrait of depravity that is hard to comprehend and even harder to stomach,’ the report proved to be a harsh and broad indictment of the C.I.A.’s response to the September 11 terror attacks. In addition to detailing the scope and severity of interrogation techniques employed by the C.I.A, the report also found that the agency had repeatedly misled both the public and the White House.”
This year’s Visionary Award winners include: Todd Brekhus, President of Capstone Digital and Karen Cator, President and CEO of Digital Promise. Corinne Burton, President of Teacher Created Materials, won the Member of the Year award. Kathy Hurley, Executive Vice President of Education Alliances at the Pearson Foundation, took the Ambassador Award
AAP launched the On the Rise award category for the first time this year. Winners include: Tyler Bosmeny, the co-founder and CEO of Clever; Jocelyn Leavitt the CEO and co-founder of Hopscotch; and Christopher Rogers, the Media & Technology Specialist at Greene Street Friends School, as well as the Founder and Lead Director of JustMaybeCo.
Simon & Schuster has revealed the cover image for Brian Grazer’s new book A Curious Mind:The Secret to a Bigger Life. Artist Jeff Koons created the design for the Academy Award–winning producer’s book.
“When we began discussing a design for the jacket of my book, Jeff Koons was the first person I thought of,” said Grazer in a statement. “His pieces have always spoken to me – they are suffused with positivity. My curiosity conversation with him was one of the earliest and most memorable I’ve had, and I remember being especially struck by how generous and genuinely interested he was, in everything. Curiosity is a very natural thing for him – it is the foundation of his work, and his energy as a human being.”
The book, which was written in collaboration with business journalist Charles Fishman, features Grazer’s weekly “curiosity conversations” which have inspired his filmmaking.
Simon & Schuster is combining its digital department with its corporate marketing department in order to tap the full potential of its digital tools, the company reported today.
Liz Perl has promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, and will lead this newly formed group. At the same time Ellie Hirschhorn, the publisher’s current Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, is leaving the company.
Here is more from Carolyn Reidy’s letter to staffers:
Liz is perfectly suited to lead this integrated team. Newly reporting to Liz in this position will be Sue Fleming, Vice President, Executive Director of Content and Programming; Ken Judy, Vice President, Technology; David Krivda, Vice President, Product Development; Kevin Myers, Associate Manager, Production; and Adrian Norman, Vice President, Marketing and New Products.
This newly formed digital and marketing group will be prepared to run the publisher’s websites, as well as use digital marketing channels including social media, author videos, email and mobile marketing.
HarperCollins’ imprint dedicated to “books that change lives” HarperOne has launched a new line.
HarperElixir will publish books in the Body, Mind, Spirit category. The list’s first titles will debut in Fall 2015. The first release will be a new book by bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz. HarperOne SVP, Associate Publisher Claudia Boutote will run the new line. Libby Edelson has joined the staff as Senior Editor.
“Forming Elixir is an effort to zero in on a distinct category that has long been one of the cornerstones of our business. Body, Mind, Spirit books have been and continue to be a growing area in the U.S. and overseas, and we feel it is time to sharpen our focus,” explained Mark Tauber, SVP and Publisher of HarperOne, in a statement. “Claudia’s publishing experience and talent, as well as her personal passion for this category made her the natural choice to lead the line.”
Octopus Publishing Group, a division of the Hachette Book Group, has acquired Ilex Press, a publisher of illustrated international reference books, in a deal whose terms were not disclosed.
Mostly publishing art and photography titles, Ilex “exists to address the new creative needs which are constantly being unveiled by the fast moving pace of the modern media, digital technology and popular culture,” according to the publisher’s website.
As of this month, Ilex will become an imprint of Octopus Publishing Group. The acquisition includes backlist titles such as a number of bestsellers from international photographer and writer Michael Freeman. According to Octopus, Ilex titles will be distributed from the LBS warehouse at Littlehampton.
“We have long-admired the Ilex list for its quality and creativity,” stated Alison Goff, Chief Executive of Octopus. “The titles Ilex publish are essential reference for anyone working in the field of new media design and we look forward to working with the many talented authors and photographers on the list.”
