“This brief debut packs a serious punch and will leave readers stunned with Calvin’s grim options.”
—Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2013
I’m an editor first, and a publisher by default. We launched namelos on Barack Obama’s first inauguration day to address a need that publishers once filled, but had long-since abdicated: encouraging and supporting authors. When I started at FSG in the late ‘70s, an editor’s job was to find, cultivate, and bring to publication writers. We all said, proudly, ”I don’t publish books, I publish authors.” Now the new (unspoken) mantra sounds more like, “I don’t publish authors, I publish franchises.”Continue Reading...
The first namelos Writers’ Workshop took place on October 26-29, 2012, at the Madison Hotel in Morristown, New Jersey. Four of us met with fourteen writers, all writing novels. In preparation for the workshop, working with four to six authors each, the editors read and annotated complete drafts of each novel and read a sample of all the novels. The writers also read samples of all the novels. Everyone arrived in a more or less timely manner on Friday afternoon for a reception and then moved on to dinner, after which we gave the writers their annotated manuscripts to review. At 8 AM Saturday morning we got down to work, starting with a discussion lead by Stephen on plot, informed by his conviction that in the Poetics Aristotle has a great deal to say that is of practical use to any writer. We all then moved into the heart of the workshop, one-on-one meetings to review the edited manuscripts. We broke for lunch, then went back to a second round of meetings. Writers were given the opportunity to meet with the other editors, either to get their impressions of the samples they’d read or to discuss other projects. Everyone got to rest from 5-6 PM when we met for dinner. People tended to go to their rooms after dinner to recover from the long day. Sunday began with a discussion lead by Joy on character, then moved on for two more rounds of meetings. Meanwhile Superstorm Sandy was making its way north and flights were starting to be being cancelled. We were dead center in its path, so we decided to accelerate the schedule and Carolyn lead a discussion on revision that was scheduled for Monday morning just before dinner on Sunday. Thereafter some people who were driving headed home. Those who stayed on had a long and fairly riotous dinner. On Monday morning all but seven, who were stranded by flight cancellations, were on their way.
It took a week for all of those who remained to get home, and what a week it was! There are stories to be told, but they are theirs to tell. Here, looking none the worse for wear, are the intrepid namelos seven!
L to R: Nancy Bo Flood, Joy Neaves, Carol ”Blackbird” Edson, Jean Battey, Denise Doyen, Donna O’Reilly-Cull, Ann Jacobus Kordahl.
All in all the workshop was full of camaraderie, constructive and productive work, good humor, and memorable experiences. We were gratified and encouraged enough to plan future workshops, one in May, 2013, in North Andover, MA, and then in October, 2013, in Asheville, NC.
From October 26-29 we will be conducting the first namelos writer’s workshop at the Madison Hotel in Morristown, New Jersey. Karen Klockner, Joy Neaves, Carolyn Coman and I will work with fourteen writers on their novels in progress. The participants’ experience ranges from first attempts at writing a novel to published authors with several novels under their belts seeking to improve their craft. Each author will work closely with an editor who will have read the complete draft and annotated it prior to the workshop. They will meet twice a day one-on-one to assess the state of the manuscript and suss out the best strategies for revision. Each morning the group will gather early for a seminar: I will talk about the structure of plot, Joy will examine aspects of character, and Carolyn will explore the process of revision. Participants will have ample opportunity to talk with each of the editors individually, to get to know the other writers, and to reflect and write. Over meals we will share our backgrounds and aspirations. We find this kind of workshop exhilarating and exhausting, enabling some of the most productive and rewarding work we do. Our intention is for this to be an intimate, intense, and immersive experience.
As always, a few good books.
These days the publishing industry seems to be obsessed with multivolume dystopian sagas, no doubt hoping to cash in on the audience addicted to THE HUNGER GAMES et al. That’s fine, but we believe young people are interested in contemporary realism and historical fiction as well. Here are some of the books we are working on and their tentative publication dates.
Penguin has acquired Author Solutions, a five-year-old fee-for-services publishing company.