An Embarrassment of RichesBy Steffen • Jan 26th, 2010 • Category: 26th Story, Books
After months of questions and angst about the future of the publishing industry and whether it was part of my future, my answer came in the form of Baratunde Thurston. I’d heard him speak at the Web 2.0 conference and I wanted desperately to work with him. After tracking him down, he came to my office for a brainstorm, and it was during that meeting that I had an epiphany: There is nothing in the world I’d rather be doing.How cool is it that I get to go to conferences, hear really interesting speakers, then have them over to my office to figure out their book with them? And then I get to work on that book.
My fate became clear during that meeting with Baratunde Thurston. He’s writing a book for HarperStudio called How to be Black.
The next author to sign with HarperStudio was Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.com. I’m a huge fan — have been following his blog, twitter, videos, etc. for some time, and think he’s one of the smartest tech entrepreneurs out there with lots of wisdom and experience to share . He’ll be writing a book about the secrets behind his success called One to One Million.
Jill Kargman is a novelist. I saw her on Samantha Ettus’s show Obsessed TV six months ago and knew I wanted to work with her. We met a few times and completely clicked. The question was , what’s the “HarperStudio” book. In early December she came to my office to have another brainstorm and told me some terrible personal news. The thing was, she told the story with such humor and grace that instead tears and sadness, we were hysterically laughing…and it was in that moment that we realized that’s her gift: she sprinkles the funny everywhere, even on the tough times. Jill’s going to write two books for HarperStudio. The first is called Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut and will be essays about using humor as a tool to get through life –making the fun times funnier and the tough times bearable, in reference to Woody Allen’s magical math equation: COMEDY = TRAGEDY + TIME. The second will be a novel.
The fourth author to sign with HarperStudio during that lucky month of December 2009, was Ryan Tate from Gawker. I’d been thinking a lot about merits and challenges of being a small company within a large corporation, and Bob suggested that there’s a book in that. Nick Bilton from the New York Times lead me to Ryan Tate at Gawker, and he is now writing a book for us called Skunkworks, which I can’t wait to read.
One more author who I want to mention who signed with HarperStudio, though it was slightly before that December epiphany, but still very much part of my process of realizing how much I love my job, is Melanie Notkin, the Savvy Auntie. She’s writing her Savvy Auntie’s Guide to Life.
So there you have it: now a total of five authors who make me so excited about my work and this industry that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.