Category Archives: about us

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Where books come from

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the homes my books had before they were on my shelf.  Maybe it’s the four huge bins of books of my books my mother brought me from her house (just the ones from college and grad school).  Or maybe it’s that I recently passed the sad corner on which the B&N that used to employ me sat, up until it closed at the end of last year.  But either way, I thought it might be fun to share my library memories.

I was a library kid.  The Rushmore Memorial Library, in fact.

Imagine tiny Lauren, looking for the next Cam Jansen book on her tiptoes

I grew up not far from here, and though I wasn’t allowed to cross the street that stood between us without a parent, my family spent quite a bit of time here growing up.  I haven’t been inside in a very long time, but I can remember being small and reveling in the freedom of a few hours in the kids’ section while my mom went to look for her own books.

Next up was my town’s other library, the Ida Cornell Library.  It shared a parking lot with my elementary school, so while it wasn’t my library, I did get to go often.  This was more a social library for me, in fifth or sixth grade, working on some project or hanging out with my equally nerdy friends.  I always felt slightly disloyal when I was there, cheating on Rushmore, but that feeling was assuaged by my joy that it looked like some strange fairy tale house.

Where Hansel & Gretel lived before getting lost in the woods.

Imagine slightly taller Lauren, getting shushed by a librarian for being chatty

I haven’t been much of a library person since childhood, perhaps because virtually all my pre-DGLM employment was in bookstores.  So the only two other libraries I’ve got an affinity for are the ones at my college and grad school.  Neither is quite as happy a place in my memories, but I did spend a terrifying number of cumulative hours in them procrastinating and daydreaming while pretending to do research or write papers.  I do have slightly nostalgic memories of sleeping on the floor in the basement of Bobst next to a study carousel while pulling all-nighters.  Ah, to be young and irresponsible!

It's not exactly the prettiest building ever.

Imagine, college-aged Lauren, boring herself to sleep while writing a paper

That's Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin if you prefer your library names, as Gaeilge

Imagine grad school-aged Lauren, wishing it was as easy to nap in the James Hardiman Library as at Bobst

And bonus library!  My books rarely come from here, but if this isn’t one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, I don’t know what is.

If people tell you Brooklyn's not actually great, they've never been to Grand Army Plaza.

Who needs lion statues when you can have this?

 

So those are MY libraries.  Tell me about yours!

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Hello World!

Thank you for the introduction, Jane. It’s a pleasure to be here at DGLM. I am looking forward to working closely with all the wonderful people here at Dystel & Goderich as well as our many talented clients. My goal has always been to find a job that I would look forward to going to each and every morning, and I’m lucky enough to have found exactly that. If you want to learn a little bit more about me and  how I got here, feel free to check out “Who We Are and What We’re Looking For” for a short bio and personal essay.

 

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We’re growing!

One of my favorite things to do on this blog is welcoming new members of our team.  This time, I am delighted to introduce two:

Michael Hoogland joined us on May 20th as our new Royalties Manager.  Michael graduated from Colgate University in 2012 and also attended the Columbia publishing course.  We are excited to have his interest in the business side of publishing which is so important to the continued growth of Dystel & Goderich.

On June 3rd, Sharon Pelletier joined us as the manager of our digital publishing program.  Sharon was previously at Barnes & Noble, Europa Editions, and Vantage Press.  She is extremely knowledgeable about the world of digital publishing and will be helping us grow this exciting area of our business.

I hope all of our blog readers will welcome both Mike and Sharon who are available to answer any questions our clients might have for them.

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(Borrowing) By the Book

No too long ago the New York Times Book Review introduced a nifty new feature, the “By the Book” interview, in which the editors pick the brains of a celebrated writer–folks like Joyce Carol Oates, Ian McEwan, Karen Russell, Alain de Botton–on assorted literary questions.  It seemed to me that this is a feature worth replicating (read: stealing).

The questions vary slightly from one week to the next and depending on the interviewee, but I’ve lifted most of the core questions.  In the spirit of sharing, and with fingers crossed that I am violating no intellectual property rights–sorry Gray Lady–I’ve included my answers below.  Please share your own in turn.

 

What was the best book you read last year? I’m  awful at the business of anointing a single winner, but the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese and The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud were all wonderful.

Where and when do you like to read? In an ideal world, in the sunshine, when I can be uninterrupted for several hours. In reality, anywhere, anytime: on the train, in the car, to myself when my children are sleeping, out loud when they are awake, as a reward for accomplishing odious or challenging tasks, as a means of procrastinating odious or unpleasant tasks, as an aperitif, as a digestif…

Who are your favorite authors: Ian McEwan, Nadine Gordimer, Margaret Atwood, Naguib Mahfouz, Lorrie Moore, Jonathan Franzen, Roald Dahl, Philip Pullman.

