Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Retrospect of Name Authors

Keep in mind that the source/research of this blog post was the free edition of Publisher's Marketplace. The membership edition might very well contain many more debut authors. I only wonder why the free edition is so skimpy when it comes to new authors or small independent publishers. Where are we little guys in the scheme of things? Please keep in mind:

I'm not as jealous as I am mystified.

No sour grapes. Just a lot of questions and curiosity.

John Scalzi's thirteen books - 10 adult and three YA titles - to be published over the next 10 years, for 3.4 million dollars, which includes a new far-future space opera series, as well as more in the Old Man's War universe and sequels to 2014's Lock In, again to Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor, by Ethan Ellenberg at Ethan Ellenberg Agency (world English).

John Scalzi is a well-known and established best selling science fiction author, who tends to get loads of film options. His reading public is more than loyal; they’re rabid and always coming back for more. I truly wonder why Tor has dug so deeply into its pockets to single out this author, when that outlay of cash could support a dozen exceptional authors for the same workload, even though it’s a ten year contract. Do the yearly math income on this one. It’s pretty astonishing.   
NYT bestselling author Dale Brown's ON THE EDGE, to Henry Ferris at William Morrow, in a two-book deal, by Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group (NA).

Dale published eleven best sellers in 11 years. But I wonder if his track record had more to do with his offer than the quality of his storytelling. Sorry, but I just wonder if his contract signing is on full automatic. If I remember correctly, for example, Jean M. Auel’s last book received some of the worst reviews ever on Amazon. It took her 31 years to get to The Land of Painted Caves. Her 1-star reviews eclipsed her 5-stars. Her 2-stars beat out her 4-stars. Was she published for her name’s sake, with editors overlooking the unsubstantial repetition and clumsiness of her manuscript? In her credit, she’s still in the top 100 best selling Amazon lists.      
NYT bestselling author J. Kenner's untitled new erotic romance trilogy, featuring a bad boy hero with a tortured past and the one woman who is absolutely forbidden to him, again to Shauna Summers at Bantam Dell, in a three-book deal, for publication in Spring 2016, by Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (World).
Film/TV: Brandy Rivers at ICM

I’m seeing a NYT bestselling author again. This is a planed trilogy that hasn’t been titled yet. Are all the books finished or will they be purchased on an outline? Just saying, if the books are sold on spec it’s kind of a gamble, wot? Or does it even matter? Uh, what’s a bad boy hero anyway? I’m a little confused on that one. And, okay, for some reason this blurb smells a little like 50 shades.
The NYT bestselling author of The Southern Reach Trilogy Jeff VanderMeer's BORNE, about a scavenger who discovers a mysterious creature she longs to keep despite her companion's warnings and her own reservations, but is it animal, plant, company discard, biotech, cruel experiment, dinner, deity, or a source of spare parts, again to Sean McDonald at Farrar, Straus, by Sally Harding of The Cooke Agency.
UK/ANZ rights to Nicholas Pearson at Fourth Estate (World).

NYT bestselling author again. This story sounds like a mash up of fantasy, horror and science fiction. I think it’s uncommon or not very likely that a very large publisher buys a book that has no real genre. Aren’t those types of books more welcome and appropriate for the small or independent presses who willingly gobble up crossed genres? Hence, its category of General/Other.  
Children's: Middle Grade
Chelsea Clinton's IT'S YOUR WORLD: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!, to "inspire readers to realize that they can start making a difference now, in their own way, for their family, their community, and our world," covering a range of issues from poverty to gender equality, for readers ages 10 to 14, to Jill Santopolo at Philomel, for world English publication on September 15 (world).

“Chelsea Clinton is adding a new title to her ever-growing resume: author!”

Uh, whoopteedo!
“The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will release her first book this coming fall.”
Is this her full resume? 
“The 35-year-old's book will aim to explain issues such as poverty, climate change, and more to children between the ages of 10 and 14.”

