Hierarchy of Book Publishing
The Top 100
(circa 2012)

1). Brand-name authors (still)

  • Stephen King (since 1974)
  • John Grisham (1989)
  • Patricia Cornwell (1990)
  • Jodi Picoult (1992)
  • Nicholas Sparks (1996)
  • Jennifer Weiner (2001)
  • Etc.

2). Self-published authors with proven track (developing)

  • J.A. Konrath (since 2004)
  • John Locke (2009)
  • Amanda Hocking (2010)
  • Brittany Geragotelis (2011)
  • Etc.

3). Amy Einhorn’s hair™

4). Authors who have been to Heaven, met God

  • Todd Burpo
  • Tim Tebow


  • A Game of Thrones
  • A chick who hatches dragons from her vagina
  • I never meet women like this

6). Intern assigned to company twitter feed

7). Intern assigned to company tumblr feed


  • The Hunger Games
  • March 23, 2012

9). American Cheerleader Magazine

  • See #2, Brittany Geragotelis

10). The Chairmen, Publishers, and Editor-in-Chiefs (still)

  • Sonny Mehta, Knopf – handsome, smokes, drinks, spent time in Australian jail, rarely talks or responds to email
  • Michael Pietsch, Little Brown – not as handsome as Sonny, practitioner of Bikram, mostly clean track with minor indiscretions (smoking a bone with Keith)
  • Jonathan Galassi, FSG – complicated, a poet
  • Karp, S&S – now wants to be addressed only by his last name, a real Yenta
  • Do they have one at Harper Collins? (checking on this)
  • Etc.

11). Literary Agents (still)

  • Amanda Urban, aka, Binky: “I wouldn’t take that offer to my fucking maid.”
  • Andrew Wylie, aka, The Jackal: “Surely ours was a misunderstanding.”
  • Bill Clegg, aka, Stovepipe: “Bill is temporarily out of the office on business.”
  • Etc.

12). Robert B. Barnett™

  • President William J. Clinton
  • President George W. Bush
  • Sir Elton John
  • Amanda Knox

13). The Amazon Ecosystem (metastasizing)

  • The Kindle™
  • The Fire™
  • The Singles™
  • The Lockers™ (now at Barton’s Gym)
  • The Great Grandinetti™
  • The Kirshbaumazon™
  • The Black Pearl™

14). The Big Six

  • Len Riggio
  • Steve Riggio
  • Tony Riggio
  • Carmen Riggio
  • Lou Riggio
  • Dom Riggio
  • “You talkin’ to me?”

15). The Other Big Six

  • Random House
  • Pearson
  • Macmillan
  • Hachette
  • Harper Collins
  • Simon & Schuster
  • WE ARE NOT TALKING TO EACH OTHER (this for the benefit of the Justice Department)

16). William J. Lynch, Jr.

  • NOOK Simple Touch™
  • NOOK Color™
  • NOOK Tablet™

17). The Independent Booksellers of America

  • God bless every one of them

18). The Cheerleading Futurists

  • Dominique Raccah: “We need to let go of some of the things we are attached to.”
  • Tim O’Reilly: “An invention has to make sense in the world it finishes in, not in the world it started.”
  • Mike Shatzkin: “The pieces are in place for evolution to turn into revolution.”
  • S&S sales guy: “Is all this better than what we had?”

19). The Industry Press

  • Michael Cader (weighs all news coverage against how much conference business it will bring in)
  • Sarah Weinman (reports everything through the prism of crime in Canada)
  • Julie Bosman  (“Aaron Rogers is my co-pilot!”)
  • Jeff Trachtenberg (“Is there a .99 cent pricing angle I can work into the story?”)