Guess what? Those two things in my subject line are one and the same thing! We have a new episode of the Narrative Breakdown up, which also happens to be a recording of a panel I mentioned many moons ago: me, fellow editor and publisher Stacy Whitman, and our authors Eric Gansworth and Joseph Bruchac, respectively, discussing their books If I Ever Get Out of Here and Killer of Enemies, respectively. It was a really great, meaty, interesting conversation (IMO) about how Stacy and I came to edit these books, editor-author relationships in general, writing YA, privilege, and cross-cultural publishing. And now you can see a writeup of it from Publishers Weeklyat this link, and listen to the full recording here. Thanks for checking it out!
Many authors and agents have written about their experiences with “the call.” That moment when the working relationship truly begins and the author and agent have their first chance to truly get to know each other and figure out if they would make a good team. These stories are always fun to read because there is excitement on both ends. The author starts to feel one step closer to publishing their work and the agent gets a chance to share their love and ideas for the project.
As an editor who receives the 99% of my submissions through agents, I rarely have the opportunity to make a call and say “I want to publish your book!” Nowadays, that call goes to the agent, who then calls the author to say “Jordan wants to publish you book!”
That said, there are times when an editor will speak with an author prior to making an offer or before a deal is closed. I break them down into two kinds of calls.
The Editorial Audition Call: If a book has interest from multiple editors, many times an agent will set up calls between the author and all of the interested editors for the author to have an opportunity to get to know the editor and hear any editorial comments they have on the submission. As a former actor, this is the one moment in my editorial career when I still feel like I’m in the audition room. I’m putting myself out there and basically saying “Pick me! I love your book and here’s why!” I give the author a sense of my editorial process and let them know what I love about the book and how I think we can work together to make it even stronger. If they’ve been published before we’ll talk about how they work (Do they like outlining or are they a pantser? Do they like to get an edit letter, have a talk, and then disappear into edits or do they like to check-in while revising?). I also take the opportunity to get to know them and their contacts. If the author is a librarian with tons of contacts or a previously published author who has had great success with certain indies/conferences that information is always handy to me as I go to my team to discuss the offer. In the end, this phone call gives the author a chance to hear from everyone interested so that they know as much as they can before choosing which editor’s offer they’d like to accept.
The Revise & Resubmit Call: This call is pretty self-explanatory. There are times when I read a submission and think it is great, but after discussing with my editorial team we feel it needs a good deal of work before we can commit. When that happens, I typically call the agent and give them a quick run down of my editorial thoughts and say “If author X is interested in revising, please let me know and I can get on the phone and detail my thoughts.” Depending on where the book is at in the submission process with other editors, sometimes the agent says “Sure, let’s set up a time to talk ASAP” or they wait until they’ve heard back from more editors. When I do actually get a chance to talk to the author, the content of the call is actually very similar to the Editorial Audition Call. I’m still very passionate about the project and believe in it or I would have just passed in the first place. Many times the R&R calls are with debut authors and this step gives me a chance to see how they respond to critique and how they revise. It also lets me get a sense of how we would work together on the book. After the call, I’m always excited to see how the author does with the revision.
These editorial calls don’t happen with every book I offer on, but they are a helpful part of the acquisitions process on both sides of the table.
Jordan Hamessley London is an Editor at Egmont USA, where she edits middle grade and YA. Her current titles include Isla J. Bick’s new series, The Dark Passages (#1 White Space), Bree DeSpain’s new series Into the Dark (#1 The Shadow Prince), and more. Prior to Egmont, Jordan worked at Grosset and Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers where she edited Adam-Troy Castro’s middle grade horror series Gustav Gloom, Ben H. Winters and Adam F. Watkin’s book of horror poetry Literally Disturbed, Michelle Schusterman’s I Heart Band series, Adam F. Watkins’s alphabet picture book R is for Robot and more. When not editing, Jordan can be found on twitter talking about books, scary movies, and musical theater.
Running Press has formed a global partnership with HBO. According to the press release, the two companies plan to develop three Game of Thrones products.
The first project, a mini-book entitled Game of Thrones: In Memoriam, will feature “a photo and fact-filled memorial to some of the most memorable characters who have died during the course of the first four seasons. The book includes quotes and brief character profiles and is fully illustrated with series photography throughout.”
