(Tired) Thoughts from the London Book Fair

 Books, Current Affairs, Josh Getzler, Writing  Comments Off on (Tired) Thoughts from the London Book Fair
Apr 142015

Josh Getzler

I got into London at 9:30 this morning and had my first meeting at 12. Yep, it’s London Book Fair time again, when everyone says to me “Oh you lucky man, you get to spend the better part of a week in London.”

I, on the other hand, say “Oh, you mean I get to have 28 meetings in 48 hours in a crowded zoo of a Rights Center, trying to remember if my next meeting is with Spain or Germany, whether I’ve met with this person or not, and am I ever going to eat?

Yes, it’s fun, and I love it. I mean, I’m beat—I have slept two out of the past 36 hours and my first meeting stood me up. But I started my day with a lunch with my wonderful client Elaine Powell, ended my workday at a cocktail party for a publisher, and am writing this at a pub with a pint of Trinity Pale Ale. So, I mean, life doesn’t exactly suck.

And I got to spend my day talking to people who spend their days the way I do—thinking about the best books they’ve read recently and how they can convince the most people to buy those books. They just do it in Portugal or the Netherlands or Israel, which is the point of the London Book Fair—it’s a gathering of book folks from around the world who want to figure out what’s Out There.

Publishers advertise their lists in Trade Show booths, sure. But everywhere you look people are sitting across from each other with notebooks or tablets, talking about their books—how certain markets can’t sell paranormal romance while others are dying for dark domestic dramas; which countries need a hardcover publication to show you are serious, while other countries have basically frozen their market until their fiscal situation improves.

There is an abundance of air-kissing and cardboard espresso cups, of eye-rolling and shrugging and tweeting. When I worked in baseball, my wife always said that I enjoyed the Winter Meetings trade show more than I had any right to; I believe the same is true of the London Book Fair. It’s part class reunion and part convention, with elements of speed dating and fraternity rush. But with books. In London. Where you can end your day with a pint of Trinity.  


Mostly Done

 Books, Josh Getzler, Writing  Comments Off on Mostly Done
Apr 012015

Josh Getzler


I’ve been working with a client for most of the past year on a thriller he’s writing. He’s a multiply-published author looking to start a new series, and the work he is doing is exciting and fresh.


A few months ago, he was well past halfway done, when we realized that if he pushed on, we might be able to submit his book and make a new deal—and a splash—if we were able to submit the book before the London Book Fair in mid-April. We worked backward and assigned, well, yesterday as the drop-dead date for him to finish if we wanted any shot of making the deal we were looking for.


So for the past six weeks or so, sleeping very little and subsisting, it seems, largely on bourbon, he soldiered on. Finally, on Thursday night, he sent me the manuscript, albeit without the last 20 or so pages, which he was planning to complete over the weekend and give me after I read the first 90% of the book. Which I did, with him sitting by the computer as I sent along notes as I went through the second half.


The next morning, when we were getting dressed, my wife asked “so, you ready to send it over?”


And I paused. I’d been up much of the night. Because I realized that, in fact, I wasn’t ready to send it in. Not because the book isn’t good—it is, very much so. It’s interesting and scary and moves like crazy. There’s a strong protagonist and a terrific, almost equivalent, antagonist. I think we could make a deal right now.


But it wouldn’t be the right deal. Because the book is only mostly done, to paraphrase from Miracle Max. That means it’s partly not-done. There’s some layering of backstory that needs to happen; a couple of explanations, some description, a little tweaking of language. Maybe seven notes, all told, which might take three days of reasonable work. Not a huge deal. Except that then we would miss our window for London.


Part of an agent’s job is to know when to be aggressive, know when to push even when you know something isn’t perfect. And this was a tough one because the difference, in my mind, is in degree, not in absolute value. So I went to the office, spoke to the author, explained my issues, and discussed his options. Ultimately we decided to talk to the most likely editor and be frank—ask whether he’d rather crash-read the mostly-done version and potentially have the opportunity to sell foreign rights at the London Fair; or whether he’d rather wait a few weeks until after the fair to see and evaluate the more well-scrubbed version, and possibly sell it at BEA at the end of May. In the end it was somewhat academic. The editor had a serious conflict that would have likely made him need to read this very long book almost overnight (which is hardly ideal and, I’ve found, makes editors cranky even if it’s kind of exciting); so weighing the options we decided to let the author make the changes.


