5 Books To Watch Out For This Fall

By Josie Urwin, Publicist


There are heaps of buzz-worthy books coming out this fall. Everyone’s talking about Jonathan Franzen’s Purity, Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire (the 900-page behemoth that garnered a $2 million advance from Knopf), Salman Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, and Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Cunningham’s A Wild Swan and Other Tales, along with a slew of other notable books from some serious literary big hitters.

I’m always one to follow the most-anticipated lists that pop up throughout the year (The Millions’ Great Book Preview is a true gem), so I thought I would compile a little list of the titles that I’m most looking forward to reading this fall, with a little twist — they are all written by women.


Josie1In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: Billed as the next Gone Girl—along with every new thriller these days—meets Alice La Plant’s Turn of Mind this will be a true page-turner. While it isn’t technically a fall book (it pubbed on August 4th), the media hype is in full swing and it’s certainly going to be a book that is talked about well into the fall.






Josie2The Clasp by Sloane Crossley: I am genuinely obsessed with Sloane Crossley’s humor essay collections I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number so naturally I was supremely excited when I heard she’s coming out with her first novel, The Clasp, this October. It’s an homage to Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” and Crossley described it while on a panel at BookCon this spring as: “two genres smushed together: a comedy of manners between three friends, and a light-hearted, madcap action-adventure.”





Josie3Dryland by Sarah Jaffe: Jaffe has been on the literary scene for quite some time, as a founding editor of New Herrin Press and with her fiction, poetry, and essays dotting a number of well-respected lit mags. Her debut novel, Drylands, is a coming of age tale set in Portland in the 90’s that depicts a girl whose life is defined by absences.






Josie4Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta: The New York Times wrote of Okparanta’s first short story collection Happiness, Like Water, “If this is Okparanta’s goal – the distillation of experience into something crystalline, stark but lustrous – she is well on her way there.” I reckon Under the Udala Trees will have the same stark, lustrous feel that will likely stick with you for quite some time.






Josie5The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli: Luiselli was presented with the National Book Foundation’s “Five Under 35” Award for her 2013 debut Faces in the Crowd. This young Mexican writer’s second novel The Story of My Teeth, is said to be a fiercely intelligent and eccentric look into value and creation in life and art.







Related: 8 Bookish Podcasts You Need To Listen To

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Do Authors Need a Social Media Legal Handbook?


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By Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer, SVP


Social media is all over the place, and the legal system struggles to keep up with it.  Further, the masses using social media, especially authors to promote their books, are not fully informed on the existing laws as it relates to digital content and communications.

Legal Guide to Social Media:  Rights and Risks for Businesses Entrepreneurs is a handy guide from Allworth Press that helps us, in plain English, to interpret the law as it relates to Twitter, blogs, libel, and linking.

Author Kimberly A. Houser, an attorney, professor, and blogger lectures on Internet law and information technology. Her book shows what we need to know as it relates to many areas, including:


  • Defamation and the risks of posting content
  • Copyright issues
  • Privacy laws
  • Protecting your name and the content you create.
  • Embracing intellectual property laws
  • Legal issues revolving around your web site
  • Legal pitfalls when setting up an e-business.


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The Publishing Industry Mourns the Loss of Stewart’s Daily Show

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By Nicole Martineau, Publicist

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As I watched the final episode of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, I couldn’t help but think of an eye-opening piece I read in the Washington Post just months earlier. Published in February right after Stewart announced his departure, “Who will miss Jon Stewart the most? Book publicists” is Ron Charles’ wonderful piece on how The Daily Show with Jon Stewart served as a popular platform for authors to promote their books. Quoted in the article was Paul Bogaards, executive vice president of Knopf Doubleday, who notes that Stewart’s positive impact on the publishing industry isn’t limited to book sales:

 “’Publishers don’t have a lot of substantive broadcast booking options for authors,’ he says. ‘The value of Jon Stewart welcoming writers on his show, giving them a platform and making them a part of the conversational mix was quantifiable in this sense: He elevated the work of authors, made books relevant to a younger demographic. And that demographic remains challenging for publishers to reach, at least en masse.’”


According to an informal report released by Fusion, although the majority of Stewart’s guests were celebrities plugging their latest Hollywood hit, 22.9% of all guests were authors.

Last week, Entertainment Weekly took a closer look at some of the titles that catapulted to success all thanks to an interview segment on The Daily Show, including Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen, The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by David Mitchell (translator for Naoki Higashida), and Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security by Sarah Chayes.

The industry was mourning the same loss just months earlier when Stephen Colbert signed off from The Colbert Report one last time, who according to some, may have had an even bigger influence on the publishing industry than Stewart. Vulture’s Boris Katchka discussed this variance in a piece back in December, detailing Colbert’s impact on the book industry:

“Not since Oprah’s Book Club has any one personality been able to sell copies in six-figure increments, and, well, Colbert didn’t come close, either. An especially good Report interview might have as strong a sales impact as an appearance on The Daily Show, but Colbert wasn’t a ‘tentpole asset’ Jon Stewart’s level, per one head of publicity. (Either could easily mean a 5,000-copy spike but not too much more.) Yet Colbert had more actual writers on than his mentor — not just politicians flogging books. ‘Stewart gets the head of state,’ says Little, Brown editor Reagan Arthur. ‘Colbert goes more for the person who’s writing about the head of state.’”

