Category Archives: about us

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Getting to Know You

As Jane told you last week, I’m the new kid on the block, and I’m excited to be working with DGLM’s clients on their digital projects.

If you read my bio, you know that I was born a bookworm, and probably not long after that started obnoxiously correcting other people’s grammar. So it’s no surprise that I got myself an English degree, had a bookstore gig for a few years, and then came to NYC to work in publishing in 2009. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about the challenges and the opportunities of the digital publishing revolution, and am eager to put that knowledge at the disposal of DGLM’s authors.

Since I’m new here, I bet you’re curious about what I read! In general, I am obsessed with literary fiction, especially if it’s witty; well-written thrillers with smart twists; and pretty much anything with an unreliable narrator. (That admission might lead you to question this blog post – don’t worry, it’s entirely legit…or is it.) After all, whether you love e-books, paper books, or a little bit of both, it’s all about the storytelling.

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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.