I emailed him: “Go take a nap.” The response was priceless: “I am about to cry. My liver and I thank you.”


I don’t know whether we are giving up a sale or two overseas by delaying until after the London Book Fair. But I know this: The editor will have the chance to evaluate the very best this author will have to give, and not need to do it under duress. I suspect that if we are able to make a deal, it will be the right one, and it will all work out. Sometimes the best course of action is to slow down, even when everything in you wants to step on the gas.

Je Suis Cartoonist–Guest Post

 Books, Current Affairs, guest blogger, Josh Getzler, Writing  Comments Off on Je Suis Cartoonist–Guest Post
Mar 242015

Joe Newman-Getzler


(Note: A rational, thoughtful take on the Charlie Hebdo shootings, from the perspective of a 15 year old artist who sometimes likes to be a bit edgy. It brings you up short, doesn't it…? JG)

On January 7, 2015, two masked men attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine famous for its cartoons, killing 11 people and injuring 11 more.  This news shocked the world, as many were surprised that a magazine intended to make people laugh could lead to so much bloodshed. Certainly, the news surprised me. Seeing as I am a cartoonist myself, it definitely made me both worried and fascinated by how simple drawings on paper could lead to something like this.

For those who don’t know, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons are generally designed to provoke. Many of their cartoons depict taboo subjects, such as the sex slaves taken by Boco Haram militants; a threeway between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and several covers depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad (“100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter!” he says on one of them).

Of course, there have been many cartoonists in the past whose cartoons have been designed to provoke strong emotions. As far back as 1831, Honore Daumier drew a portrait of the French King Louis-Philippe entitled “Gargantua,” which showed the king as a Goliath-like beast swallowing sacks of money fed to him by his subjects. The cartoon was prevented from being printed, and both Daumier and his editor Charles Philipon were sentenced to jail time and had to pay a fine. But by then, word had already gotten around about the drawing, and its notoriety led to Daumier and Philipon finding work again[1]

Another notable cartoonist to rebel against the system was Ralph Bakshi. Bakshi was an animator for the animation studio Terrytoons in the 1960s before moving on to make independent feature films. His first, Fritz the Cat, based on the underground comic by R. Crumb, became the first animated feature to earn an X rating. Bakshi’s films tended to be about New York City and the goings-on of its seedier denizens. One of his most notable films was Coonskin, a modern-day take on Song of the South that depicted three black main characters leaving the South and coming to Harlem, only to be confronted by oppression and discrimination. The film was wildly controversial upon its release, with the Congress of Racial Equality protesting its release and the film’s original distributor pulling out, despite the fact that the film was meant to satirize ethnic stereotypes, not reinforce them.

So, why do I bring up Daumier and Bakshi? Because their cartoons may have provoked many people, but they still had an overall point. Daumier was making a point about how the king was getting wealthy off of his citizens’ hard-earned money, and Bakshi was showing the life of the lower-class and the injustice of racism. The Charlie Hebdo cartoons to the untrained eye, seem to do little but provoke for the sake of provoking, and maybe a laugh now and then. Is there any underlying message in this cartoons? Or are they just there to provoke?

Luz, a cartoonist who survived the attacks, stated that “Since the ‘60s, [it] has always sought to break taboos and shatter symbols and every possible type of fanaticism.”[i] In that sense, there’s nothing wrong with what the Hebdo cartoonists do. Certainly, fanaticism of any type could be taken down a peg, and cartoons have forever been a way to take the high and mighty and bring them down to the level of the common man (although it is ironic that a magazine intended to attack fanatics was then attacked by fanatics). It puts a face behind the cartoons, and, to some, it stops the cartoons from being completely mean-spirited attacks on religious and social beliefs.

Frankly, I think everyone has a right to speak their mind about certain subjects. That’s what freedom of speech is all about, right? So, in that sense, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists have every right to continue making their cartoons. But the question is, should they? You see, a cartoon depicting Mohammed isn’t just offensive to the Islamic radicals who burst into the offices. They’re offensive to anyone in the Muslim faith, as their law strictly dictates that none can create depictions of their prophet (not to mention anyone who has respect for other peoples’ customs). By not just drawing the Prophet, but also drawing him in very degrading positions, they don’t seem to be doing much more than pointing and laughing, like schoolyard bullies. They have a right to do it under free speech, but it still feels pretty insensitive toward an entire religion.