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Finn Sets Sail: MEDIA CONNECT Reflects on the Fourth Annual Summer Boat Cruise

2015 Boat Cruise

Back row, left to right: Gil Pagovich, Emily Labes, Adrienne Fontaine, Gayle Pitone, Josie Urwin, Cori Cagide, Jow Smith, Anna Patrick and Steve Matteo. From row, left to right: Dawn Frederick, Johanna Dickson, Lindsey Hall and Brian Feinblum.


This past Wednesday, July 29th, marked the fourth annual Finn Partners summer boat cruise. Finn Partners employees from all divisions came together, boarded the Cornucopia and spent the day dancing, toasting and dining on Manhattan’s Hudson River.

Below are reflections from MEDIA CONNECT on the annual event:


My personal highlight of the day was right after we docked, a group of us from all different departments went and played laser tag. It was so fun to feel like a kid again! We’re such a collaborative group as a whole and it always gives me a chance to reflect on how nice it is to work with people who genuinely enjoy being around one another.
One thing I observed was that a lot of people migrate to New York to have the “experience.” Working at Finn Partners, and having days like the boat cruise where we can look around and admire the city, are exactly the type of “experience” so many of us dream of when living here. -Lindsey Hall, Publicist


“Wednesday was a particularly hot day. However, in true publicist fashion, we mixed, mingled, and talked our way through the pain!” -Cori Cagide, Publicist


“I think, for me, the best part is shaking up the environment and doing something different – and enjoying some summer fun! It reminded me how important it is to have a different backdrop and reconnect with people. Of course seeing everyone’s hilarious dance moves doesn’t hurt either. I can’t say enough good things about the chilled cheesecake – a perfect dessert for a hot summer day! This year the boat went a different course than it did last year, up toward the Bronx, so it was great seeing a part of the river that I haven’t seen before.

I’m about to make a move to our DC office, so this was a great summer send-off, I feel fortunate to be a part of the Finn team.” -Anna Patrick, Digital Publicist


“In spite of the heat, we had a great day! It was so nice for the whole office to go on an outing together, and it was great to get to socialize with other divisions as well.” -Emily Labes, Associate Publicist

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Who Are The All-time Best-Selling Novelists?

By Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer, SVP


Which books are the all-time bestsellers?  Let’s preface the answer with this: no one really knows for sure. Why?  Sales records are quite poor and incomplete, and generally favor more recent books, where things are recorded meticulously.

Think about it. Books that were printed say, 150 years ago, were sold all over the place.  We didn’t have BookScan or some centralized source to identify book sales. In fact, because government records are also incomplete or get destroyed overtime, and because book sale income taxes weren’t collected until the past century – there really is no way to know how many copies of a book were sold. Unscrupulous publishers would print and sell more copies of a book than they told an author – dependent on royalties – had sold. Some books where copyrights don’t cover them, such as those of Shakespeare, The Bible, or Ben Franklin, allow for multiple publishers and multiple nations to print and sell books and no one is adding them all up. Let’s also not forget pirated book sales that continue today in places like China. No one is adding them up either. And what of books published under pseudonyms, where the author’s identity was never uncovered?

So, having said all of the above, there are some noble attempts to gather up sales figures and estimated sales of the all-time bestselling fictional books. One such effort was undertaken for an entry in Wikipedia.

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A Midwesterner’s Guide To Polite Persistence In PR


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By Emily Labes, Associate Publicist


I am from Cleveland. Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes with me knows that. Typical of most Clevelanders, when people ask me where I’m from, I’m most inclined to talk about the erratic weather, the fact that our river has caught on fire multiple times (and how we pronounce “fire,” which is “fie-yur”), and/or Lebron James.

However, I have recently added a new talking point to my roster of Midwestern small-talk topics – the fact that, for the most part, our manners are beyond reproach. I may curse like a sailor when I’m in the company of family and trusted friends; but I always say “please,” and “thank you,” I always chew with my mouth closed and keep one hand in my lap while I’m eating, I never place my elbows on the dinner table, and I always, always look people in the eye when I am speaking to them.

Supposedly these are traits that are inherently present in most Americans who are over the age of five; but Midwesterners approach manners with an Emily Post-like reverence. I don’t know whether it’s more of a ritual or a compulsion, but it is as ingrained in us as our all-American accents.

Although I do not needlessly apologize nearly as much as my mom does, after almost two years at MEDIA CONNECT, I still find myself blurting out “Sorry to bother you, but…” upon entering my coworkers’ offices – even when I am there by appointment. Then I inevitably apologize for apologizing, and the cycle continues.

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MEDIA CONNECT Deskscape Series: What’s On Senior Partner David Hahn’s Desk?

The following article is a part of our Deskscape Series. Many of us spend up to eight or nine hours at our desks per day, making our “deskscapes” a creative reflection of the book publicity work we do for our clients every day.