The two other projects will both be mini-kits; one will be called Game of Thrones: Stark Direwolf and the other has named Game of Thrones: Hand of the King Wax Seal. This publishing program is scheduled to launch in April 2015.
Last weekend, The Toronto Star carried an article called Can You Afford to be a Writer? The situation it describes for writers in Canada is similar to what you'll find here in the states. "... most writers are not likely to break $10,000 a year from their writing." Articles like this should be part of the reading for any writing program. Maybe they are.
A lot of your traditional literary journals don't pay their contributors or pay only in copies. Some very highly regarded writers publish in these things. These are the journals whose stories are often contenders for awards. Having published with them helps get the attention of agents and book editors.The Internet has made possible a multitude of new on-line journals, many of which don't pay contributors. While many of them are new and newish and don't build reputations the way some of the older print journals do, they could serve as stepping stones to more publication in the future. Yet writing for them doesn't add to anyone's income.
Walton says in her post that "The proliferation of people writing for free in recent decades (by self publishing fee-free content or contributing work to non-paying sites) has definitely made it harder for those who write for a living to get by." Does writing for free, she asks in a note to her essay, "degrade the market for professional writers?" She links to Tim Kreider's NYT's essay (which I hope he was paid for), Slaves of the Internet, Unite, in which he talks about being asked to work/write for nothing. He's not the first writer this has happened to.
I can recall hearing something similar years ago about writers making appearances in schools. If some writers do a lot of free work, it undermines the earning ability of the writers who need an income stream from schoolwork . Because, as the Toronto Star article pointed out, they probably aren't making enough from their writing to support themselves.
But, at the same time, free work, as in publishing with established lit journals, has been a traditional way for writers to get exposure so that some day they might be able to get paid. Plus, the whole marketing issue throws a big curve into the question of whether or not writers should give their work away, because we're giving away enormous amounts of work for guest blog posts, interviews, essays, etc. when we have a new book coming. It's part of promoting that new work. We're advised to do so by book marketers. Marketing, whether it's free work or some other kind, is expected by publishers.
To be transparent here, about an hour ago I submitted a 700+ word guest post to a blog. I've never received payment for any essay I've published. I've generated a lot of free material for guest posts and blog interviews while promoting the eBook edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff.The benefit to me of the promotional work is obvious, but even the essays fill a hole in my publishing history. I also hope they will serve as stepping stones to getting future essays published in paying publications at some point.
Free work can help individual unpublished or underpublished writers develop a following. At least it can help give the publishing industry the sense that these writers are a presence of some kind. But while individuals are giving away work hoping for some benefit for themselves, is the earning power of writers as a group suffering?
Last week I was tagged by the terrific illustrator and equally nice person, Alison Lyne, in the Meet My Character Blog Hop. Now that I'm IT let me tell you about big, white, fluffy ball of trouble. She's not the main character but she does make the story more interesting:
What is the name of your character?
Daisy. She's a rambunctious labradoodle that loves Grandpa, Little Brother and broccoli casserole.
When and where is the story set? In Grandma Mable's house, around a large, formal family dinner.
What should we know about the character? She loves broccoli casserole…. and doesn't like being kept away from the family excitement. Also her tail juuuusst skims the table….
What messes with her life? The gate behind which Grandma and Grandpa put her is a frustration. Fortunately an obliging child comes along to let her out…. so that she can get closer to the broccoli casserole
What is the personal goal of the character? Get more broccoli casserole. Also stand on hind legs and lick Grandpa.
Where can we read more about the character? Daisy appears with her entire family in The Little Kids Table written by Mary Ann McCabe Riehle, available Fall 2015 from Sleeping Bear Press!
Here's a couple of her illustrations in progress:
Next week I'll tag the lovely and talented Meridth Gimbel.
Meridth earned a BFA in illustration from BYU where she had the great good fortune to intern with Brad Holland and Brett Helquist. Currently an SCBWI member in Southern California Meridth loves anything art related, story infused, and chocolate covered.You can check out Meridth's portfolio here and her blog here.
