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EXPERTS TELL HOW TO KEEP YOUR NEW BOOK FROM
SINKING WITHOUT A RIPPLE
Most books are
never reviewed anywhere and consequently "sink without a
ripple." That was a dismal report from Newsweek surveying
the publishing scene. What's an author to do?
By Richard Frisbie
To answer that
question SMA presented a panel of experts at the Nov. 14 meeting
in the Chicago Athletic Association.
professional book publicist and columnist for Literary License,
observed that newspaper literary editors get as many as 50 books
Cheryl L. Reed,
books editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, said she has only
"seconds to decide" which books to assign for review.
A brief handwritten note attached to the book and calling attention
to a Chicago angle can help attract her attention.
a Chicago Tribune editor who deals with books, said she finds
huge press kits off-putting. She reads E-mail, but faxes are
wasted. She never sees them.
founder and editor of Bookslut.com, a respected online journal
devoted to books, said her approach is "all whim"whatever
her 45 reviewers happen to be interested in on a given day.
She throws out all press releases. She does favor books from
certain small publishers. She has responded to books with Post-It®
tabs calling attention to pages of special interest. Good cover
design can help.
None of the panelists
wanted any phone calls. E-mails should explain in the first paragraph
what's different about your book. West considers such factors
as the reputation of the author, the significance and timeliness
of the subject. It's OK to be persistent and keep trying,
but self-published books from houses such as iUniverse and AuthorHouse
have zero chance of being reviewed.
out that a review may not always be what you want. The reviewer
may declare that your book should make Gutenberg wish he hadn't
publicity for a book is easier to get than a review. Reed agreed.
Her paper likes to feature interviews with Chicago authors,
complete with photos.
to stand on the merit of the work itself, but many non-fiction
books lend themselves to a variety of publicity possibilities.
touch "me toos,"books on subjects already well-covered.
aren't "callous and horrible," Reed said. There's
just so little time, so little space, so many books.
By Carol Jean Carlson
Chicago Map Exhibit
Robert Remer and
his wife Katie recently loaned the Edgewater Historical Society
a collection of maps that was on exhibit at the society's
museum from Oct. 13 to Dec. 16.
The map collection
is the result of years and years of accumulation and grew out
of the Remers' passion for collecting books on Chicago.
Remer points out
that assembling the exhibit "taught [him] how important maps
are in art, history and life."
The oldest map
in the collection is from 1781. The exhibit also included a map
of the "burnt district" following the Chicago Fire of
1871 and an original copy of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of
Not to Be Missed
Bill Ott, editor
of the ALA's Booklist, recently gave Robert Hellenga's
The Sixteen Pleasures (paperback, Delta, 1995) a rave review
in the Collection Development section of American Libraries.
It was among
several books recommended for reading by anyone planning a trip
to Italy. Hellenga's novel, his first, centers on a young
American book restorer who travels to Florence after the 1966
flood. The story recounts her affair with a middle-aged man and
her discovery of a 16th century volume of erotic engravings.
that the book presents "an almost tactile sense of Florence,"
and advises "even if you have no interest in going to Florence,
don't miss this book."
Pleasures won the SMA award for Adult Fiction in 1995 for
books published in 1994.
A Foray Into the Judicial World
latest, Limitations (Picador, 2006), focuses on Kindle
County Appeals Court Judge George Mason, described by Turow as
a "tall, trim, gray-haired
standard issue white guy."
(Kindle County is a fictitious county in Illinois that bears a
strong resemblance to Cook County.)
Kindle County and Mason in his earlier novel, Personal Injuries.
More novella than novel, Limitations originally ran as
a series in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.
In the telling,
a case is resurrected involving four white high-school hockey
players and the videotaping of their 1999 gang rape of a drugged,
15-year-old black girl at a party. The videotape came to light
in 2003, and a conviction followed that is now under appeal.
The case is extremely
upsetting to Mason, a successful appeals court judge for a decade
who is being challenged in his upcoming bid for re-election. Add
to the mix a psychotic who keeps threatening Mason and his wife
plus the recent diagnosis of his wife's cancer, and you have
a judge under more than a little stress. That and a look into
the inner workings of the judicial world are a sure-fire combination
for an entertaining and enlightening read.