Does this mean that the shooters were justified? Absolutely not. Whether or not the cartoons were offensive, violence is never the answer, and killing people just for their art is an example of stifling freedom of speech. Though the cartoons can be considered offensive, they still had the right to make them. But, like I said before, it does get you to thinking when simple strokes of pencil or pen on paper can lead to reactions like these.

[1] Cartoon Brew

[i] VICE News


The Importance of the Concert T-shirt

 Current Affairs, Josh Getzler, Music  Comments Off on The Importance of the Concert T-shirt
Mar 112015

Josh Getzler

Last night, my wife Amanda and I took our two older kids—almost 16 year old Joe and 12 year old daughter JJ—to see Billy Joel play his monthly club date at Madison Square Garden in an intimate performance for 19,000 of his closest friends. Amanda and I had seen him a few months ago, and these two of our three children went crazy and begged us for tickets as a Chanukah present. (Child #3, 11 year old daughter Ita, declined the ticket because the names of the musicians were not Harry, Liam or Niall, and the only thing that matters is 1D, duh (eye roll).

The night before we went, Amanda and I had a discussion of what kind of concessions crap the kids would be allowed to eat and drink, and whether we’d try to get sandwiches through security. But then we got to the discussion of whether part of the present was a concert t-shirt if they enjoyed the show, Amanda was skeptical. “They’re forty dollars and they’ll grow out of them. They don’t need shirts.” I was appalled, no more so than because she was wearing my tattered tie-dyed Dylan and the Dead t-shirt from 1987, which she co-opted to knock around in because of its worn perfection.

Let me tell you my feelings about concert t-shirts. I fundamentally believe they are ineffable symbols of growing up; they provide memories of happy moments, of watching musicians you have heard playing songs you know, pumping your arms and tilting your head back and singing; or pogoing in a club or holding hands during a date.

In my high school, wearing your t-shirt from the previous night’s big concert—at the time it would have been the Rolling Stones or U2 or Springsteen or the Dead, or for one month in eighth grade The Kinks; and if you were in certain social groups Black Sabbath or Rush or even Dio; or in others the Ramones or in others The Smiths—gave you stature, signified who you wanted to be that day. (It also was a big deal if you wore one of those t-shirts on a Tuesday or Wednesday because that meant your parents gave you a degree of freedom, and also could afford to get you frivolous tickets to a band on a school night.)

Of course, those t-shirts from the early 80s didn’t cost any $40. They were ten dollars in the parking lot of the Brendan Byrne Arena, and they were black and they had the dates and cities of the tour on the back. Often they had three-quarter-length jersey sleeves in different bright colors—I remember a Jethro Tull Broadsword and the Beast jersey with incongruous powder blue sleeves that I wore until I couldn’t see Ian Anderson’s freaky eyes anymore. But I could replay that concert better than if I could see videos on YouTube when I put on that t-shirt, much in the way that I could remember being underwhelmed by the long and not-terribly-exciting show that the Dead put on with Dylan that day at Giants Stadium. I just loved that particular tie-dye shirt.


And the concert t-shirt was also the symbol of a particular time. By the time I was in college I no longer needed a concert shirt—I had limited spending money when I went to see bands, and usually bought beer instead. So these thin, faded shirts got thinner and more ragged (and eventually considerably snugger) as I got older, and became the memories of adolescence with their own kind of nostalgic purity.

So when I looked over during Only the Good Die Young and saw the kids laughing and singing along, I knew that we needed to do it. There were no black market shirts in the lobby of the Garden, or in the corridor leading to the subway; so we went to the stand and got them their shirts. A little better quality, and softer and somewhat more artsy–and neither kid wanted the jersey–but cool. They both wear uniforms stop school so they couldn’t wear the silent brag of the Morning After t-shirt (but they had posted about the show on Facebook and Instagram anyway, so that was taken care of before the second encore). But when I came home and JJ ran out of her room to say hi, she had on her Still Rock n Roll To Me shirt. And I felt unreasonably proud.   

JJ Billy Joel
JJ Billy Joel
JJ Billy Joel

A little Perspective On a(nother) Snowy Morning in Chelsea

 Books, Current Affairs, Josh Getzler, Music  Comments Off on A little Perspective On a(nother) Snowy Morning in Chelsea
Mar 042015

Josh Getzler



On one hand, I’m tired, stressed-out, and am juggling a million important things in work and at home. I want my children to be happy and well-adjusted, the bills to be paid, my clients to be satisfied, and have a chance to talk to my wife over supper before 9:30 on an average weeknight. And it’s snowing. Again. I never want to see my boots and gloves again.

