Content Tagged ‘Publishing’

Julie Barer Busts Eight Myths about Literary Agents

—Compiled by Lookout intern Caroline Orth from Julie Barer’s UNCW Writers’ Week presentation

Congratulations to Xhenet Aliu, University of North Carolina Wilmington MFA ’07 on her novel, Brass, published this month by Random House. We were fortunate that her agent, Julie Barer, was among the literary luminaries at UNCW’s 2017 Writers’ Week.

A founding partner of The Book Group, Barer first worked as a bookseller at Shakespeare & Co. in New York before joining Sanford J. Greenburger Associates and later starting her own agency. At The Book Group, she represents Nicole Denis-Benn, Celeste Ng, and UNCW alumni Garrard Conley and Xhenet Aliu, among other clients. Her authors have been finalists for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, and have won of the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Kirkus Prize, and many other accolades.

“I think there’s a mystique about what agents do,” Barer began. “My son still thinks I’m a secret agent.” While recounting how she pitched and sold The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, a novel set on Mount Olympia, Barer helped dispel five myths for the audience about the role of a literary agent in the publishing landscape.

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UNCW Partners With HarperCollins

UNCW has recently developed an affiliation with HarperCollins, the world’s second-largest English-language publisher, to provide opportunities for BFA and MFA students that are typically available only to students in NYC-based publishing programs. The mentoring program will pair individual students in two advanced book practicum courses (BFA and MFA) with senior publishing professionals at HarperCollins for regular Skype conversations to answer questions about the industry, provide post-graduation career advice and resume counseling, as well as additional networking opportunities with other publishing professionals, authors, and agents—both within and outside of HarperCollins.

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For the first time yesterday, MFA and BFA students Skyped with Brian Perrin, Senior Director of Marketing for Harper Wave and Harper Business, and Sarah Murphy, Senior Editor at Harper Wave, about what they do, how they got where there are, and advice for students looking to break into the industry.

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“Publishing has always been an industry learned by apprenticeship. Everyone working in it today is grateful for the time and mentoring they received and genuinely happy—eager, even—to give something back. We’re very much looking forward to sharing what we know about this crazy, frustrating, wonderful business with students at UNCW,” Perrin said.

HarperCollins staff also will visit campus periodically to participate in the department’s annual Writers’ Week programs and to serve as the biannual four-week visiting publishing professional, next slated for fall 2017. Publishing arts students also will be eligible to apply for HarperCollins New York-based internship programs, offered in spring, summer, and fall. As a general-interest, broad-based publisher with global operations, HarperCollins will be able to offer students connections to every facet of the book business, across all consumer book categories, according to each student’s specific interests. We’re so excited for what’s to come from the partnership!

For more information about the partnership and other goings-on at UNCW, check out this article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Making A List: Four Typographic Websites That Will Make Your Design Brain Happy

One of the cool things about the MFA program here is the emphasis of what you’re putting on the page. Not like similes or metaphors and whatnot, but whether you’re using a slab serif as your body text (big mistake, that). As the semester winds down and as the Bookbuilding students here begin their final project (designing and creating a chapbook of their own work), I thought I’d share some of my favorite websites about typography and design.

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The “Teaching Press” Model at UNCW


One of my favorite aspects of being a Lookout intern is getting to be a part of a teaching press. We work on our Lookout projects in the Publishing Laboratory, and on any given day the lab is full of Bookbuilding students designing layouts and putting together chapbooks, undergrads compiling the UNCW BFA anthology, and Pub Lab TAs tweaking the design of a Writers Week broadside or doing treatments for Ecotone’s next issue.

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Make Yourself a Box Book

Box Book by Anna Sutton (Lookout Intern)

I used this tutorial to make a beautiful paper box for my Bookbuilding class here at UNCW (taught by Lookout’s own Emily Smith).

Make it cooler! Print a poem, short short, manifesto, or image on the inside of your paper before folding. Make sure you print a directive on the front corner of your page, like open me or unfold me. If you use a slightly bigger piece of paper, you can make a top for your box, too.

Bonus! If you make your own, send a photo our way and we’ll post it here on the blog!

Literary Playlist

I tend to get work done while listening to music… possibly to the chagrin of the Lookout Books crew. Sorry, guys. Recently, I’ve been trying to combine the two by finding songs or artists with literary themes. Here’s a list of book-related music I’m listening to this week:

A few song titles to fit the mood…

  • Wrapped Up in Books by Belle & Sebastian
  • Books Written for Girls by Camera Obscura

A nicely named album or concerto titles that seem appropriate for reference…

  • Album: Libraries by The Love Language
  • Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 17 “The Tempest”

And, of course, band names!

  • Titus Andronicus
  • Ivan & Alyosha (And if you can’t get enough Dostoyevsky, check out their song called Fathers be Kind.)

What book-related music do you listen to?

– Ana Alvarez, Lookout Books Intern

Poet John Rybicki, breathing life into desolation

A powerful silence graced the room as Rybicki weaved through anecdotes of time spent with his wife and passages from his books. As he finished, most felt not a deafening sense of sorrow but rather a promised notion of his fortitude in overcoming a grave loss.

“He makes his poems out of true feeling — he lives his poetry,” said creative writing professor Robert Fanning, who introduced Rybicki to an audience of more than 100. “He’s doing things that are so far beyond what we can do in our best hour with our sharpest pen.”

This excellent article was published by CMU’s student-run publication, Grand Central Magazine. Read onward (more photos included).