Thursday, May 17, 2012

"God From Afar," Now Available as Ebook

Finally my memoirs have been adapted to ebook format. "God From Afar: Memoirs of a University Professor," by James Schiavone is now readily available via wireless download to any ebook reading device (i.e., Nook, Kindle, SONY, iPad, etc.).  Go to

"God From Afar will undoubtedly ruffle the feathers of many, invoke the anger and wrath of some administrative 'god' and elevate those in higher academia who have, at least on one occasion, been personally victimized by some administrative guile or godliness."

Ellwoodson Williams, Associate Professor of Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts
Borough of Manhattan Community College/The City University of New York.


From an interesting personal perspective, James Schiavone sheds more than a little light on the bureaucratic elements inherent in the American teaching profession. His narrative paints a vivid picture of what it is really like to succeed and survive in academe. Far removed from what most people think of as a quiet life of deliberation and classroom lectures are the politicking, bureaucracy and colliding of incompatible personalities. As in most occupations, academic life is not immune to the corruptions of human character.

Through his unique career experiences Schiavone takes the reader on an incredible odyssey from elementary school to secondary, adult and higher education, describing how he was turned down for tenure, promotions to associate professor, and even a sabbatical -- yet achieved all of this and more at the nation's third largest university, CUNY.

His is a story of unflinching dedication to the teaching profession -- a devotion that has kept him on its front lines for more than 40 years.  While interested laypersons, parents and students will find the work enlightening, entertaining, and often shocking, academics will certainly relate to the trials and tribulations of an extraordinary man who simply wanted to teach.

Also available in ebook format is Schiavone's classic contribution to the psychology of reading, "Help Your Child to Read Better." Originally published in the late sixties, this work is meaningful and effective into the 21st Century.

Both titles retail at a modest $3.99

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Can Self Publishing Lead to a Traditional Publisher?

Surprise! Yes your self published work can lead to a traditional publishing contract with one of the Big Six. What are the odds? Well you have a better chance of being struck by lightening or winning the Power Ball lottery.  We all know the stories of famous authors throughout history who made the big time after self publishing. Authors continue to do so today. However, think about how many books have been self published over the past few years. The numbers are staggering. In addition to the several hundred thousand books published by traditional houses annually, self published work far exceeds those numbers.

My experience indicates that most authors who self publish do so only after endless rejections from traditional houses. They do so out of sheer frustration and a feeing of hopelessness. My thoughts are that self publishing is great for authors who wish to reach out to family and friends, particularly with memoirs of family life and careers. I also think that if you feel strongly enough about your work, then self publishing is a viable option. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The rationale for self publishing encompasses many considerations for each author. If this is what you want, then go for it. It is possible to get your book out in multiple versions of ebook, online, print on demand, hardcover, paperback, all of which can be made available through major outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble on line, and in rare instances in brick and mortar venues. And unlike just a few years ago this can be accomplished with little or no expense.

I decided to blog on this topic from my viewpoint as an agent. Agents are individuals who differ in their approach to offering representation. At Schiavone Literary we seek out top notch materials to represent. We receive some 8,000 queries per year and select only a few. We clearly state on our Web site at Publishers Marketplace that we have a 99% rejection of all queries received. My best advice to authors seeking agency representation is to diligently research the nation's top agents to determine who they are, who they represent, sales they have made, and genres that they specialize in.  I am rather astute, after 16 years in the publishing industry, in interpreting those authors who have done their homework, compared to those who willy nilly use the shotgun approach to sending queries hither and yon. Also, some authors use old resources that do not reflect the current needs and interests of the agencies they contact. I always know when an author writes a query based on information gleaned from my Publishers Marketplace Web site.

I have taken the position that I prefer not to consider previously published work in any format. Clearly, most authors who send queries asking for representation of their self published work, are not satisfied with the results. Invariably they convey their disappointment over the lack of sales. They say that they want to reach a broader population and now wish to attract a traditional publisher. "Look at me, I've self published and now I want you to sell my work to Random House!"  Really? In a rare instance or two, the author tells me that 9,500 copies were sold in four weeks. Well then, I'm interested. Send documentation of those sales so we can proceed with representation. Interestingly, communication stops  completely at this juncture.

I am prompted to jot down these thoughts, because lately I have been overwhelmed with queries from self published authors. I do believe that there are true literary gems among those queries, but time limitations preclude investigation. There may very well be agencies that will entertain the possibility of looking into self published work. Schiavone Literary is not one of them, but this does not preclude the possibility of representation based upon high sales figures.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Should an Author Quote From an Editor's Rejection Letter?