Sorry, but I’m just wondering in what context does she have the resume and professional background to write about paucity and climate change? She comes from a very astute and wealthy upbringing, which I think renders her under qualified to write about real poverty. I don’t believe she has a degree in any core science related to climate change. An unknown author would be required to have a degree or voluminous writing credits in either of these fields of study, regardless if it is meant for young teens. This one pisses me off, mainly because her parents have seen more print entitlement than a score of biblical authors. Hillary’s Hard Choices nabbed 14 million up front, with a first printing of one million copies by S&S. The book lost 50% of its sales in the third week and kept foundering. Like daughter like mother?   

Conclusion: celebrity author.   
Children's: Young Adult
Robin Roe's A LIST OF CAGES, a debut pitched as being in the tradition of Perks of Being a Wallflower, told from the alternating perspectives of a charismatic 17 year old with ADHD and his foster brother, a sensitive boy in an extraordinarily dangerous living situation that he must save him from at all costs, to Stephanie Lurie at Disney-Hyperion, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Peter Steinberg at Foundry Literary + Media.

No complaints here. Robin is truly a debut author—THE ONLY ONE IN THE BATCH! This book was also an auction property for a two-book deal. Bravo, and Hooray for our side!
NYT bestselling co-author of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series and author of THE LEGION series, Kami Garcia's THE LOVELY RECKLESS, pitched as "The Fast and the Furious" meets Romeo & Juliet in a YA contemporary romance about the daughter of an undercover cop who falls for the car thief her father is pursuing, to Erin Stein at Imprint, for publication in Fall 2016, by Jodi Reamer at Writers House (NA).

No big complaint here, except seeing that NYT bestselling tag again.

Herman Wouk's SAILOR AND FIDDLER: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author, Herman Wouk turns 100 on May 27, 2015, the first part of the memoir ("Sailor") refers to Wouk's Navy service during World War II and how those experiences informed his classic war novels, such as The Caine Mutiny; the second part ("Fiddler") refers what he's learned from living a life of faith, to Jonathan Karp at Simon & Schuster, for publication in December 2015, by Amy Rennert of the Amy Rennert Agency (World).

Herman Wouk is another celebrity author, but of advanced age. I wonder if Simon & Schuster wanted to cash in on or exploit this author while he was still alive. I’m curious about intentions here. Still, Wouk deserves any type of publication, to be sure.

“Barbra Streisand's memoir, called ‘honest, enlightening, and revealing’, that will share memories of her childhood; explore her extraordinarily successful career on stage, screen, and in the recording studio; and reflect on her life,’ as she is ‘finally going to tell her own story,’ to Rick Kot at Viking (which published her design book), for publication in 2017, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly (world).”

Another celeb author writing about her memoirs. This book was probably highly anticipated, but I wonder about the cash that went over the table for this one. I do think Barbara deserves the financial outlay and credits for this manuscript. Yet, I didn’t see the title to this and wonder, given the lengthily publication date, if it was bought on outline/spec. I still love her music!   
New Yorker writer and editor Roger Angell's THIS OLD MAN, a compendium of writings that celebrate the view from the tenth decade of his richly-lived life, gathering essays, letters, photos, comic verse and drawings which in aggregate present a kaleidoscopic portrayal of a deeply engaged and vibrant life, including the National Magazine Award-winning title essay, to Bill Thomas at Doubleday, at auction, by Amanda Urban at ICM.

No major complaints on this one. Just an irritating itch. Angell has reached his 10th decade, an accomplishment in itself. Yet I shun the thought that there’s any ambulance chasing going on here. We have another such name author of advanced age upstream.  


  1. Herman Wouk is still alive! Who knew?

    Thanks for the rundown; I found your take very interesting. On the BORNE book, I'm not surprised a large publisher is putting it out. You called it, "a mash up of fantasy, horror and science fiction" -- and isn't that what Dean Koontz has been writing and best-selling for decades?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Renee. Indeed, that is the type of book Koontz puts out and I do like them. I really think he can put out whatever he wants. I was surprised about Wouk still being as well.

  3. I've known Jeff VanderMeer for a while now. He and his wife are good people. The real deal! :) He did a big thing last year called The Wonderbook. I've been writing forever, but it's a beautiful thing, and I highly recommend it.

    I think I got to your blog through your profile on AW ... It's so easy to go down the rabbit hole online!