Preferred genre—probably literary fiction

Guilty pleasures: Buying books at second hand book stores, garage sales, thrift stores, and other quirkily organized non-royalty reporting venues.

Best book about your home state (NJ). Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. Tom Perotta’s Election.

What were your favorite books as a child? Madeline L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series, anything to do with King Arthur—Marion Zimmer Bradley to Thomas Mallory to Mary Stewart, L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon and Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, the Fairy Books (Red, Brown, Green) collected by Andrew Lang.

A book you wish the President would read: a memoir written by a client of mine, to be published by FSG this April called A FORT OF NINE TOWERS: An Afghan Family Memoir—a joyous, heartbreaking, eviscerating chronicle of a boy and a country in impossible times.

Author, living or dead, who you might meet:  I have a special place in my heart for the English Romantics—William and Dorothy Wordsworth, the Shelleys, Byron, Coleridge, Keats. I would also have liked to tag along with intrepid women travel writers like Gertrude Bell and Freya Stark.

Do you organize books in a particular way: I used to attempt to group roughly by category. I have since given up entirely  on a system and now shelve more or less by size and how best I can make them fit.

Paper or electronic? I prefer paper, but read a greater volume electronically.

What do you plan to read next? The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.

 

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Something “new” for me

This piece from last week’s  New York Times attracted my attention and although I totally disagree with the notion that just because the facts concerning a non-fiction book have changed since its original publication, its content should be arbitrarily updated, it did make me think about non-fiction in general.

For many years, most of what I represented was non-fiction and then recently and very deliberately (and because I truly love it) I have been concentrating on fiction, all kinds of fiction – commercial and literary – and have had great success with indie authors and more traditional types.  But my yen for good narrative non-fiction is still very strong and I would love to see some new ideas.

Of course, as you all know, in this category the author needs to have a solid platform and the credentials necessary to write authoritatively on a subject – these things have become increasingly important. And there has to be a great story, one with a beginning, a middle, and an end. With those elements, I would love to consider some compelling new nonfiction in the areas of science, history, biography, politics, and business.

I hope that some of you reading this blog will keep this in mind, send me your work, and spread the word.

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The End of History

In line with January’s inescapable “New Year/New You” promotions, I ran across this article in the Times a little more than a week ago that would indicate that promise of a New You is not simply a marketing ploy. In fact, if anything, people tend to underestimate how much their interests and tastes will change over time.   (mhttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/science/study-in-science-shows-end-of-history-illusion.html?hp&_r=1&

In an article titled “You Won’t Stay the Same” John Tierney writes “When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same, a team of psychologists said Thursday, describing” what is referred to, somewhat apocalyptically, as the “end of history” phenomenon.  But like our recent apocalypse-that-wasn’t, the actuality is not so dire.  Regardless of our age, we (mistakenly) regard ourselves as finished products, fully-formed, unlikely to change.

This made me consider my own tastes, in food, in music, in parenting, in reading.  I generally believe my tastes will be/have been fairly consistent, then I think back to some of the get-ups I sported in college, and I realize I am wrong.  Very wrong. In addition, as a result of marrying into a family of foodies (my teetotaling wasp family regarded too much discussion of appetites unseemly) I have a better appreciation of gastronomy. I can now understand how the Pixies or the Throwing Muses, two of my erstwhile favorite bands, might not be the melodious crowd-pleasers I once found them to be. By virtue of having them, my notions about raising children have changed, and as a consequence of working in publishing, I no longer marvel at how folks might get around to reading contemporary writers when there is such a back-log of good, dead ones to get through. I actually had this thought in college.

How have your tastes, literary or otherwise changed?

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Hello!

Thank you so much Jane for the kind introduction. It is fantastic to be here at DGLM, although I confess, these are familiar surroundings. As Jane mentioned, I began interning here in May 2011 while I was studying for my Master’s degree, so I am absolutely delighted to be a full time member of DGLM’s remarkable team. With e-books and e-readers continuing to offer us new ways to access books, it is an exciting time to be heading up DGLM’s digital publishing program. As a long-time lover of books, I feel incredibly privileged to have the chance to work closely with authors, the people who make us fall in love with books.

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Welcome, Yassine Belkacemi!