Senior Partner David Hahn shares some of his favorite parts of his deskscape:


My 10th grade English teacher, Mr. Schomborg, always greeted us with a boisterous “Happy Friday!” each and every Friday of the school year. I never quite understood the energy or broad smile that accompanied that statement at the time. But today – today being a beautiful summer Friday in the Big Apple – I fully appreciate that sentiment, having put in 2,000 or so (who’s counting) working Fridays since that time.


Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 11.05.51 AMAnd as such there is a carton of munchkins on my desk to be shared with the MEDIA CONNECT staff. Nothing pleases me more at work than a nice simple surprise, especially when it’s food. So assuming that everyone else feels the same way I do (don’t they?), I try to help relieve the weariness sometimes felt at the beginning of a Friday workday with this simple gesture. And isn’t that a very satisfying feeling when you pop one of those munchkins in your mouth, especially a fresh jelly one!





Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 11.06.08 AMAlso on my desk is a mug created by the talented Arden potter, Alan Burslem. It serves as a fine pen and pencil holder. But it more importantly serves as a reminder of my roots, coming from this idyllic, unique pastoral small town to be found just north of Wilmington, Delaware.

Like most other boomers I know, I have an extremely fond memory of my childhood, especially in terms of the unfettered freedom we had to simply play. And playing in Sherwood Forest, on the Arden Greens, and riding bikes playing cops and robbers up and down Sherwood Road, Lovers lane and Miller Road will forever define who I am and what I hold dear. The mug reminds me of the importance of finding some sort of artistic grace in all that we do as well as the wonderful energy and creativity that can be found in simple play – as elusive as that may be.

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Business Book Authors: Every Business Event You Need To Know Thru December 2015

The following business events calendar appeared in the the latest edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To subscribe for future editions, click here.

Every business author should be anticipating certain annual events during the year for possible tie in interviews. Bylined articles and op-eds could also be submitted around these events. Examples are Labor Day, the annual Berkshire Hathaway Stockholders Meeting, and the annual issue of Fortune’s Best 100 Places to Work. In addition, you can create your own tie in. While it sounds artificial, the media does respond to specific days and/or months that been given a specific theme. For instance, February is “Time Management Month”. April is “Workplace Conflict Awareness” month and so on. If you create an event with a specific theme and message and promote it properly, you may be surprised at the media attention you are able to garner!

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Related: MEDIA CONNECT Interview Series: Matt Holt, Publisher at Wiley

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Author Q&A: New York Times Bestselling Author Discusses the Miracle of Freedom


Chris Stewart, Co-author of the New York Times bestseller, The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World, has set out to help us understand the history of democracy, and to see that many historical events that led us to the freedom we enjoy today are inextricably linked.

The long march to freedom revolves around pivotal events spanning over thousands of years, which Stewart explores in his book, and discussed with us in the following Q&A:


Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 11.00.01 AMMEDIA CONNECT: What is your book about?

Chris Stewart: It’s about the long and incredibly hazardous road that the world had to march in order to get to the day when many of us are able to enjoy the blessing of freedom. It’s about the long string that runs through word history that ties all of these events together, as if there was a sense of purpose to it all. It’s about the amazing conflicts and sacrifices that had to take place in order for freedom to develop and survive. It is an exploration of some of the most important events in world history – epic and world-changing events – which were indispensable stepping-stones toward the expanded freedom and democracy that we have today.


MC: Your bestselling book is now being released in paperback. Are you surprised at all of the positive attention your book has thus received?

CS: I don’t know if I’m surprised, but I’m certainly honored. At its core, this book is about freedom. It’s about the incredibly long and dangerous road that the world had to march in order to get to this point where so many people enjoy the miracle of freedom. That’s something that, on a gut level, many people understand and relate to. I think that helps explain why the book has done so well.


MC: When you originally published it a few years ago, you were not a member of Congress at the time. What inspired your recent run for office?

CS: People ask me that all the time. I was an air force pilot, successful writer and business owner. I’d never thought about running for office. But I felt like our nation was in trouble and I wanted to get into the fight. Writing this book reminded me of what an incredible blessing freedom is and how fragile that blessing is. That led me to want to get involved in a way that I hadn’t been before. It’s much like what happened to me when I was younger.  As a senior in college, I was on my way to law school when I suddenly decided that I wanted to serve in the military instead. I decided to run for congress for much the same reason. I thought I could help and I wanted to try.


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MEDIA CONNECT Interview Series: Matt Holt, Publisher at Wiley


The following Q&A appeared in the the latest edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To subscribe for future editions, click here.


MEDIA CONNECT: Do you mind being approached by an author directly instead of through an agent?
Matt Holt: 
Direct communication with authors is welcome. Everyone is connected, it’s easy to get to an editor through another author, LinkedIn, or just an internet search.


MC: Do you need to see a whole book or do sample chapters work for you?
We rarely need to see an entire book, unless it’s designed or visual or packaged in a way that helps us understand the project better.


MC: What types of business books do you specialize in?
We specialize in mostly in books written by practitioners, books that teach something to someone, solve a problem and deal with a pain point.

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