I tell clients all the time that my job is to manage expectations. Part of working with a freelance editor is expecting to be pushed outside of your manuscript comfort zone a little bit. Most writers come to me with the thought, “I am excited by my idea but I know there are several things that aren’t working. I want to learn and grow and make it better.” Maybe that writer has gotten some early feedback from critique partners about things that need tweaking. Or they’ve already done an unsuccessful submission round with agents or editors and they didn’t get the response they expected. Or maybe their manuscript isn’t meeting their own internal expectations and they just don’t know what to do about it. Enter a second pair of eyes: an editor.
A small percentage of writers, however, and I’ve only had this experience twice in my editorial career, are so convinced of the merits of the manuscript that they’re not looking for an editor. They are looking, I’d imagine, to get on the radar of someone even tangentially connected to the industry, and get a booster to the top. Maybe they think I will recommend them personally to agents. Maybe they think I’ll start agenting again myself for the sake of scooping up a hot project. Or maybe they just want the gold star from someone who has made a career of saying, basically, “yes” or “no” to thousands of other writers.
I try very hard to generate constructive, actionable feedback. I’ve never sent a set of notes that says, “This sucks, it’s dead in the water, and you should probably stick with your day job.” One time, at a conference, I met with a writer who told me something shocking. “This,” she said, “is the first manuscript I’ve written in twenty-five years. I had a writing teacher in college tell me I was no good, and it hurt so much that I stopped writing altogether.”
This woman lost twenty-five years of her writing life. She clearly loved doing it, but because one voice (in a presumed position of authority) told her she wasn’t good enough, she gave up on her dream for a quarter of a decade (and almost all of her adult life up until that point). People perceive me as an authority, too. And so I have made it my goal to never wield that power in a way that hurts a writer.
Do I rave about every manuscript unequivocally, then? Absolutely not. Even excellent writers have some blind spots. So whether I’m helping a beginning writer cut fancy “said” synonyms out of their dialogue, or I’m helping an MFA-graduate with beautiful prose work on plot and overall sales hook, I try my best to do it with the dignity and respect that each writer and each manuscript deserves, for where they are in their individual journey.
All that said, I still run into writers who have expectations that perhaps outpace their current manuscripts. Whether those expectations are of the one-in-a-million runaway success, or their shot at being a multimedia mogul, perhaps even in the query letter, I see this happen with writers. They’ve created websites, maybe, or products, or they’ve already self-published. They have a lot to say about various awards they’ve won or endorsements they’ve gotten. There’s little talk about the manuscript, though, as if that was just an afterthought.
This sends a message to me that the writer isn’t as interested in rolling up their sleeves and working on the product itself. To me, everything but the manuscript is just noise. You can send me a t-shirt with your characters on it, or a list of testimonials from school appearances, and all that is fine and good. I’m a driven, type-A personality, too, and I have way more ideas than I have time to make them all a reality. I respect proactive people. But my only concern is the manuscript.
It’s what an agent or editor will respond to. It’s what will stand out among the noise if it’s, indeed, worthwhile. I saw excitement bubbling over for a perfectly lovely client last week, and I wrote to them: “The only way to get someone excited about your work is by presenting good work, and letting it speak for itself.” It’s easy to say but very hard to do. It’s also at the very core of what I do as an editor. Every writer has a different personality, and some are more eager than others. That’s okay. My job, however, is to help put the crucial piece of that manuscript into place, and help writers create good work so that they can then present it. It’s as simple and as difficult as that, but, man, do I love my job.
Its creators call it Click Lit and you can see the appeal. In the new rom-com Find Me I’m Yours from RosettaBooks, 24-year-old Mags works for an online bridal magazine and has just discovered her lug of a boyfriend is cheating on her. Into her life drops a mysterious hunk, aka Mr. WTF, looking for love and leaving clues all over LA. “Find me … I’m yours,” he breathes.
CNN has called Find Me I’m Yours “the book of the future,” and Today.com said, “A new way to read… [Find Me I'm Yours] is not merely a book — its characters inhabit an entire universe that includes nearly three dozen standalone websites, online video series, real-world magazines and more.”
You get to help Mags search for her hunkalicious soul mate via links to several interactive custom-designed narrative platforms that augment the storyline and invite readers to post their own images, art, videos, and stories. These incorporate 33 websites (including a functioning site for Mags’ employer Bridalville and Freak4MyPet.com, where her ex is posting pix of Mags’ dogs and you can pop in your pooch, too), Instagram accounts, ten videos of Mr. WTF’s clues, and more.