History in a Box
On Nov. 7th, Gerry
and Janet Souter were interviewed on WBEZ's 848 show about
their interactive, audio-enhanced history of the American Revolution,
The Founding of the United States Experience: 1763-1815 (Presidio
The book covers
the period of American history from the French and Indian War
through the War of 1812. The accompanying CD contains over 70
minutes of readings of contemporary letters, diaries and documents.
OTHER MEMBER NEWS
Musical Play Published
children's play, Maria's Loom, for which she wrote book,
music and lyrics, has been accepted for publication by Anchorage
Press Plays of Louisville, Ky.
by the Winnetka Children's Theatre, the play was adapted from
a story of hers that appeared in Highlights for Children.
Race Driver Chronicler on Tour
has been on the road to discuss his recently published biography
of race driver Walter Hansgen, Walt Hansgen: His Life and the
History of Post War American Road Racing (David Bull Publishing).
On Nov. 9 Argetsinger
was in Saratoga Springs, N. Y., to address a special meeting of
the Saratoga Automobile Museum. On Dec. 7 he spoke at the Society
of Automotive Engineer's Motorsports Conference in Dearborn, Mich.
Psychology Book Wins Awards
recent book, The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live by
(Oxford University Press, 2006), won the 2006 American Psychological
Association's William James Award, as the best general-interest
book in psychology, across all subfields. The book also won the
American Psychological Association's Theodore Sarbin Award for
its contribution to theoretical and philosophical psychology.
University's honors college has chosen The Redemptive Self
for its all-campus, one-book reading for 2007.
McAdams is professor
of human development and psychology and director, the Foley Center
for the Study of Lives, at Northwestern University.
As part of the
Chicago Humanities Festival, Dan Dinello followed "Dr. Frankenstein's
Footsteps," tracing the significance of the amoral mad scientist
who often serves as a lighting rod for contemporary anxieties
about irresponsible scientists, military- funded science and the
abuses of modern technology.
Dinello is the
author of Technophobia! Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman
Technology. He spoke at Loyola University on Nov. 4.
The Clinton Saga Continues
diarist to President Clinton, recently launched her third book,
Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton--from Hope to Harlem
at the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas.
A special guest
was former President Clinton himself, who called the biography,
"fascinating...the first of its kind."
Kearney, an Arkansas
native, founded Writing Our World Press, a small Chicago-based
publishing house, in 2004, and published her first book, Cotton
Field of Dreams: a Memoir, in 2005.
Her former boss,
William Jefferson Clinton, wrote the foreword to that book. WOW
Press published Quiet Guys Can Do Great Things Too: a Black
Accountant's Success Story, in June, 2006.
William Jefferson Clinton, from Hope to Harlem introduces
new voices to the dialogue concerning America 's 42nd President.
from Hope to Harlemshare their insights, memories
and opinions of William Jefferson Clinton the man, the leader,
Anderson writes: "Gracie Gannon: Middle School Zero,
will be released in April from Cloonfad Press, of Jackson, N.J.
In the novel Gracie faces extreme loneliness, a family crisis
and discovers who she really is in the process. The book focuses
on bullying. The information is right on target with what goes
on in schools today.
by (being published by) a secular publisher, this book will touch
more readers by getting in through the back door,'
and on the shelf in public schools. I have worked on this manuscript
off and on for 12 years. It has a message I definitely believe
Return of the 1960s
Neal Samors' new
book, Chicago in the Sixties came out in October, published
by Chicago's Books, a subsidiary of Chicago's Neighborhoods, Inc.
It includes more than 150 photos and the personal recollections
of 80 1960s-era Chicagoans, including Shelley Berman, Dick Biondi,
SMA member Richard Christiansen, Joel Daly, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis,
Judge Richard Elrod, Jackie Grimshaw, Glenn Hall, Hugh Hefner,
Walter Jacobsen, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Marilyn Katz, Johnny
"Red" Kerr, Rick Kogan, Ramsey Lewis, Joe Mantegna,
Newton and Jo Minow, Sandra Pesman, Harold Remis, Gayle Sayer,
Gary Sinese and Lois Wille.
