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“And remember: you must not overwork your body, or your soul. You must not enslave yourself, as you would not enslave any other person. You must be the custodian of your self.”

 —Joyce Carol Oates, Mudwoman

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most recognized and respected American literary writers of our time. With an extensive history of writing and reading since her childhood, Oates has published over 40 novels, memoirs, plays, and poetry. She’s been honored for her contributions to the writing community by receiving the PEN Center USA Award for Lifetime Achievement, the National Humanities Medal, PEN/Malamud Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Short Story, the Bram Stoker Award for Life Achievement, the Pushcart Prize, and many others awards.

The first widely acclaimed story Oates published (as well as her most popular work) is her 1966 short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” which was famously dedicated to Bob Dylan for inspiring the story with his song “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” Other remarkable novels from Oates includes National Book Award Winner them, Oprah Book Club title We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, Black Water, and The Widow’s Story.

Internship: Rizzoli

Rizzoli, a renowned international art publisher based in Manhattan, seeks intern in Publicity Department.  Impeccable English, visual eye with attention to detail, excellent organizational skills, and knowledge of art essential.  Confident phone manner and communication skills, as well as both PC and Mac computer familiarity, are required.

Interns will learn how a book gets shepherded through publicity from beginning to end.

While this is an unpaid position, there is opportunity for course credit, and they internship offers flexible days/hours.

About the companyRizzoli International Publications specializes in high-quality and luxury art, architecture, design, lifestyle, photography, and culinary titles. Universe Publishing, a Rizzoli imprint, publishes more economically priced books in the same categories, plus pop culture and humor titles. Rizzoli also distributes English-language art and photography books by French publisher Editions Flammarion and Italian publishers Skira Editore and Mondadori.

If interested in applying, please send resume with your internship availability to nheneghan@rizzoliusa.com.  Candidates will be contacted for interviews. 

Lisa Sharkey on “Book Publishing with Celebrity Authors”

Working with celebrities to get their books published may seem daunting, but Lisa Sharkey—the Senior Vice President and the Director of Creative Development at HarperCollins Publishers—is an expert. On April 26th, Sharkey talked about the joys and challenges of working with well-known public figures on their projects in her lecture, “Book Publishing with Celebrity Authors.” This was Sharkey’s second talk as the 2016-2017 David Pecker Visiting Professor, following-up the presentation on transferable skills she gave in the fall.

With years of experience working with both intentional celebrities (actors, athletes, reality stars, etc.) and unintentional celebrities (people who became famous as a result of news story in which they are a major personality), Sharkey’s familiar with how different it is publishing and promoting a celebrity’s book versus working with a traditional writer. Through personal anecdotes and behind-the-scene details on books she’s published throughout her career, Sharkey illustrated the experience of working with people who aren’t necessarily writers themselves to publish a successful book that might even reach the New York Times bestseller list.

For the first part of her presentation, Sharkey outlined the top joys of working with celebrities. Despite most of the celebrities she works with not being professional writers for their day-jobs, Sharkey says that these books are still important to them “to their legacies.” They value the opportunity to publish their stories without having them filtered through the press for their families and friends—and, of course, for the fans. Fans of celebrities also make a huge difference in how big the book signings and sales will be and what sort of appearances they can do.

Fans “crave the first-person stories of celebrity lives” and are interested in keeping celebrity books “on their nightstand,” enough so that books by celebrities are consistently reliable holiday gift sellers, such as Alec Baldwin’s memoir Nevertheless and Gabby Douglas’s autobiography Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith. Sharkey also reveals that celebrities are used to being in the spotlight and are sociable, always camera-ready, and “rule” social media, which are all important elements for the successful marketing of books. Any area of weakness they have, Sharkey said, are also easy to deal with since celebrities generally “know what they don’t know” and are open to accepting that they need help in an arena beyond what they’re famous for.

The challenges working with celebrities are also something different than working with traditional authors. Entourages, the amplified fear of failure, and unrealistic expectations all add to the list of struggles Sharkey has dealt with when working with celebrity authors. There’s also the issue of how in-demand they are; getting celebrities to do book promotions when they’re already so busy and marketplace collisions with them when they are trying to advertise other products, are stand-out instances of how their fame can make them difficult to work with. Also, not every celebrity author has the skill to write their own books despite their desire to. Sharkey says that ghostwriters are often necessary to always have ready to assist the celebrity authors.

The pros and cons aside, working with celebrities is always memorable for Sharkey. She has met Charles, the Prince of Wales, at the Clarence House while working with him on his book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, and sharing tea with royalty in a once in a lifetime moment. She discussed the intensity of working with Jenna Miscavige Hill on her book exposing scientology, Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, and recalled a time where the two asked their driver to ditch a suspicious car following them that Hill thought might be associated with Scientology. Rock star front man of Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, shared with her how emotionally moved he was over the success of his autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock, which was a chance to share, for the first time, his challenges growing up and making it through life from his point-of-view.

Lisa Sharkey with her intern and current Pace student, Jennifer Thompson

Sharkey had already shared her interesting career with us in the fall lecture, so it was fascinating to listen to her talk about the work she does getting celebrities to open up and to be honest about their lives and work in their books. As with her previous talk, Sharkey had no trouble keeping everyone invested in her talk through insightful anecdotes and straightforward, honest details about a part of the publishing industry that can feel secret and elusive to publishing students.

We appreciate and thank Sharkey for giving another well-informed and valuable talk, and for concluding her David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professor lectures on such a memorable note.

Link of the Week: Social Media Book Tags

Keeping track of social media tags for books makes it easier to follow trends and interact with other people about what’s popular in publishing.

Figuring out the tags most commonly used to share books on Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platforms can open up a lot of possibilities. Whether you’re trying to keep up with what’s popular, share what you’re reading, or market up-and-coming books getting published, the right tag can make the difference between getting noticed or slipping under the radar.

#Bookstagram on Twitter and Instagram is perhaps the most widely used hashtag for sharing all things books. Given the popularity of the tag, the community of casual to heavy #bookstagram users generates plenty of online advice on how to succesfully use and navigate the tag, which has more than 10 million posts on Instagram alone.

Other lesser-used but still popular tags include bookwormbibliophileinstabooksbooktography, booknerd, bookaholic, and booklove. Finding and including niche tags to get in touch with a particular readership, such as yalit and yafiction for Young Adult books, can also be beneficial to clicking with the right audience. Using and being aware of the tags is important on sites where the right hashtag can unlock more viewers, or the right kind of audience, versus not getting noticed at all. So keep checking out tags and seeing what works for projects that trend to stay in-the-know on tag-heavy social sites!

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“Whether we change our lives or do nothing, we have responded. To do nothing is to do something.”

Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer is an American novelist and activist with Polish roots. Foer began to seriously pursue writing as a career after working closely with his thesis advisor, Joyce Carol Oates, during his time at Princeton. His thesis won him Princeton’s Senior Creative Writing Thesis Prize, which he then expanded and made into his first novel, Everything is Illuminated. Foer followed this up with what is perhaps his most well-known book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which incorporates visuals to tell a story surrounding the 9/11 tragedy. His most recent novel, Here I Am, is a fictional retelling of a family inspired by his own life. Other projects he’s worked on include his nonfiction animal rights activism book Eating Animals, and his play on Bruno Schulz‘s book The Street of Crocodiles by blocking out text to create a new story in Tree of Codes.