A native New Yorker, I graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 1985.
I began my career at Simon & Schuster, where I worked- and thrived- as an editor at three different imprints: Fireside Books, Summit Books and Simon & Schuster Trade. At that time ( in the late 1990’s), I was the youngest editor to ever attend the Editorial Board and buy my own books (as opposed to editing for other senior editors). Some of those books, including Michele Weiner-Davis’ DIVORCE BUSTING became long-term bestsellers. After 8 years, I moved to G.P. Putnam where I was also profoundly happy for 4 years. CEO Phyllis Grann frequently announced that “I brought non-fiction to Putnam.” That was, needless to say, a gross exaggeration. And ironic given that one of my most celebrated authors at Putnam was novelist Jodi Picoult. From Putnam, I went on to co-found the Golden Books Adult Trade Division with a former colleague from Simon & Schuster. We published books for women and the family in every category- from Steven Covey to Maria Shriver, to a dozen books from the editors of Parents Magazine. I then moved on to become the editor-at-large of Regan Books/HarperCollins.
Some of the other numerous bestselling and prominent authors I published during my years as an editor include Mary Tyler Moore, Marilou Henner, Sylvia Earle, Barry Paris, Carol Felsenthal, Tracy Thompson, Daniel Coyle, Lionel Tiger, Maxine Chernoff and Nelson George.
I left Regan Books/HarperCollins because I wanted to experience other parts of the publishing industry. Having recently had a premature baby, I co-authored Why Motor Skills Matter (McGraw-Hill 2004) with my son’s sensory integration therapist. It is an extremely worthwhile book for parents on the relationship between sensory integration and motor development as they relate to overall intelligence. (Don’t ask my why, but I still get royalty checks from its sales in Brazil!)
I subsequently became a contributing editor to Reader’s Digest, where I wrote cover stories on people such as Phil McGraw and Uma Thurman, and brought the magazine’s editorial team to meet with all of the New York publishers and their Subsidiary Rights associates. It was a wonderful education to be “on the other side of the fence” so to speak; becoming an author of both a book and magazine pieces, as well as being part of the team of selling books for subsidiary rights, gave me a much broader landscape from which to understand the business.
Then one day within that first year of working for Reader’s Digest, the wonderful Carol Mann said to me, "Laura, you are one of the best editors of your generation. If you don’t want to do that any more, then come be an agent with me. You’ll still be doing a lot of editorial work." And so it was- and is. And yes, I still do a ton of editorial work- my truest passion.
As a literary agent as well as a long-time editor, my clients include: Henry S. Lodge M.D. and Chris Crowley, bestselling authors of the Younger Next Year books which have sold almost 3 million copies in the U.S. as well as in 22 languages; George Vaillant M.D, eminent Harvard psychiatrist, long-time director of the famed Harvard Grant Study and bestselling author; Jane Alexander, former NEA Director and Emmy and Tony award winning actress; Aneesh Chopra, first CTO of the United States; Ping Fu, Obama adviser, world-renowned tech superstar, founder of Geomagic Inc. and CSO of 3D Systems Inc; Jimmy Soni, former managing editor of the Huffington Post; Willow Bay, broadcast news reporter and Director of the School of Journalism at USC; Judy Estrin, Obama adviser and former Cisco CTO; Oz Garcia celebrity nutritionist; Michael Tonello, author of the cult classic Bringing Home the Birkin; Alison Thompson, volunteer worker awarded the Medal of Excellence by the US Army and knighted by Queen Elizabeth for her work after the Tsunami and in Haiti ( where she started and ran Sean Penn’s relief camp); Janice Macleod, best-selling author of Paris Letters; Richard Kirshenbaum, famed advertising CEO and creator of guerrilla marketing as well as innovator of branding- and author of the column, book and soon to be produced network TV series Isn’t That Rich?; Eric Hollander, noted autism researcher and former chief of psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Hospital; Jackie Leo, former Editor-in-Chief of Child, Reader’s Digest and Consumer Reports; Stewart Harvey, photographer, brother of Burning Man founder Larry Harvey and author of the forthcoming definitive book on Burning Man and his 25 years as an intimate historian; Erin Brokovich, renowned consumer advocate who continues to bring power to the people in climates of crisis.
