Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Looking for... Wonks and Other Experts

I've been watching the news lately and see a lot of talk about Iran and its idiot president who claims the Holocaust didn't happen and about the possibility that the US is planning to attack Iran to take out its nascent nuclear abilities.

On the one hand, I don't think we need to be in another war with a Muslim country. On the other hand, I think if we were to take on Iran, we'd improve the situation in Iraq, since I feel a lot of the problems there are exacerbated by the Iranians. Plus do you want Iran to have the bomb? I sure as hell do not. It's surely a very complex issue and I'm not sure there's a truly "right" answer. That said, I'm looking for books on the following:

  • Military nonfiction
  • Current Affairs/Events
  • Defense/National Security/Intelligence
  • Politics

When you look at this list, think of authors like my old political science professor, John Mueller, or Thomas Barnett. I want serious consideration of these topics by serious people. You have to have the platform and credentials to write authoritatively about the subject. If Bill Maher would like you on his show, I'd be interested in your book proposal. If the New York Times would publish your op-ed, I'd probably be interested in your proposal. You don't have to be wonky, but it probably does not hurt.

I am also looking for works that might be complementary to those subject areas, specifically books having to do with the following:

  • Science & Technology
  • Science & Nature, especially with an environmental or ecological angle
  • Popular Science
  • Aviation
  • Journalistic nonfiction of an investigative nature
  • Women's issues, from a woman's right to choose to breaking through the glass-ceiling at work
  • True Crime

To write in these areas, you really need to know your stuff, though you might not necessarily be a known quantity to the average reader. I had never heard of Paul Offit before I began representing him, but when I learned of his credentials, I was very impressed. I can't tell you who runs the various departments of the Smithsonian, but if one of them has a book proposal, I'd like to see it. I can't name every national reporter from the Times (NY or LA) or The Wall Street Journal, but their background should be more than sufficient. Heck, the right local reporter writing about the right local story could be the right person to write about the local serial killer or corporate or political villain.

As always, if you have great credentials and are able to write well and in a compelling manner about your subject, I will be interested in learning more.



Pamela said...

I represent a film director from Munich, Germany. She has written a book about her experience as a first-time film director. Her publisher, in Germany, is Bertelsman. She wants to find a publisher in the US, but no one will look at her book, until is translated. How would you suggest she go about getting representation to the large publishers? She does not have a translator and she only wants to work with the best publishers in the US.

Andrew Zack said...

There is no getting around that the US is the least language-educated country in the world. Finding an editor at a major house who is fluent in German is going to be a tough one.

My suggestion is to get three chapters translated, plus all of the reviews and the flap copy. Also ask the Bertelman editor to write a letter on the authors behalf. Then submit those materials to US agents and see if you can find a taker.


Pamela said...

Thank you for your suggestion. It's been difficult, to say the least, to find a translator who is not only proficient, but also knows how to write. I think I'll have to look for bi-lingual writers who would be willing to ghost write/translate. Do you know of any instances where that has happened successfully?

Andrew Zack said...

I think if you look for a good German agent, they may be able to help you find a translator who can help you out.


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