Since its inception, our digital publishing program has been happily growing, both in the number of authors participating and in the number of titles published.  Currently we have 40 authors and 133 books in the program.

I am delighted to announce that we have now hired a full time project manager for this program who, in just a few short weeks, has already increased our percentage of growth.

Yassine Belkacemi was born in Scotland where he did his undergraduate studies at University of Edinburgh.  He then received a Master’s Degree at Columbia University here in New York.  He has been interning for us since May of 2011, and I have been eager to find a permanent place for him on our staff.

I hope you will all join me in welcoming Yassine as the newest member of the DGLM family.

Hello World!

It’s my very first blog entry as a full-fledged DGLM employee! However, I’m not totally new to the office and have been around for quite some time. I’ve been working in the office as the Project Manager for DGLM’s digital publishing program, and before that I was an intern in the office. Until recently, I was focused solely on developing the digital program, but I’m branching into agenting now, and I can’t wait to get started.

As a reader, some of my favorite books have been historical fiction—Les Miserables, Atonement and Gone With the Wind, to name a few. But I also love a book that challenges me, like Lolita, the His Dark Materials series or Last Exit to Brooklyn. For more about me and what I am interested in reading, check out Who We Are and What We’re Looking For.

My very first experience with a literary agency was here at DGLM, and I am so grateful to have been able to turn my internship into a position at the company. I’ve always wanted to work in publishing and I am very excited to be a part of this team.

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DGLM Deal Round Up!

It’s been quite some time since we’ve done a deal roundup on the blog, so I’m thinking we’re certainly due for one. It’s been a busy, busy 2012 so far and hopefully will continue as such—so many good books out there!

Rounding out 2011, Jane sold Peggy Kotsopoulos’ SOMETHING I ATE, a holistic nutrition guide that offers recipes as well as insight into how food can affect our minds and bodies in all areas of life to Andrea Magyar of Penguin Group Canada.

Kicking off the new year, Jane sold revered and innovative baker Alice Medrich’s A NEW WAY TO BAKE, which introduces baking tips, tricks and methods for using alternate and varied types of flours to Judy Pray at Artisan.

Livia Blackburne’s MIDNIGHT THIEF, a debut YA fantasy novel about a talented thief who joins an assassin’s guild only to find that what she thought was the perfect job is much more sinister than originally imagined was sold to Abby Ranger at Hyperion by Jim.

Bestselling author and celebrated Food Network and Cooking Channel television host Ellie Krieger’s newest, currently untitled cookbook that offers simple and healthy solutions for weeknight dinners to busy families sold to Justin Schwartz at John Wiley & Sons by Jane.

Stacey then sold Robin Robertson’s ONE-DISH VEGAN, a cookbook that will showcase over 150 one-dish recipes from the master vegan cookbook author to Dan Rosenberg at Harvard Common Press.

Another debut novel, Stephanie Kuehn’s CHARM & STRANGE, about a boy dealing with a traumatic past that haunts his life in violent, disturbing ways, in a portrait of grief, madness, and ultimately resilience, went to Sara Goodman at St. Martin’s Press, sold by Michael.

Gaby Dalkin’s ABSOLUTELY AVOCADO, a cookbook of over 100 recipes that feature the beloved and healthy fruit, the avocado, went to Justin Schwartz at John Wiley & Sons, sold by Stacey.

Stacey then sold START AT THE END, by president and founder of Growthink, Dave Lavinksy, which a smart, savvy business book that teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to reverse engineer success and create an action plan to successfully get there to Adrianna Johnson at John Wiley & Sons.

Bestseller David Hewson’s atmospheric CARNIVAL FOR THE DEAD, a puzzle-piece, labyrinthine mystery set during Carnival in Venice and wrapped deep inside the art and culture of Venice itself, which was previously published in the UK, went to Andy Bartlett at Thomas & Mercer, sold by Stacey.

Debra Weyermann’s THE GRAVE ROBBERS, an exposé of the Native American antiquities trade and the 2010 raid that shredded the code of silence protecting it for centuries, was sold by Jane to Jerry Pohlen at Chicago Review Press.

ALA Best Fiction for YA pick & Cybil Award-winning STUPID FAST Geoff Herbach’s EVEN IF IT HURTS, in which a dork-turned-athlete must choose a path between responsibility to others and his own desires to find firm ground from which to leap to a future that is his own went to Leah Hultenschmidt at Sourcebooks, sold by Jim.