Gets Series Name
Cynthia J. Olson
writes, " On Oct. 17, my third book in the Foster Kids Series
Tangles is a story of how a young girl faces bereavement and
change when security, happiness and her parents' love is
taken from her as the Twin Towers collapse .
"I am very
excited about this book and am pleased that I now have a series
Helps Lead Writers' Group
has been appointed to the steering committee of the Chicago Writers
She runs Poetic
License, a poetry-writing group, and publishes Write-On!,
a monthly newsletter for writers.
She will speak
to creative writing students at Niles North and Niles West High
Schools in the spring.
In addition, she'll
present a writing career workshop at Wheeling High School for
their day of art, "Make Your Mark!" in April.
On April 21 True
will host the Second Annual WriterFest at Indian Trails Library
in Wheeling, Ill., where local published authors from all genres
provide valuable writing, publishing and book promotion tips to
writers aspiring to get published.
Explains Politics on National Radio
R. Craig Sautter
appeared for two hours on Bruce DuMont's Beyond the Beltway on
Dec. 3, to talk about Presidential politics and Iraq.
The program airs
on 60 stations coast to coast, and on Chicago TV.
Sautter is a consultant
to political candidates as well as an author.
RECENT NEW MEMBERS
By Thomas Frisbie
is an award-winning journalist, former newspaper reporter and
magazine writer based in Chicago. He is the author of two nonfiction
books on the criminal justice system, The Wrong Man and
Defending the Damned.
Davis has authored eight non-fiction children's books. His
writing has appeared in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune,
Chicago magazine, Utne Reader, In These Times,
American Bar Association Journal, Readers Digest, USA Weekend,
Encyclopaedia Britannica and many other publications.
He has worked
as an editorial consultant for Northwestern Memorial Hospital
and Loyola University Medical Center. He also teaches a writing
class for detainees at the Cook County Jail.
is co-author of Tilli's Story: My Thoughts Are Free, the
true story of an East German escapee's childhood under Hitler
Collier also is
an award-winning freelance writer who has worked as a daily newspaper
reporter, magazine editor and TV news producer.
Her feature articles
about health, parenting, business and other topics have been printed
by major newspapers, magazines and Web sites, including the Chicago
Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer,
Smart Computing and Crain's Chicago Business.
Sel Erder Yackley
was born in Istanbul and reared in Ankara. She was educated in
the United States and has lived in Arizona and Illinois most of
her adult life.
She has worked
as a reporter and editor, as a college instructor, as a public
relations consultant, as a fund-raiser and as a travel agent.
She is author of Never Regret the Pain: Loving and Losing a
Bipolar Spouse (2006).
is Midwest regional agent for Literary Services, Inc. of New Jersey.
She began her career in 1980 as an editorial assistant for John
Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Next, she moved
to Van Nostrand Reinhold (VNR), a technical and reference publisher,
where she developed books focused on the culinary arts, architecture,
gemology, and began acquiring business titles. Next, she joined
Irwin Professional Publishing (now McGraw-Hill) as senior editor
where she focused on acquiring manuscripts in the manufacturing
and management areas.
In 1996, Zigmund
. departed McGraw-Hill to join Dearborn Trade Publishing (now
Kaplan Publishing) as executive editor. Six months after joining
Dearborn she was promoted to editorial director, and was named
vice president and publisher in 2000. Zigmund . holds a business
degree from Monmouth University, where she graduated summa cum
Ryerson Hayes, poet and writer who founded the Ragsdale Foundation
in Lake Forest, Ill., died Oct. 13 of complications from an auto
accident. She was 84.
Owner of a historic
mansion built by her grandfather, a noted architect, she turned
the house into a refuge where artists in residence could focus
on their work.
Over the years,
many SMA members have taken advantage of the tranquil atmosphere
at Ragsdale to finish significant books.
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