On the other hand, I have boots and gloves and a warm office and a family that loves me (most of the time). I am trying to tweak plot points in novels and arguing over marketing plans, not singing doo-wop in the subway for handouts or dodging rockets in Donetsk or wondering whether my job will still be around in six months.

Plus my son just asked me whether I think 16 is a good age to start listening to Led Zeppelin.

Have a good day, and watch out for those bustles in your hedge rows.

Big Pride

 Books, Current Affairs, Josh Getzler, Writing  Comments Off on Big Pride
Feb 182015


Josh Getzler


OK, most of the time I don’t talk about any specific sales I make. I like to get into more general discussions of publishing, trying to give whatever insider impressions of the industry I can from my experiences without talking overmuch about any of my clients individually. It’s kind of like when my middle daughter tries to trick me into saying that I love her better than my other kids. I roll my eyes and say “Yes honey, you are the best middle child I have.”

So, 51 clients of mine, there are no favorites (except YOU…right. You.) Now I’m going to talk about two deals I was able to announce the past week. It’s remarkable that they appeared on the same weekly Deal Report from Publishers Marketplace, since I’ve been working with them, combined, for longer than I’ve been in Publishing! So congratulations Tania Roxborogh and Paul Goldberg—I’m incredibly proud to have sold your books.

I met both of these talented writers when I was still at Writers House, learning to be an agent. Paul Goldberg, a muckraking journalist in the world of oncology, had written…a novel about four Soviet intellectuals trying to kill Stalin. Tania Roxborogh, a teacher and accomplished author in her native New Zealand, had written a sequel of sorts to Macbeth, which was about to be published by Penguin New Zealand. She wanted to cross over to the United States, and approached me to represent her.   Her book, Banquo’s Son, was a top-five best seller in New Zealand and won several end-of-year awards, and the sequels also were best sellers Down Under.

Goldberg, in the meantime, co-wrote a nonfiction book about the over- and under-treatment of cancer victims with American Cancer Society Chief Medical Officer Dr. Otis Brawley, which was published successfully by St. Martin's Press. And we periodically showed editors Levinson’s Sword, as the novel was called, but while everyone recognized Paul’s writing skill, which is prodigious, it was such an odd, unconventional book that we knew it would take a particular kind of editor to take it on.

The issue with Banquo’s Son was a bit different; it had to do less with whether it would be read than where it would be placed on the shelves. That’s because it’s a coming of age story, but where the protagonist starts book 1 as a 21 year-old, he ends book 3 as a twice-married father. The series is, as we say, a Razzle: It’s not a candy, not a gum. Too old to be YA…but it feels like YA. We needed a publisher where shelf space was less important.

And in the end, right before we left for Christmas, we found our homes. For Goldberg’s cross of Lear and Pushkin, now called The Yid, we found James Meador, who’s the head of publicity for Picador and Henry Holt. James wanted an unusual, but brilliant novel to take on and edit as a special project. And getting to know James, I understand precisely why he loved and appreciated The Yid.

We ended up with Emilie Marneur at Thomas & Mercer with Banquo’s Son because of Emilie’s marvelous handling of another book I represent, Elaine Powell’s novel about a knight and a nun during the reign of Henry II. One day Tania asked me whether it would make sense to try Emilie for Banquo. I’d gone to Amazon’s children’s division when we submitted the book as YA. But it’s not a traditional thriller. But Emilie understood that Tania’s novel of politics, love and adventure could potentially find the kind of audience that Elaine’s The Fifth Knight and its sequel has.

I can’t wait to find out. Watch out in a year for The Yid and Banquo’s Son. And if you’ve been out with a book, either looking for an editor or an agent, discouraged at the wait, think of Banquo’s Son and The Yid.

A Thought On Query Writing After Teaching One Class

 Books, Josh Getzler, Writing  Comments Off on A Thought On Query Writing After Teaching One Class
Feb 042015

Josh Getzler

Last night I began teaching my class in the Role of the Literary Agent at NYU. It’s an evening class, and after two and a half hours of talking and trying to be both illuminating and entertaining about the job I love doing…my throat hurts. It was interesting and fun, and I look forward to the next five classes to establish a rhythm and really get into the agent’s role in the life-cycle of a book.

