July/August 2014

Our Literary Agents Issue features an in-depth look at the author-agent relationship, including stories of how ten authors found representation and an extensive Q&A with agent PJ Mark of Janklow & Nesbit Associates; as well as a profile of legendary novelist James Lee Burke by Benjamin Percy; a roundup of the summer's best debut novels; tips on how to keep your book’s buzz alive; the art of reading Lauren Slater; and much more.


A Profile of James Lee Burke

by Benjamin Percy
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The author of thirty-three novels, including his latest, Wayfaring Stranger, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in July, James Lee Burke is larger than any of the genres—crime, mystery, thriller—critics use to label his work. At seventy-...

First Fiction 2014

by Staff
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For our fourteenth annual roundup of the summer’s best debut fiction, we asked five established authors—Maggie Shipstead, Victor LaValle, Ru Freeman, Chad Harbach, and Amanda Eyre Ward—to introduce this year’s group of talented debut authors:...

Special Section

Agents & Editors: PJ Mark

by Michael Szczerban

PJ Mark, whose clients include Samantha Hunt, Wayne Koestenbaum, Dinaw Mengestu, Maggie Nelson, Ed Park, and Josh Weil, talks about what writers can do to improve their chances of success, why fiction is harder to sell than nonfiction, and the importance of trusting your heart.

How I Found My Agent: Ten Authors on Meeting the One

by Kevin Nance
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Karen Russell, Darin Strauss, and Colson Whitehead are among the ten writers who share their experiences of finding an agent.

How I Found My Writer: Five Agents on the Search

by Michael Bourne
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Agents Molly Friedrich, Jeff Kleinman, and Emma Sweeney, among others, share their stories of finding new talent—often through unexpected circumstances.

The Aha! Moment: Ethan Bassoff of Lippincott Massie McQuilkin

by Michael Bourne
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An agent examines the query letter that piqued his interest and introduced him to The Wild Oats Project, a memoir by Robin Rinaldi.  

News and Trends

Atavist Books Puts Digital First

by Rachael Hanel

A new digital-first publisher launched in March of this year with the novella Sleep Donation by best-selling author Karen Russell, signaling a new benchmark in digital literature’s continued march toward prominence.

Literary MagNet

by Travis Kurowski

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue’s MagNet features Osiris, Two Lines, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Literary Review, and Stonecutter.

Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Shane Jones’s Crystal Eaters and Maria Venegas’s Bulletproof Vest, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

Small Press Points: Augury Books

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the innovation and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features Augury Books, an independent poetry press based in New York City that recently expanded to include story collections and nonfiction books to its catalogue.

Miss the Hiss of Voices on Vinyl?

by Jonathan Vatner

Harry and Lynne Sharon Schwartz revive the Calliope Author Readings, their series of original recordings from the 1960s by novelists James Baldwin, Philip Roth, John Updike, and others in their early careers—by converting the original vinyl recordings to digital.


The Written Image: Not Nothing

by Staff

Two forthcoming books from Siglio Press collect the art and writing of Ray Johnson, pop artist and founder of the New York Correspondence School.

The Practical Writer

My Book Is a Year Old, Now What? How to Keep the Buzz Alive

by Midge Raymond
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A fiction writer and publisher discusses the many ways that authors can continue to promote their work long after the shine of a new release has faded.

The Literary Life

The Art of Reading Lauren Slater

by William Giraldi
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In her genre-defying book Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, published in 2000 by Random House, Lauren Slater toys with the conventions of fact, fiction, memory, and art, introducing fabricated occurrences and physical conditions to unveil the...

Why We Write: The Wounded and Enduring

by Wendy Brown-Baez
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Through her work with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, a poet discovers that writing can grant a type of freedom to incarcerated men—and in the process finds her own sense of peace in the wake of personal trauma.