Jessica then sold John Adams’ THE MILLIONAIRE AND THE MUMMIES: HOW THEODORE DAVIES USED A STOLEN FORTUNE TO TRANSFORM ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE GILDED AGE, the true story of an American robber baron-turned-Egyptologist who turned tomb-robbing and treasure-hunting into a science, to Daniela Rapp at St. Martin’s Press.

Michael’s next sale was for Suzanne Selfors’s THE IMAGINARY VETERINARY, a chapter book series in which a string of unusual events — from finding a lost dragon hatchling to tracking an escaped sasquatch — leads ten-year-olds to become apprentices to a veterinarian for imaginary creatures, which went to Julie Scheina at Little, Brown Children’s.

Susan Beal’s next gorgeous craft title, SEWING BY THE SEASON, which takes a seasonal approach to beautiful sewn projects perfect for any occasion, in any season was sold to Laura Lee Mattingly at Chronicle by Stacey.

Dr. James H. Fallon’s, THE SUCCESSFUL PSYCHOPATH, a memoir in which the neuroscientist discovers that the brain patterns of deadly psychopathic killers mirror his own, was sold by Jane to Brooke Carey at Current.

MARBURY LENS author Andrew Smith’s GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, about a sexually confused kid, his girlfriend, his best friend, and how they accidentally bring about the end of the world, went to Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton Children’s, sold by Michael.

Michael then sold PLEASE SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER by journalist Sara Solovitch, an exploration of the deepest of human fears, whether you call it stage fright, performance anxiety, or social phobia, through the author’s own attempts to overcome it, as well as her research into its causes and cures, to Benjamin Adams at Bloomsbury.

A Tarzan for the digital-age, Jim sold Alex Mallory’s WILD,  in which a girl skips her senior trip to go into the wild instead, and finds a boy raised to believe that the world outside the forest has been decimated by a modern plague, to Anne Hoppe at Harper Teen.

Jane’s next sale was for Anne Cleeland’s THE TAINTED ANGEL, the Regency version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith about a beautiful young courtesan who is actually a spy whose allegiance is unknown, which went to Shana Drehs at Sourcebooks.

Bringing cakelet decorating to the masses, Amy Eilert’s CUPCAKE ENVY, a collection of 40 projects for beautiful, adorable, and fun “cakelets” (unique crosses between cupcakes and cakes), was sold to Bud Sperry at Tuttle by Stacey.

Michael Krondl, author of SWEET INVENTION, has a new book, DONUTS, a lighthearted cultural history of America’s favorite treat with selected accompanying recipes, which was sold by Jane to Cynthia Sherry at Chicago Review Press.

An hilarious and touching memoir about Nicole Caccavo Kear’s struggle to come to terms with the fickle hand of Fate, in the form of a disease that is slowly erasing her vision, all while raising three kids with the “help” of her loving Italian-American family, to Sara Goodman at St. Martin’s Press, sold by Michael.

In a collaboration with Cooking Light, Stacey sold Allison Fishman’s LIGHTEN UP, AMERICA!, a celebration of regional American cooking made light, including Buffalo wings, Maryland crab cakes, and apple pie, to Heather Averett at Oxmoor House.

Stacey then sold Amy Plum’s JUNEAU as part of a two-book deal, about a girl who escapes the mysterious forces that kidnapped her clan and discovers that everything about her past has been a lie, facing disillusionment while braving an unknown modern-day America to rescue her family, to Tara Weikum at HarperCollins Children’s.

Jane then sold Nancy Herkness’s novel, TAKE ME HOME, in which an emotionally wounded woman falls in love with an equally scarred veterinarian, and both find strength in themselves through caring for a battered racehorse to Kelli Martin at Montlake.

THE BIG LETDOWN by author, journalist, and breastfeeding advocate Kimberly Seals Allers opens up a candid conversation about the cultural, sociological and economic forces that shape the breastfeeding culture was sold by Stacey to Nichole Argyres at St. Martin’s Press.

John sold Stephen L. Duncan’s YA debut THE REVELATION SAGA, about a teen who discovers he is the angel Gabriel and must train to save the world from the evil demon Septis, pitched as FALLEN meets HARRY POTTER with a dose of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, to Emily Steele at Medallion Press.

Two more books in James Beard-honored mixologist, author, and beverage consultant Kim Haasarud’s popular 101 series, SHOTS and TROPICAL DRINKS, sold to Justin Schwartz at John Wiley & Sons by Michael.

Bestselling author and iconic feminist leader Phyllis Chesler’s AN AMERICAN BRIDE IN KABUL, about her time as a young bride in Afghanistan and the charged and complicated relationship between the Islamic East and West was sold by Jane to Karen Wolny at Palgrave.