After introducing the course and myself and finding out the makeup of the class, we went through a number of query letters—both strong and weak—discussing the characteristics of more and less successful queries.

And what we discovered by reading eight of them out loud, consecutively, is this: In almost every case, even in the good ones, the description of the plot was overlong. The student reading the query would read the first few sentences, stop, take a breath…and then there would be more. Characters would be named, secondary plot threads would be explored in detail, adjectives would fly. As we went through them, I started stopping the student at the point where the author should have ended.

Ultimately we realized this: A query letter is designed to make an agent want to read the first pages of the actual book. To accomplish this, the author really needs only to do the following:

1)      Describe the genre and time period of the book (and be personally familiar enough with the agent to know that the genre and period are among those that the agent represents).

2)      Say how long the book is, roughly (a nice, round, 75,000 words is just as good to us as 74,386).

3)      Give a VERY short and pretty vague description of what the book is about (My 75,000 word contemporary young adult novel is about a spunky 17 year-old girl in LA who falls in love with the boy who plays bass in the hardcore punk band she’s auditioning for. When they are offered the chance to play in the Bumblecrumb festival the same week as final exams, her dreams of Harvard must fight it out with the chance to share the stage with Fugazi.)

4)      Tell a bit about yourself, keeping in mind that all the agent cares about is relevant details: Experience as a florist—meh. Experience singing in hardcore punk bands while at Harvard—good. “This is my seventh novel, though I’m still waiting for my first publication”—Too much. “This is my first novel”—fine.

5)      Then…get out of the way. We’re good. We want to read the first pages, and your writing will make the rest of the difference.

My students’ first assignment is to write query letters for famous books (Hunger Games, Murder on the Orient Express, The Fault in our Starts, and several more). I hope they remember that they need very little plot description, and that an A paper—or the path to publication!–can be much quicker than it would seem to be.

Snow Day and Syllabus Wrecking

 Books, Current Affairs, Josh Getzler  Comments Off on Snow Day and Syllabus Wrecking
Jan 282015

Josh Getzler

So today was a snow day, after a Snowmageddon that wasn’t, at least in New York City (OK, at least in Manhattan). But since I don’t cross-country ski to work, I stayed home and watched Columbus Avenue be empty of cars. I thought I’d get a ton of reading done, but it was more phone calls with clients and wrangling recalcitrant children who didn’t want to do their homework when there was perfectly good loafing to be done instead.

The other thing this storm did was cause my first class of my teaching gig at NYU to be cancelled. It was awful. I felt like a marathoner who pulled a muscle walking to the starting line, or an astronaut when liftoff is aborted at “5…4…3…NONONO.”

I mean, I had BUILT to Monday. Wrote beautiful slides on OneNote (love that OneNote!), thought of the anecdotes to tell, emailed my students with guidelines and suggestions, carb-loaded…and then at 2 PM, “NONONO.” And now not only do I need to wait till next week, but I have to rejigger my syllabus completely. We’re being given permission to extend two classes by a half-hour each (our classes are already 2 ½ hours, so the students will be very excited, I’m sure, to go till 9:30 PM a couple of times), and we’ll be losing an hour and a half of class time. For a seven-session course, this is a serious issue.

The other thing is that I’d based the course (which is about the Role of the Literary Agent) on working through the life-cycle of a book from First Query through a year after publication, and had pretty specific places to end lessons. Now we’ll have to adjust, and it may not be elegant. My wife and mother, both veteran teachers, are looking at me with benign amusement. Apparently my stress-dream that I’m in the right classroom at the right time with only one student and nobody else showing up is both normal and adorable. What can I say? At least I wasn’t naked, too.

And it’s funny—I LOVE teaching. I spoke to a multitude of classes about baseball when I was in that part of my life, and have given so many Query Letter and Pitch seminars in the past 8 years that I have a patter and confidence. But I’ve heard my wife and mother talk so often about “their” classrooms—they have great ownership of their space, and it was one of the aspects of teaching that I’m most looking forward to feeling. Now I’ve got to wait a week.

And all because of a storm that, in my old stomping grounds of Watertown, NY, they would have called “flurries” and not even called for extra plows. (Yes I know, the radar was awful and I wouldn’t be so smug in, say, Old Lyme Ct or Cape Cod. And I’m GLAD the Mayor was overcautious. He’s in an impossible situation, and I am glad he chose to be aggressive about it. I just, for once in my life, was bummed to have a snow day.)