The answer to this question rests with the author. I would posit the following question to the author: What do you hope to accomplish from this approach? When I receive a query letter from an author who quotes positive statements from an editor my immediate thought is that the quote is taken out of context. In many cases I already know that the editor's statement is part of a rejection letter. An author quotes an editor stating that the work is "...a masterpiece." This is true but the full sentence reads, "This work is hardly a masterpiece."

As an agent, editorial quotes give me clues as to where the manuscript has been and subsequently rejected. While some may disagree with this advice, I suggest that editorial quotes be avoided altogether, as they do not enhance the author's chances of an offer of representation.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Francine Edelman Joins Schiavone Literary Agency

Francine Edelman, former President of a very successful publicly held ad agency in NYC for over 10 years, has joined the growing Schiavone Literary Agency, Inc. Now in its 15th year of operation the agency continues its reputation as one of the nation's top, exclusive, highly selective literary agencies. Professor Schiavone, CEO, is excited about Ms. Edelman's valuable contributions to the agency. With her background and expertise in sales and advertising, she will focus on books of exceptional quality from established authors with impeccable credentials and outstanding platforms, in the areas of marketing and advertising.

With Francine Edelman on board, we encourage submissions of email queries relating to her area of expertise. Please note that we accept only email queries. Ms Edelman's email address is:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Academy Award Winning Actor George Kennedy/Memoirs

Releasing October 11, 2012, and available for pre-order from Amazon, B&N, Books-A-Million, and all major outlets, Trust Me: A Memoir, by George Kennedy, Academy Award winner for best supporting actor for his compelling performance in the classic Cool Hand Luke, with Paul Newman.

From the preface:

These are memoirs of a kid born in New York City in 1925. His dad, George Senior, was a pianist, composer and orchestra leader at Proctor's Vaudeville Theatre, and his mother, Helen, played in a classic dance troupe. Hanky-panky ensued. They married, and I soon was the result...

I write like I talk. A long time ago I tried making 'talking and telling the truth' one and the same. That isn't just difficult; it means painfully reviewing things you've been led to believe since you were a child. That's very hard to do. Like many, I have marched along adhering to conventions (sex, color, church, party, gang) without examination. There's a wonderful protective 'togetherness' in that anonymity. You obey or are damned, less joined together than stuck together. You become an echo rather than a voice.

This book is about what happens when you stop fearing and think.

I like writing, but warmed-over BS is not on the menu. You are the most important thing in life. Every phrase in the book - awkward or not - is how I think and question everything. I wrote every word as if we were sitting together. I want you to think, too"
George Kennedy

Monday, January 31, 2011

Back From Hiatus

It has been a couple of months since my last post. This is primarily because I was unable to login to my account for whatever reason. Now that I'm back I wanted to bring my readers up to date on new releases that I have brokered. First, the debut, LEAVING JACK, will be released by St. Martin's Press on February 15th as previously announced. I'm excited about this potential best seller and I have noted that Amazon has what they call their VINE program. Vine sends out advance reading copies of a forthcoming work to selected customers giving them a jump on pre-publication reviews (step aside Publishers Weekly, here come real reviews from the ranks, or from people who buy and know great literature when they see it). While I have high hopes for JACK, I'm delighted to see the favorable reviews from real customers, most of whom were overwhelmed by the impact of this powerful story of a brave yellow Lab serving in the Vietnam War. The lucky prepublication reviewers give insights into a novel you will not want to miss. Advance orders are being taken by Amazon, B&N, etc., and will be shipped for receipt on the release date. When you get your copy let me know your thoughts as I would like to post a few on this blog. Of course your local book store will have plenty of copies on hand to fulfill the demand.

Nostalgia and movie buffs will be delighted to know that come the Fall, Academy Award winning actor George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke with Paul Newman) will have his memoir released by Applause Books, entitled: TRUST ME: A MEMOIR. This is a must have book for Hollywood fans as George reveals behind the scenes action embellished by vignettes of such iconic figures as Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, James Stewart, and many others who came to know George Kennedy, who himself played more than 200 roles in movies and TV. More about this later.

Last year I was correct in my prognostications regarding the enormous escalation of ebook sales. Readers love their iPads, Sony's, Kindles, Nooks, you name it. Once purchased, readers have placed millions of orders indicating healthy gains for publishers and authors. The outlook for books is very promising in spite of the current economic crisis.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Books by my Authors

Above is the jacket cover for FINDING JACK by Gareth Crocker. St. Martin's Press will release the book on February 15, 2011, and will be available through all outlets (bookstores and online in hardcover and ebook formats).