Jane’s next sale was for William Gurstelle’s DEFENDING YOUR CASTLE, which offers wild yet historically accurate plans for the modern homeowner, from moats and drawbridges to hostile plant walls, including both scientific and anecdotal material, which went to Cynthia Sherry at Chicago Review Press.

Romance writer Anne Stuart’s next series, AFTER THE STORM: THE STORY OF THE RUSSELL SISTERS, a historical trilogy that focuses on three orphaned sisters, Arielle, Madeline, and Sophie, as they embark to investigate the mysterious maritime disaster that killed their parents, encountering rogues, gentlemen, and illicit affairs along the way, was sold to Kelli Martin at Montlake by Jane.

Rounding out March, Jane sold Michael Wolraich’s WHEN THE WAR BEGAN: TEDDY ROOSEVELT, REPUBLICAN PROGRESSIVES AND THE BIRTH OF MODERN POLITICS, the story of the beginning of the progressive political movement, following closely the lives of all the major political, economic and journalistic players as they careen through history and one another’s lives to Karen Wolny at Palgrave.

John also sold real estate magnate Herman J. Russell’s memoir BUILDING ATLANTA, which recounts his childhood growing up during segregation and how he overcame a severe speech disorder to build much of the Atlanta skyline and contribute to the Civil Rights movement, to Cynthia Sherry at Chicago Review Press.

Jim’s next sale was for Gae Polisner’s FRANKIE SKY, still reeling from her little brother’s drowning death, a girl finds her herself holding back – from summer trips to the ocean, friendship, budding romance – till she meets another young boy who may be her brother’s reincarnation, which awakens her to new possibilities, which went to Elise Howard at Algonquin.

Journalist and historian Scott Martelle’s JONES’S BONES, the story that brings together two important eras in history—the American Revolutionary War and the dawn of the 21st Century—through the search for the final resting place for war hero John Paul Jones was sold to Jerome Pohlen at Chicago Review Press by Jane.

Veteran journalist and Professor of Journalism at Indiana University Joseph Coleman’s THE OLD MAN AND THE HAMMER, a narrative-driven investigation of America’s aging workforce, charting a path forward through the coming demographic revolution, was sold to Terry Vaughn at Oxford University Press by Jessica.

Jane then sold nutrition experts Katherine Brooking and Julie Upton’s 101 FAT HABITS AND SLIM SOLUTIONS, a health-smart guide full of real life, practical steps for kicking bad habits and finding new dietary and lifestyle paths to Sara Carder at Tarcher.

Bestselling author of the wildly popular self-published WIFE BY WEDNESDAY, Catherine Bybee’s newest romance trilogy, the NOT QUITE… series brings the genre to a whole new level as she elegantly brings to life sexy, rich bachelors, desperate hotel heiresses, and Caribbean scandals, to name a few, was sold to Kelly Martin at Montlake by Jane.

Anne Cleeland’s MUDER IN THRALL, the sexy, disturbing and utterly engrossing novel in a series of romantic suspense, following Kathleen Doyle, a fiery first-year detective on her first twisted murder case, was sold by Jane to Audrey LaFehr at Kensington.

Jane’s next sale was for chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Gale Gand’s newest cookbook, GALE GAND’S LUNCH!, in which she shares fun and creative ideas, tips, and tricks for all kinds of lunches, which went to Justin Schwartz at John Wiley & Sons.

GREAT BALLS OF CHEESE, a quirky and fun collection of over 50 recipes for all kinds of cheese balls from FoodNetwork.com and CookingChannelTV.com editor Michelle Buffardi, went to Justin Schwartz at John Wiley & Sons, sold by Stacey.

Jessica sold HISTORY LESSONS: A FAMILY MEMOIR OF MADNESS, MEMORY, AND THE WONDERS OF THE BRAIN by Clifton Crais: Part memoir, part narrative science and part detective story, History Lessons is a provocative, beautifully crafted investigation into what it means to be human, to Dan Crissman at Overlook.

Helen Bryan’s THE SISTERHOOD, connecting an unlikely present-day heroine to the events of the Spanish Inquisition, handsome friars and courageous nuns, doomed love affairs, persecuted orphans, and cunning noblemen and women, was sold by Jane to Terry Goodman at Amazon.

And finally, DGLM’s most recent sale was VODKA: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, written and curated by Victorino Matus, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard sold by Stacey to James Jayo at Lyons Press.

Okay! That’s a long list there, but it can only mean good things for DGLM and our authors.