20). Paulo Coelho™ on Twitter

  • “To appreciate a rainbow, one must first come to appreciate the rain.”
  • Hallmark has hired team of psychologists to capture the sentiment of his feed with the hopes of recreating same in an upcoming greeting card line

21). National Public Radio

22). Christopher Hitchens (always and forever)

23). The New Yorker (still)

  • David Remnick™
  • Now in his late 50’s (hair salt and pepper)
  • Still only willing to give authors a shitty little credit line in the magazine

24). Nuisance law suits

  • Price fixing blah blah blah

25). The possibility that everyone in book publishing will wind up in jail

26). The New York Times (still)

  • Sam Tanenhaus (he put on Stieg Larsson on the fucking cover!)
  • Michiko Kakutani (industry consensus: would prefer her medicated)
  • Janet Maslin (Erik Larson and Benjamin Cheever now; Elvis Costello and Jon Landau then)
  • Dwight Garner (writes most of his reviews juiced while listening to Earl Scruggs)

27). Scott Rudin™

  • If those guys running the National Book Awards had any fucking balls, this is the guy they’d present with a lifetime achievement award

28). Adult adaptations of children’s classics (vis a vis “Go the F**k to Sleep”)

  • Pet the Bunny
  • The Very Horny Caterpillar
  • Chitty Chitty Gang Bang
  • Charlotte’s M*ff
  • A Balling for Daisy
  • Pinkalicious

29). The iBookstore

  • iBooks Author
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad 3
  • Siri, the editor (see #89)

30). Julian Fellowes

  • Elizabeth McGovern
  • Why does she look so sad all the time?
  • I would still nail her

31). Shane Cyr’s Cat (Louis)

  • Louis signs multi-book deal with Workman
  • Louis gets his own imprint as well

32). Paula Deen and Novo Nordisk

33). Timothy Ferris and Pfizer

  • The 4-Hour Erection
  • Married women unhappy about this development

34). Giada DeLaurentiis and Guia la Bruna

  • Sourced but not verified (could use some help and a few pictures here)

35). CANADA (the country)

  • Because people up there read (what else is there to do?)
  • Margaret Atwood’s line drawings to be featured exclusively in Anthropologie® catalogues

36). Suzy Orman

  • The Approved Card™
  • I have a bad feeling about this
  • Bernie Madoff
  • The New York Mets

37). Entertainment Weekly

  • They put Stieg Larsson on the cover 3 times!

38). The Atlantic

  • Retweeted Caitlin Flanagan’s essay on Joan Didion 76,000,000 times

39). Vanity Fair

  • For keeping Annie Leibovitz™ on the payroll

40). 60 Minutes™, The Daily Show™ (a tie)

41). The New York Observer

  • Emily Witt working on “female version of ‘Thy Neighbor’s Wife’ — an occasionally participatory cultural history of shifting sexual morals in America.”
  • I am available for consults (pbogaards@randomhouse.com)

 42). New York Magazine

  • Boris the Butcher™

43). The specter of long-term unemployment

44). The New Republic (still)

  • Begriff! WTF?
  • Leon’s hair™

45). Jamie Byng’s hair™

  • “2012 Canongate Comeback Tour” sponsored by Paul Mitchell
  • Would nail him as well

46). Laura Miller when she is cranky

47). Laura Miller when she is not cranky

48). paidContent

49). Field sales rep

50). techcrunch

51). All those people from the UK who post shit on Twitter while we are still sleeping

  • @DigitalDanHouse
  • @samatlounge
  • @eoinpurcell
  • @pressfuturist
  • Etc.

52). Book Publishing Extinction Timeline

  • June 2012
  • December 2012
  • May 2013
  • November 2013
  • February 2014

53). Questions from our children

  • Do you think the Mayan prophecies have something to do with book publishing? (see #52)

54). McSweeney’s

  • @bengreenman

55). Found cocktail napkin with handwriting on it from SXSW

  • “I’m telling you we have to figure out what this says and run with it.”

56). Summer Hours

  • For editors (in the office Tuesdays and Wednesdays, out on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays as well as the months of July and August)
  • For everyone else (in the office Monday through Friday with some early departures on Friday afternoon)

57). Man Booker Prize

  • Dame Stella steps down, Sir Elton steps up

58). Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

  • Heaving bosoms, and more

59). The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

  • Chad (gay voting block)
  • Tea (straight voting block)
  • Justin (Hispanic voting block)

60). BEA Buzz Panel

61). The Rumpus

62). The Nobel Prize in Literature (early favorites)

  • Adam Mansbach, 3 to 1
  • Cormac McCarthy, 5 to 1
  • Haruki Murakami, 10 to 1

63). @Bookavore

  • I would nail her too.

