May 6th, 2010

An agent tries working at a bookstore

I know there are real-life agents out there who work at bookstores, but Dan Lazar spent a week working at his friend Nikki's bookstore, and found it an eye-opening experience.
Me: Have you read this exciting debut novel that sold for a zillion bucks last year?

Nikki: Dan, I can't give that book away.


Me: Publisher is printing my author's paperback with a shiny step-back! So exciting!

Nikki: Dan, in the store, we call those "1 out of every 5 is damaged."
One of the most time-consuming aspects of my job as an agent is discussions about book jackets. We cajole and nitpick and spill blood and scream over these covers. Working in Pudd'nhead Books solidified my resolve to stand firm when a cover is not yet perfect. (Nikki has a shelf called "Bad Cover, Good Book."

Read more of Lazar's insights here.

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A long article about short story author - and MacArthur genius! - Deborah Eisenberg

Deborah Eisenberg writes her short stories slowly. In 25 years, she has published "just four collections that total under 1,000 pages, enough for an anthology out this spring and for the usual rewards for the short fiction artist: admiring reviews, limited sales and reliance on teaching jobs to keep going. But last fall, money fell like ripened fruit from a tree: Eisenberg received a MacArthur Genius Grant that honored her for "an unusually distinctive portrait of contemporary American life," kind thoughts with a check enclosed for $300,000.

Read more about Eisenberg here.

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