Friday, August 4, 2017

The story behind the event: Bob Miller, publisher of Flatiron, talking about their books on August 9

We've had several interested folks asking about our conversation with Bob Miller on August 9, and I thought it would be interesting to talk about how this came about. We get our occasional share of publishing visitors to Boswell. Most of the time it's last minute - like our friend from University of Chicago who comes up once a year to see family, or the editor at Penguin Random House who visits with a close friend in the area. Or a New York agent who comes back to see family.

Occasionally someone higher up in the sales chain will visit along with one of our sales reps. And we've had a few high-level publicity types visit with their authors while on tour. But a planned visit from someone overseeing editorial? It's been a long time, though it's not unknown for an editor or publisher to mention they hope to see the store one day.

The idea to take what was probably a dinner to talk about the state of publishing, bookstores, and what's going on at Flatiron and make it a public talk is not wholly without precendent in Milwaukee. On one hand, I've worked at numerous writing and publishing conferences that have featured editors and agents. SCBWI Wisconsin, for example, is having their annual meeting in September (this year it's in Wisconsin Dells and maybe it's time for you to join the organization if you're interested in writing or illustrating children's books) and they've got at least one editor speaking.

And then there was the old tradition of David Schwartz bringing editors in to speak to booksellers. He hosted a number of folks for dinner, and then would have them speak to some of us on their careers, their books, and the state of publishing. I have particularly fond memories of a talk from Elizabeth Sifton, a well-known editor at Praeger (once a force in trade publishing, and now remains as an academic imprint), Viking, Knopf, and Farrar Straus Giroux, where she also oversaw the Hill and Wang imprint. Read more about her in this Huffington Post biographical listing. My former colleagues and I still talk about how great this event was.

Put the two ideas together and we've got a talk from a major publishing figure that's open to the public. And yes, since we're a bookstore, there's a list of books. Here it is.

Out now, alphabetized by title:
--Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough (you may remember that we hosted Ms. Pinborough)
--Carnaval, by Stephanie Garber
--The Dry, by Jane Harper
--The Fact of a Body, by Alexandria Marzano Lesnevich
--Food, Health, and Happiness, by Oprah Winfrey
--Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson (Lawson also came to Boswell, for the hardcover edition)
--If I Was Your Girl, by Meredith Russo
--Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton (in paperback on September 12)
--Man of the Year, a memoir by Lou Cove
--Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of Wu-Tang Clan's Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America's New Public Enemy #1, by Cyrus Bozorgmehr
--The People We Hate at the Wedding, by Grant Gider
--Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, by Sharon Salzberg
--The Secret History of Twin Peaks, by Mark Frost
--Truly, Madly, Guilty, by Liane Moriarty

And here are five books coming out in the future:
--The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, by Cherise Wolas (on sale August 29)
--Girls Made of Snow and Glass, by Melissa Bashardoust (on sale September 5)
--Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast, by Marc Maron (on sale October 10)
--The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert (on sale January 30, 2018)
--Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney (on sale March 13)

One last thing to note. Miller's Flatiron fiction program is run by Amy Einhorn, late of Amy Einhorn books, and Boswellian Sharon is enough of a fan that she's on the list to get manuscripts as an early reader. She's already read Sometimes I Lie and she's already got her recommendation written.

"Amber Reynolds is a radio presenter who is in a coma at the beginning of the novel. We are privy to her thoughts, as well as her diary when she was a child, and the events leading up to the event that placed her in the hospital. I assumed that this was the latest in a slew of books vying to be the latest Girl on the Train. However, this thriller definitely elevates the genre. The story is certainly gripping, and the narrative cleverly constructed. My inner Nancy Drew was quite disappointed not to be able to figure out the twist before it occurred, creating a compulsive desire to find out WHAT HAPPENS. A rapid-paced and exciting read!" Sharon K. Nagel, reviewing Sometimes I Lie. We can hold a copy for you when it comes in next March. You don't even need to register.)

And yes, you probably just heard about a major deal signed by Flatiron for a book by James Comey. We might chat about that too.

Want to know more about Bob Miller? Here's a profile in Shelf Awareness. And here's a nice description of him from Kristine Carlson's blog. Carlson's late husband was published by Miller when he was at Hyperion Books You remember Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, right? Carlson writes: "Having founded Hyperion for Disney in 1990, Bob was its president and publisher until 2008. He began his career at St. Martin’s Press and has also worked at Delacorte Press, HarperCollins, and Workman. He has published such authors as David Halberstam, Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, Mitch Albom, and Randy Pausch, Richard. . . and ME! Miller was hired to launch Flatiron Books in 2013; the division has had 21 New York Times bestsellers in its first two years of publishing, including four #1 New York Times bestsellers."

Maybe you'll find your next favorite book at this event. And maybe you'll just get some enlightenment about what's going on in publishing today. Maybe both! Miller will be at Boswell on Wednesday, August 9, 7 pm.

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