64). Charlie Rose

  • A.M.

65). Charlie Rose

  • P.M.

66). Shelf Awareness

  • Conceived in a damp basement in New Jersey

67). The Millions

  • Run out of a damp basement in New Jersey

68). New Jersey™

  • John Mutter
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Paul Fucking Kozlowski!
  • Up yours, Brooklyn!

69). Publishers Weekly

70). National Book Awards

  • Will find a way to gin up business by cooking up another hootschvitz.

71). National Book Critics Circle

  • Earnest bunch who never get enough credit for their industry contributions

72). New York Review of Books (still)

  • Robert Silvers (see #71)

73). Chris Pavone!

  • The Expats
  • Discovered tax loophole allowing him to write-off 3-year stay in Luxembourg
  • Got a book advance from his wife (sort of)
  • Has his own table at Balthazar™ (still)

74). HR person in charge of holiday calendar

  • Industry consensus is that this person should get a big raise

75). Stieg Larsson estate

76). Bookscan

77). USA Today

78). The person who always says to authors, “You are wonderful.”

  • See  #98

79). Sales conference sex

80). Cormac McCarthy
“Had it.” Cormac.
“Had it?” Binky.
“Had it with what?”
“Throwin’ in the towel.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Cormac?”
“What about goddamn books?”
“Well, see, I been thinkin’ bout that. And the thing is, they take an awful long time to write.”
“Not if you’re James Patterson.”
“Jimbo. Well. Now that’s different. His ‘Maximum Ride’ stuff is pretty good. My son reads ‘em. I picked up one of the books off his night table. Kind of like that ‘Fang’ character.”
“Anyway. The books. Gonna put ‘em on the back burner for a spell.”
“And do what instead?”
“Well I been thinkin’ about that too. And you know I got a few screenplays I been workin’ on. I got one about a think tank where they unleash a contagion that makes everyone talk like Jeff Bridges in ‘True Grit.’ World goes to shit ‘cuz no one can figure out what the hell anyone is sayin’.”
“Jee-zus, Cormac. You really need to get out more.”
Long pause.
“Maybe. I do admire your candor. You ever been shootin’?
“You should think about it. I bet you’d be a helluva shot. Anyway, I’ll be in touch.”

81). Sales conference

82). Goodreads

83). Frankfurt Book Fair

  • Drunk Germans doing the oompa-loompa!

84). London Book Fair

  • Drunk Germans doing the oompa-loompa! (see #83)

85). Seth Godin

  • “Every organization has three kinds of people: those that think, those that act, and those that think about sex and act.”
  • I fall into the third category

86). Amy Chua

  • Will you be my Tiger Mother™, just for a night?

87). 12-year-old in Iceland operating BitTorrent site and netting 50 grand a day selling pirated editions of Stieg Larsson

88). Tina Brown and Harry Evans

  • That Tina is still a babe!
  • Would nail her as well

89). Editors!

  • But not for long (see #29)

90). The Digital Marketers

  • “We need to think like Proctor and Gamble.”

91). Sales Director

92). boing boing

93). Corporate travel person

94). The person who makes posters

95). Author portal administrator

  • “Why the fuck am I logged in as Stieg Larsson?”
  • Full disclosure: I used this joke in a previous twitter post

96). IT TEAM

  • Hey, thanks for installing Windows 7 on my computer. NOW WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO?

97). Cafeteria chef

98). Publicists (always and forever)

  • see  #78
  • A publicist knows things your editor does not
  • Your henna color and mix
  • Your bra size
  • What you look like in the morning, sans make-up (ugh)
  • That you have a stalker in Chicago
  • That you take your water flat, at room temperature, poured into an 8 ounce glass
  • That your sharpies need to be replaced with every 300th signature
  • Aisle, bulkhead
  • Dressing on the side
  • That you sent an anonymous, threatening letter to Michi one evening when you were drunk
  • All the people in book publishing you have slept with
  • That your hotel room must have AT LEAST TWO SOUTH FACING WINDOWS

99). Publicity Directors

  • Not so much

100). You