Thursday, October 30, 2008

And You're Waiting for????

My wife interrupted me in the shower this morning to tell me that my client, Dr. Paul Offit, was on the TODAY show and that she was recording it.  That was good, since we have hardwood floors and I wouldn't want to drip on them.

Just in case you missed it, here it is:

Yesterday, I heard from the editor at Columbia University Press that Paul's book, Autism's False Prophets, is now their number one selling title.  If you are a parent, your children may be exposed to dangerous viruses because other parents are not vaccinating their children (heck, you may be exposed).  Thus reading this book and understanding the subject matter are important for any parent, as well as anyone interested in medicine, history, and autism.  You scan scroll down to prior blog entries for the links to buy the book.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Reviews, Reviews, How to Cover All of the Reviews?

Today, Newsweek hits the stands with an article about Paul Offit, author of Autism's False Prophets.  You can—and should—read the article here:

What I love about this article is that it is not just about the book.  It's about the author and talks about the fact that Paul is a real guy who loves children and has been motivated throughout his career by his childhood experiences to become a doctor and help children.  Click the link above and read it for yourself, then click the link below and buy the book.  It's an imporant read for any parent and anyone wondering why drugs are so expensive.  Imagine having to factor into the pricing of any medication the potential lawsuits that could come, even if the medication is proven safe!

Also getting a great review today is Patrick K. O'Donnell's The Brenner Assignment.  Publishers Weekly reviewed it online at

The review says, among other great things, "O’Donnell provides an insightful look into the internal struggles of the burgeoning OSS as well as a real-life espionage adventure of bravery, ingenuity and sacrifice."

Pick this one up and learn how they did it in the old days.  No smart bombs, no laser-guided, nap-of-the-earth-flying missles.  Just brains and big brass ones....


Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Great Book and an Author's Worst Nightmare

The challenge for any agent is to simply keep up with the flow of information coming in.  And by information, I pretty much mean anything that my brain has to process.  From submissions coming in to submissions going out, from royalty statements to reviews, hardly anything comes in that can be simply ignored.

The details that go into publishing every single book in America would stagger the average person's mind.  Books require micromanagement on a scale generally only seen in custom businesses, e.g., custom jewelry, furniture, dresses, etc.  Sure, you can print mass copies of a book, but the different sales channels, different publicity channels and review outlets, as well as formats in which any book might be published are overwhelming.  Add in that you can't just sell a book and forget it—books can be returned from most accounts to the publisher for credit—and you have so many moving variables per title that it is inevitable that things go wrong.

Take for example a new title about which I am very excited, The Brenner Assignment:  The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II, by Patrick O'Donnell, award-winning author of Beyond Valor, Operatives, Spies & Saboteurs, and We Were One.  Somehow, Barnes & Noble never ordered the book.  The buyer said they were going to order the book, but then never did.  So the book comes out.  It's getting great reviews and the author is promoting the hell out of it on the radio.  But the largest bookstore chain in the country had no copies.  OMG!  And most authors think it's bad when the one store they are appearing at and doing a signing at doesn't get the books on time.  This is the entire chain!

Meanwhile, here's what folks are saying about this great book:

"O’Donnell clearly enjoys narrating war’s gristle along with its meat; small successes and failures ground the story in the reality of sabotage, reconnaissance, capture and escape, torture and murder. Along the way, the participants’ motivations, allegiances, thoughts and actions come alive in vigorous, exciting prose. A taut real-life thriller.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Remarkable and very readable. Patrick O’Donnell has transformed an obscure World War II spy mission into a vivid and improbable adventure yarn.”—Rick Atkinson, best-selling author of Day of Battle.

This book cries out to be made into a movie. Two heroes on the same quest, a grand setting, evil Germans, spies and traitors, and a beautiful countess. What more would it need?—The Internet Review of Books

If you are a fan of WWII nonfiction and love a dramatic and emotional story, this one's for you.  So check with your local bookstore or just buy it right here and right now.  You won't be sorry.


Announcing New Foreign Representation

Most authors don’t understand much about foreign rights.  Heck, most editors don’t understand a lot about foreign rights.  Mostly what editors know is that they are supposed to get “World” rights.  But ask them to define the “non-exclusive Open Market” and their heads may explode. 

When I license rights to a book to a publisher I always try to retain UK and translation rights.  This means that I retain the right to license the work to UK publishers and to foreign-language publishers.  After all, I’d rather be the one to license those rights, so that any advance received goes to the author and isn’t applied to the advance from the US publisher. 

A crucial part of foreign rights is the relationship with the sub-agents.  Or as I prefer to call them, the co-agents, as these folks are my business partners, representing my clients' works in other countries and trying to find deals in those countries.  As speakers of the native languages and often located in the countries in which they are working, these folks are indispensible to the success of any agency. 