Selma and the State of the Union

 Current Affairs, Film, Josh Getzler, Television  Comments Off on Selma and the State of the Union
Jan 212015


Josh Getzler

Last night, Amanda and I took the whole family—eyes a-rolling and smartphones in hand, to see Selma in commemoration of MLK Day. And for two hours we were all gripped. There are all kinds of discussions and online complaints about what was added or emphasized or neglected in the story of the conflict, marches, and violence in that period of the Civil Rights Movement. But honestly, they were beside the point, and I think one of the real strengths of Selma the Movie was that the decisions Ava DuVernay made ultimately cast great relief on the biggest of the issues. It’s a big, broad, statement movie, and it works.

One of the most powerful scenes was when President Johnson appeared before both houses of Congress to urge them to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The kids understood extremely intensely what had gone into getting the President into that room to make that speech.

As we were leaving the theater, one of the kids mentioned that this evening was going to be the State of the Union Address. They know that Amanda and I watch it every year, talking to the television, keeping score of the points the president makes (ANY president) and when he falls flat. How often the Speaker or the VP falls asleep, how often one side or the other stands and claps. But this time, we’re watching a little differently, thinking about how inconceivable it would have been to both the majority of the marchers in Selma in 1965, and the people within and without politics trying to stop them, that a president who looks like Barack Obama could be giving a State of the Union Address.

Now it’s time for us to go watch. We’ll get back to publishing next week.


A Cozy Proposal

 Books, Current Affairs, Josh Getzler, Terri Bischoff, Writing  Comments Off on A Cozy Proposal
Jan 142015

Josh Getzler

I was talking to The Redoubtable Danielle this afternoon, not long after she got back to the office after having coffee with an editor from one of the bigger publishers out there. This editor had passed on one of Danielle’s submissions, a cozy mystery where the amateur sleuth is a sommelier, because it was too edgy. Danielle was frustrated—not so much at the editor, who liked the book (with good reason—it’s excellent!); but at the prevailing sense that the ability to sell these kinds of books is more and more difficult, and the requirements more and more specific.

“She told me that the only cozies she can sell are with crafts and knitting and cats and polite murders in book clubs,” she said.

NOTE! Before my successful cozy clients think that we are disparaging them: We are NOT. We love you. We sell you. You succeed. We are talking here about having the ability to expand what’s acceptable to be able to give readers a wider variety of books to read, so the market as a whole grows and there’s a bigger total readership for your books too. (Toni, we really do love you J)

Now mind you, cozies are only one type of crime fiction, as I’ve discussed before, and so have any number of other bloggers here on Hey Dead Guy. Terri Bischoff, whom I love and who publishes at this time four series I represent, just gave a very spot-on description of cozies this weekend, and is talking about other kinds of mysteries this coming week. There are procedurals, historicals, noirs (though, as my former colleague Dan Conaway told me many years ago, “noir will break your heart.”), and novels that don’t quite hit a formula head on.

But there are certain publishers, with particular imprints, that specialize in the cozies (many of which are mass-market paperbacks, and now many of which are e-first), and which, if you look at their New Release shelves at B&N, are indeed publishing one croissant-baker series after another carpentry series after a third driving school series (none of which are necessarily real series, but all plausible). They take place in small towns (a driving school mystery in, say, Boston would be too edgy, but not in Missoula), and they are comfortable.

Much of the time, they are also good. Again, that’s not my issue. My issue is that I think we’re glutting the market, and that cozy readers are going to become, frankly, bored.

So Danielle and I—after bemoaning the pass—started to spitball what would work, and here’s what we came up with.

We think there needs to be a chick lit for cozies—younger, more urban, maybe slightly sexier, maybe at times with greater darkness—aimed at the same market romance publishers were working toward with New Adult. We can call them the Hunger Games/50 Shades On The Subway readers (and yes, while it’s sort of funny to put those two together, they were the dominant books of that market for the past couple of years). It would allow for the post-grad-school sommelier solving a murder in Napa, or the actress in her first Broadway play whose rival falls off the rigging (did the hot stagehand do it?) or the young woman doing teach for America who has to deal with the disappearance of one of her students.

We feel like there is a model here that can work. We’re not trying to reinvent the industry. Just keep it from being wrapped in yarn.

One final word:  Again, please understand that this is NOT a screed against cozies. Far from it. It’s a plea for our creative colleagues on the Buy Side to break out of the box. Not a huge amount—just a little! But it could really make a difference.