Pub Rants

Publishing—Redefining Old School

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STATUS: It’s still crazy but I actually felt like I accomplished several tasks that needed to be handled. So, thumbs up.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? BARRACUDA by Heart

Right now I’m reading Thomas Freidman’s THE WORLD IS FLAT for my book club that’s meeting on Sunday.

And today I was given a living example of how truly flat the world is.

It used to be that you had to live in New York to do my job—agenting. Or you had to live in New York to be a successful publisher.

It’s really not true any longer and mainly because of the precepts outlined in Freidman’s book.

For example, I had lunch with Fred Ramey of Unbridled Books today. (A month ago he broke my heart when he passed on a literary novel of mine that I thought was perfect for his house. And I was right, sort of, because it came really, really close for him. I forgave him over lunch).

But Fred has been in this biz for many years (I’ll be nice and not say how long) and not in New York.

He and his business partner Greg Michalsen have been successfully running Unbridled Books (a publishing house dedicated to publishing novels of rich literary quality—remember those?) for several years now and they don’t even live in the same town.

Fred lives here in Denver; Greg lives in Columbia, Missouri.

And this was true even when they were the Blue Hen Imprint at Putnam several years ago.

They just hired a new web marketing manager. She’s on the East Coast.

The world is flat in the sense that the whole company doesn’t need to geographically be located in one place to succeed.

Publishing Old School—great books that might actual enter the literary canon—but done in a new school, world is flat, let’s take advantage of all technology has to offer, kind of way.

Isn’t that how revolutions happen?

So if you haven’t picked up a literary work of fiction in a while, why not mosey on over to the website and check out this great title SMALL ACTS OF SEX AND ELECTRICITY. Sample pages are on the website but alas, not the first couple of pages, which are a little shocking.

I guarantee you won’t be able to stop reading,

Some folks might call it women’s fiction. Fine. We don’t call Chuck Palahniuk men’s fiction but whatever.

It’s high octane fiction and here’s your chance to support a house that still has an Old School vision that literary fiction is worth publishing.

18 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    Kristin, Could you please, please expand on your little quip regarding the label women’s fiction. Do you think it’s a useless label? Do you suggest we represent our work more specifically, i.e. literary, commercial, etc. Could you please dedicate a blog to the various categories that are non-genre (which are fairly self-explanatory). I think there’s a lot of confusion regarding the terms, mainstream, contemporary, women’s fiction, chick-lit, and even literary.

  2. Julie said:

    The world IS flat. Not ten minutes ago, I was thinking about how I still need to read The Tipping Point and was trying to remember the name of The World is Flat, because I want to read it, too. It was highly recommended by my grad school economics prof.

    Then I wandered over and read your blog, and it was there on a platter.

    How bizzah.

  3. Lexie Ward said:

    I’ve really been in the mood for some good lit lately for some reason (I read most everything, but I have these ‘moods’). I’m glad to hear there are still those out there interested in publishing these types of books!

  4. Kimber An said:

    I have Crunchy Critters all over the United States, Canada, and Japan. And I’m racking up Blog Buddies too. I think the Internet is the biggest development since the printing press. Hey, Lexie! (I’m waving) I’ve been in the mood for the classics which inspired me from childhood: Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Ivanhoe, and The Black Arrow. I loved the adventure, but was always so annoyed that the girls didn’t get to have any fun, swinging through the trees and sword fighting.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Okay, I must be totally out of it. This is the second piece of crap an agent has posted in the last few days as being something wonderful. What’s wonderful about rambling, disjointed prose that makes absolutely no sense? I guess this must be what schools are teaching these days, but I had no trouble not reading on. I got to page 4 and just couldn’t force myself to read another word.

  6. Deadiquette said:

    The world really is flat. I bumped into my early childhood best friend the other day when I hit the next blog button on Blogspot. What were the chances? Awesome thoughts on literary fiction. I love it, I read it, (shh, don’t tell, have written it,too), and I’m thrilled to see a publisher interested in publishing good books.

  7. farrout said:

    The world is flat and Pluto has been relegated to the underworld over which it holds dominion. If the two co-joined energies unite they might spawn more literary fiction fodder, ala Doris Lessing.
    Ah. . .

    (It was good to read/hear this, Kristin. Good literature is NOT dead.)

  8. Amie Stuart said:

    You’re right it does sound good. And I’m more a commercial fiction girl but a good book is a good book!

    I’ve added it to my wishlist!

  9. Ryan Field said:

    You know, while the world may be flat, and all that good stuff, those of us who live in New York read this book ages ago.

  10. Anonymous said:

    You can read the first two pages of that book by going to the publisher’s site and clicking on “Chapter 1”. The author has the guy moving while in “deep REM sleep”, which is impossible (REM is light sleep and one’s muscles are paralyzed) – still, this isn’t a biology text. Also, I loathe the lack of quote marks. Otherwise I quite enjoyed it. It was too ponderous for me to want to read further, but I can see the appeal.

  11. Anonymous said:

    I hate that mentality that “those of us who live in New York read this book ages ago.” Thank God for agents like Kristin who demonstrate that NY does not have the patent on literature. Give me a break. We read on the west coast too.

  12. Ryan Field said:

    Didn’t mean it that way (as an ouch), but it’s true. That book has been out and around for a while now. In New York it was dinner party conversation for many weeks, but you wouldn’t mention it today.

    As for: I hate that mentality that “those of us who live in New York read this book ages ago.” Thank God for agents like Kristin who demonstrate that NY does not have the patent on literature. Give me a break. We read on the west coast too. …The west coast is big; I’m sure it was read in LA as quickly as it was in NY. And probably Boston, too. Don’t be so touchy,dear…I’m sure you can order the Sunday NYT, too.