Created, written, and designed by award-winning author and digital innovator Hillary Carlip, and co-created, directed, and produced by Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated TV comedy triple-hyphenate Maxine Lapiduss, Find Me I’m Yours was designed to be a page-turner novel, multimedia click fest, and as noted by Alexandra Alter in the New York Times, “a vehicle for content sponsored by companies.”
It’s not Vespa or Red Bull, two brands mentioned in Find Me I’m Yours, but the makers of Sweet’N Low, Cumberland Packing Corp, that jumped in first. Steven Eisenstadt, chief executive of Cumberland, told the Times he was excited about his company’s products being part of the story, rather than delivering the message through an outright ad.
Alter writes, “If it succeeds, it could usher in a new business model for publishers, one that blurs the lines between art and commerce in ways that are routine in TV shows and movies but rare in books.”
“The love of my life and the father of my son came to America to marry me. It was supposed to be the first happy day of a new life of joy for us all. But before we could make our new family, he died a terrible death in a quarantined room… I am writing this book to tell people about Eric, about our love story, about our family, and about my faith that has been tested but not broken.”
These are the words of Louise Troh, whose fiancé Thomas Eric Duncan became the first man on American soil to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus, and then, the first to die of the disease in America. She will tell her story for the first time in a book to be published in April 2015 by Weinstein Books, which is a joint venture of The Weinstein Company and The Perseus Books Group.
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, said, “This is a heartbreaking, emotional family story. Spanning continents and decades, Louise shows faith and grace through it all.”
According to AP, Troh says she will use part of the book proceeds for a down payment on a new home.
The first book written for adults that I ever coveted and loved and read to pieces was a short story collection: Stephen King's Night Shift, from which my cousin read me stories when we were both probably much too young, and which was one of the first books I ever bought myself. Ever since then, short story collections have seemed to me the most wonderful of all books.
I started publishing short stories professionally with "Getting a Date for Amelia" back in 2001. I barely remember the kid who wrote it (in the summer of 2000). I'm not a prolific fiction writer; I've been lucky enough to publish most of the stories I've written in the last decade or so, but I average only two stories a year. Fiction is the hardest thing in the world for me to write. Some stories have taken many years to find a final form. The kid who wrote "Getting a Date for Amelia" also managed to write a novel; it was mostly terrible (or, rather, not terrible, which might be interesting. Just nothing at all special. Rather boring, in fact. An extraordinarily useful exercise, though, dragging yourself through a novel-length piece of writing, even if the end result isn't all that great). I like fragments and miniatures too much to ever write a proper novel, I expect.
The book will mostly contain reprints, and finally bring together all of the stories I've published since 2001 that are 1.) worth bringing together and that 2.) play well with each other. There are also a few unpublished stories, ones that I've never found the right home for but that felt to me like they belonged with the others, both gained and added context from/to the others, and were worth publishing. The editors at Black Lawrence Press agreed. One of the things I love about story collections is the way they can recontextualize stories, and the greatest excitement for me of this collection is that it will finally allow stories that have been scattered across a wide range of publications over many years to speak to each other.
I'm also incredibly excited to have found a publisher that is excited by what some others have considered either a fault or danger of the collection: its breadth of genres and styles. Perhaps out of sheer stubbornness and delusion, I was convinced that I could not be the only person on Earth to think the overall perspective of the work would create a coherence beyond genre or tone, that there was, in fact, a persistence of voice and vision. That's what the BLP editors told me attracted them to the manuscript, and when they said that, I knew I'd found what may be the perfect publisher for my work.
So I am excited. Beyond excited. I don't have words to convey the feeling of achieving something I've work toward for so long, something I often gave up hope of ever achieving. I wanted to write this post not only to let the world know the news, but also to preserve this moment so that, working through the more difficult parts of the experience (oh gawd, people might write reviews!), I can look back and remember what it felt like to be at this moment of triumphant possibility.
And to thank you, whoever you may be, who felt that it was worth some bits of your time and attention to read my words. I hope to continue to reward your interest.
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