Monday, November 24, 2008

All the Saints and Angels (and some Gods and Goddesses too) Want You to Buy Books for Christmas

Three years ago Mondadori Italy published a book on Saints. The book is organized according to the calendar year, with each day represented by the appropriate saint who is associated with that day.  I fell in love with it. It is small, chunky and cute - and I happen to love books where you can check out what important thing is associated with your birthday (in my case, it is the day associated with Saint Florian, protector of firefighters, whose name means "A follower of Flora".  How nice!)  In my role as an agent for rights sales for Mondadori, I approached Editor-in-Chief Eric Himmel at Harry N. Abrams about the possibility of producing the book for the English market.  Eric loved the book too.  He had a hunch that it would do well and committed to a big first printing (at least for an art book!) And thus the making of a great "sleeper" hit series of books was born.

Saints has reprinted continuously since its first publication by Abrams.  How gratifying it was to arrive in Frankfurt the following year and suddenly everyone was looking for a book on Saints! Ha! Too late!

And we were already on to the next subject matter: Angels, and now Myths. Like their predecessor, Angels and Myths are compact and appealing, and chock full of beautiful art, interesting information, and wonderful stories (and priced at $19.95 - even with the economy in shambles you can afford this!). Who knew there were so many kinds of angels?: seraphim, cherubs, archangels, guardian angels, rebel angels, fallen angels; angels as messengers, punishers, soldiers, intercessors and saviours. And when it comes to mythological creatures, forget it: their are gods, goddesses, earth dieties, infernal dieties, heroes, you name it.

Now that it has come to update the newest edition of Saints, I have asked my Italian colleagues if there might be any American saints they'd like to add to the book. Preposterous thought! Okay, I was kind of joking, and as I expected my friends just looked at me like I was insane - either because 1) Who ever heard of an American saint? or 2) Well, maybe there are one or two, but they are definitely not cool enough to hang out with the European saints in the same book!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Carnival, A Street Fair - Its the Miami Book Fair!

Here in New York it is getting dark by 4 pm, and snow is in the air. Dark when you leave for work, dark when you get home - if we don't get out of here soon, I am going to just crawl off and hibernate until Spring. Its a good time of year to move the base of operations south. We head to South Florida, via the Amtrack Autotrain and are probably the only couple under 85. Our room is adorable but tiny. I am intrigued by the teeny bathroom that appears to be just a very small toilet inside a very small closet - but in some miraculous yet unclear way doubles as a shower. "Be careful that you don't push the wrong button when you flush the toilet!" my husband warns. One of these must operate the shower? This is a little like Russian roulette.

We arrive just in time for The 25th Annual Miami International Book Fair! Its a crazy scene, more like a carnival. But there are some serious authors here - Poet Laureate Billy Collins, cookbook author Mario Batali, philospher Cornel West. Also in attendance some heavy hitters like Harper Collins, Random House, Prentice Hall. Saturday I stroll around the Fair; it is a madhouse, with the biggest attraction a book and movie release about a dreamy Teenage Vampire.

One publisher I have been trying to work with now for a year or two now is Pineapple Press. They have beautiful photographic books, primarily on topics having to do with the tropics and South Florida. Another is the University of Florida at Gainesville. I have a nice chat with the folks at each of these booths and end up with some new contact info. Good. Later on, I talk to PR agent Dan Smith whose firm publicizes authors. Another good potential lead.

As the afternoon winds down I sample frozen lemonade, Cuban grill, keep my eye out for Vampires, and get to admire some Very Big Books.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ceramics in America Recognized with Book-of-the-Year Award

Amidst all the election hubbub last week, I received this happy piece of news: my client The Chipstone Foundation (see posting on October 24) has won the prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award from The American Ceramics Circle .

This was the first project we worked on together, and we are all very proud and look forward to great things for future editions. Director of the Chipstone Foundation Jon Prown recognized the "tremendous effort" and "job well done"!