I’m therefore quite pleased to announce that I have recently joined forces with two new co-agents: 

In Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) and Greece, TZC’s clients and their titles will now be co-agented by Prava i Prevodi.  Founded in 1980, Prava i Prevodi is the largest and most diversified literary agency in Eastern Europe, with principal offices in Belgrade, Budapest and Moscow.  The Agency represents clients from all segments of the publishing industry: leading US publishers, literary agencies, literary estates, and individual authors. 

They handle best-selling and award-winning authors in all areas of fiction and nonfiction for eleven Eastern European languages: Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, and Greek. 

In addition to The Zack Company, clients include Random House Publishing Group, St. Martin's Press, Grand Central Publishing, HarperCollins, numerous literary agencies and many more. 

In Italy, the firm’s clients and titles will now be co-agented by Agenzia Letteraria Internazionale srl, generally known as ALI.  ALI was founded in 1898 and represents numerous publishers and agents for Italian translation rights and Italian authors worldwide.  Clients include HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperCollins Canada & Australia, Kensington Books, Random House Canada, Gollancz, and Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

I'm looking forward to an exciting future and many new deals with our new co-agents. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

VACCINATED wins AMWA Award for 2008

The blogosphere is just on fire talking about Paul Offit’s new book, AUTISM’S FALSE PROPHETS.  I've been getting Google Alerts every day and I continue to be surprised by the passion some of the reviewers show.  Paul is supposed to appear on the TODAY show Thursday and NEWSWEEK is reportedly running a piece in the coming week or two.  If you haven't picked up this controversial book, now is the time to do so.

I’m also very pleased to report that Paul has just added another kudo to the list.  The American Medical Writers Association has recently named Paul’s last book, VACCINATED: ONE MAN’S QUEST TO DEFEAT THE WORLD’S DEADLIEST DISEASES, its first-place winner for 2008 for nonfiction directed to the public and health-care consumers.  This fascinating look at the brilliant life of vaccinologist Maurice Hilleman also covers the history of vaccines in general and is a "must" read for anyone interested in medicine and history.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Buy two copies; one for you and one for Jenny McCarthy

Last month, I celebrated my twentieth anniversary in publishing.  Coincidentally, what is probably the most important book I have ever represented has just been published:

AUSTISM’S FALSE PROPHETS:  BAD SCIENCE, RISKY MEDICINE, AND THE SEARCH FOR A CURE, by Paul Offit, MD, should be the final word on the debate that vaccines cause autism. They don’t.  But it needs the help of readers everywhere to both buy the book and get the word out, and to review the book online wherever books are sold online.  Because right now, those that believe vaccines cause autism are the very vocal minority and their actions are threatening our kids.

“Herd immunity” is an interesting thing.  I had never heard the term until I started working with Paul, who is a renowned vaccine researcher and heavy-hitter at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  It turns out that if you vaccinate enough folks, the viruses that cause disease don’t have the ability to spread.  But if enough parents refuse to have their children vaccinated, you create enough potential for the virus to spread.  Since there is always a pool of patients who don’t “convert” even after a vaccine, what happens is that they become susceptible to the virus and could suffer the same consequences as the unvaccinated.

Thus, every parent not vaccinating their children is putting other people’s children at risk. Seriously.  They might as well be driving drunk down the road with their kids in the backseat and following a school bus that makes frequent stops to drop the kids off.  At any time, these drunk drivers could kill their kids and someone else’s kid. 

As Paul describes so well in his book, the vaccines-cause-autism controversy was started by one doctor in the UK whose research was backed by personal-injury attorneys.  The “research” has been completely discredited, but parents of autistic children who believe that vaccines caused their child’s autism just won’t believe it.  It’s as though Columbus sailed to the east and arrived from the west, having proved the world is round, but the flat-Earthers just don’t believe him.  Don’t you know that Columbus is just a shill for the globe companies?  They can’t sell their fancy globes if the earth is flat, so they want you to believe it’s round. 

Right now, Jenny McCarthy, that brilliant medical expert, is leading the charge of the anti-vaxxers, while incidences of measles and other diseases that can be prevented by vaccines continue to rise, because those who don’t vaccinate their children are punching dangerous holes in our herd immunity. 

My heart goes out to all of those parents whose children have autism or ASD, but vaccines didn’t cause it.  And millions of dollars that are being spent trying to prove that vaccines cause autism could be spent researching real causes and real cures. 

One online review I read said that everyone should buy two copies of this book; one to read and one to send to Jenny McCarthy.  I love that plan.  Go for it.  Or just buy one and let everyone you know they should buy one...and to vaccinate their kids.  It’s for the good of us all.