Lydia Polgreen is the new Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief

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Lydia Polgreen

Lydia Polgreen, a former New York Times associate masthead editor and editorial director of NYT Global, is succeeding founding editor Arianna Huffington at the Huffington Post. In an interview she gave the news and opinion site, Polgreen indicated how she plans to steer the content focus in the wake of the media echo chamber the 2016 election exposed and exacerbated. She said HuffPo has the “potential and the possibility of really meeting this populist moment that we’re living in and meeting people where they actually are.”

Polgreen added, “just as there were moments when the Washington Post or The New York Times or the Times of London during World War II had a huge mission, we, too, have a huge mission. And that is to listen, to report, to tell stories, to seek out the stories and voices that aren’t being heard, even ones that might feel uncomfortable to us.”
lydia-polgreen-is-the-new-huffington-post-editor-in-chief In a 2014 report commissioned by A.G. Sulzberger, son of Polgreen’s former employer New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, the Times’ Newsroom Innovation Team acknowledged that HuffPo “in just a few years has eclipsed The Times in total readership.” The report cited advice from “a former leader of The Huffington Post… [who] told us that if we want to improve our reach, we must think differently about what it means to publish a story: ‘At The New York Times, far too often for writers and editors the story is done when you hit publish. At Huffington Post, the article begins its life when you hit publish.'”

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Ouch! Jacqueline Susann's "Dear John" Letter

Jacqueline Susann wrote a stinging "Dear John" letter to her husband - peoplewhowrite

Jacqueline Susann

Authors Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon put together a list of eight “Literary Heartbreakers” that’s as equally fun as it is wince-inducing. For example, Valley of the Dolls writer Jacqueline Susann’s break-up letter to her husband:

“Irving, when we were at the Essex House and I had room service and I could buy all my Florence Lustig dresses, I found that I loved you very much, but now that you’re in the Army and getting $56 a month, I feel that my love has waned.”

Much worse than Berger’s “Post-It” note break-up on Sex & the City wouldn’t you agree?

Cover Love: R.J. Palacio's "Wonder"

R.J. Palacio's "Wonder" has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Greenaway Medal - peoplewhowrite

Palacio’s book has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal

The cover of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder is an amazing window to the book’s moving story which has been shortlisted for a CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Book Award. About a ten-year-old boy born with a facial abnormality who is being sent to a real school after being home-schooled his whole life, the cover does an excellent job of communicating the feeling of being stared at, and the discovery the main character is also experiencing looking out at a new world. Perhaps not coincidentally, the author was an art director and graphic designer who designed book jackets for 20 years.

Her background notwithstanding, Palacio says she specifically didn’t negotiate “author approval” for the cover, but did ask for “author consult”. She suggested her publishers (Knopf) hire designer Tad Carpenter to do the cover illustration, which they did, but she never spoke with him directly. Palacio explains, “I used to hate it when authors had approval, and they would drive me crazy. I was absolutely hellbent on not being one of those authors in the process.”

She knew what she wanted though. “I told [Knopf] the direction… I wanted something iconic. For some reason I had kind of blue, black and white in my mind; and hand-lettered, but the rest [Knopf art department] kind of came up with.”

In an interview with a Knopf graphic designer and author posted on The Huffington Post, Palacio explained the inspiration behind her debut novel:

I started writing it probably around five years ago. I had a chance encounter with a little girl outside an ice cream store with my two kids, who were three, and ten or eleven at the time. It was their reaction to this little girl, and my reaction to their reaction. And it just got me thinking a lot about what it must be like to live in the shoes of someone suffering from any sort of facial difference. I actually started that night after this encounter.

Palacio’s publisher created a companion anti-bullying campaign for the book called Choose Kind.

Author Nataly Kelly Shares Six Things She's Learned About Publishing a Book

Nataly Kelly is the author of Found in Translation - peoplewhowrite

Nataly Kelly is the author of Found in Translation

Found in Translation author Nataly Kelly has learned a few things since snagging a book deal with Penguin. In a recent Huffington Post piece, she shares six of the lessons she’s learned, including:

1. Yes, you can get a book deal via social media. After many years of pitching book concepts through a literary agent to no avail, I ended the relationship and decided to try my own luck. I searched for editors at publishing houses on LinkedIn and sent a pitch to an editor using an InMail. Because the number of characters is limited, I had to convey the entire book concept in just a few concise paragraphs. To my amazement, a social media-savvy editor, Marian Lizzi at Perigee (an imprint of Penguin USA), responded and requested more details. So there you have it — an InMail that eventually led to a book deal.

2. You might need an agent even if you land a publisher without one. Penguin decided to make an offer, but I had no literary agent to represent me. Anyone who has ever seen a book contract knows that these are complicated legal documents with numerous terms, caveats, clauses, and stipulations. Even though I am a court-certified interpreter with legal knowledge, “literary legalese” has its own specialized terminology. For someone outside of the publishing business, the help of an agent is critical. When I hired a new agent (Scott Mendel), he did far more than just negotiate the contract. His help was essential at every stage.

Read all six things Kelly learned here.

HuffPo Writes Up Publishing's 15 WTF Moments of 2012

In 2012, the Pulitzer Prize Jury could not agree on a winner - peoplewhowrite

In 2012, the Pulitzer Prize Jury could not agree on a winner – the last time this happened was 1977

From bookstores refusing to stock Amazon-published print titles to the Pulitzer Prize Jury failing to agree on a Fiction winner, The Huffington Post‘s 2012 year end slideshow reminds what a storied year Publishing had. Click here to review.

New Service, Authr.com, is a Kickstarter of Sorts for Authors

Authr.com was created by author Erik Bowman - peoplewhowriteAuthor Erik Bowman has launched Authr.com, a crowdsource funding site along the lines of Kickstarter, specifically for writers. Much like Kickstarter, users of Authr create a profile explaining what their book is about, set a fundraising goal, then promote it. Unlike Kickstarter, users get to keep what they raised even if it is shy of their goal. If the fundraising goal is met, the author’s profile page automatically flips into a book pre-order page. When the book is available for completion, authors can sell their books via the created page. I love this idea. It seems like a very well-thought out user experience that will keep writers with Authr through the lifecycle of their projects. It will be interesting to see how/if this platform grows. If I were a big six publisher/Amazon/Barnes and Noble, I’d get really cool with Bowman and track Authr’s progress with a mind to ultimately buying it from him. Read more about the platform’s launch on The Huffington Post UK.