I am deeply passionate about the written word, and about books. I love helping writers mold their words into creation- whether I am acting as an editor, a publisher, or as a literary agent. I have remained this passionate since I wrote a novel in college as my honors dissertation (which was politely rejected by a number of houses and a few icons including George Plimpton). My passion has never flagged. Even so, the publishing industry has undergone radical changes in the past decade and a half. Ebooks- a wonderful additional portal for readers, and a spectacular addition to the ways of being published-are a double-edged sword as they have also drastically altered the publishing industry’s financial model.
Today, a book that would have been readily published a decade or so ago very well might not be – at least not through traditional publishing. The bar has been set much higher; in the quality of the writing, the platform of the author, and the commercial marketplace. Publishers are far less willing to take a chance on an unknown author, and they rely on the author to reach his audience as much as they rely on their own staff. Furthermore, Nielson Bookscan now gives a fairly accurate report of any book’s sales. Hence, a previously published author’s advance is linked to how well her last book sold, regardless of the quality or social impact of the new book. Authors’ advances are smaller in general. Of course, major advances are still very much in existence, but mostly for repeat bestselling authors and those with very high profiles- which today must include a widely viewed platform conceived largely of social media.
Finally, even if an author sells his book to a traditional house, it is far less likely to get the editorial attention it once did; publishers don’t buy novels “that need a lot of work.” They buy manuscripts that are already polished. The same holds true for non-fiction proposals and for memoirs. Which is why so many writers today hire freelance editors.
Because of this, as a literary agent I must select a mere handful of books a year that I believe I can sell for six figures. But my truest love, editing, is something I still do frequently and consistently. I find it intensely gratifying. I love to help authors who have projects that I would have bought when I was an editor, and help these projects become competitive in today’s marketplace. I contextually edit and line edit proposals as well as full manuscripts, ghostwrite proposals, and consult with clients on what I think are the best avenues for them to consider in getting their work published. If, after reading about me, you feel we would enjoy working together on your project, please contact me!
Please see my overview
Please see my Overview for the authors i published
Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most.Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death. The Five Invitations is an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of ... read more
The dramatic, spiritual memoir of a prominent Muslim woman working to empower women and girls across the world—for readers of Malala Yousafzai and Azar Nafisi.Raised in a progressive Muslim family in the shadows of the Himalayan mountains, where she attended a Catholic girls’ school, Daisy experienced culture shock when her family sent her to the States to attend high school in a mostly Jewish... read more
An award-winning environmental activist and social entrepreneur exposes the link between our financial and environmental crisesFor decades, politicians and business leaders alike told the American public that today's challenge was growing the economy, and that environmental protection could be left to future generations. Now in the wake of billions of dollars in costs associated with coastal d... read more
At a time when many people around the world are living into their tenth decade, the longest longitudinal study of human development ever undertaken offers some welcome news for the new old age: our lives continue to evolve in our later years, and often become more fulfilling than before.Begun in 1938, the Grant Study of Adult Development charted the physical and emotional health of over 200 me... read more
Turn back your biological clock. A breakthrough book for men--as much fun to read as it is persuasive--Younger Next Year draws on the very latest science of aging to show how men 50 or older can become functionally younger every year for the next five to ten years, and continue to live like fifty-year-olds until well into their eighties. To enjoy life and be stronger, healthier, and more alert... read more
Internationally renowned as the ambassador-at-large to the world's oceans, Sylvia Earle is an extraordinary woman--the former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a distinguished marine biologist, a veteran of more than 6,000 hours underwater, the founder of an ocean engineering firm, and an eloquent advocate for marine conservation. Sea Change is at once the... read more
Over the last twenty years, our economy and our society have been completely revolutionized by technology. As Aneesh Chopra shows in Innovative State, once it became clear how much this would change America, a movement arose around the idea that these same technologies could reshape and improve government. But the idea languished, and while the private sector innovated, our government stalled.... read more
A moving, inspiring, personal look at the vastly changing world of wildlife on planet earth as a result of human incursion, and the crucial work of animal and bird preservation across the globe being done by scientists, field biologists, zoologists, environmentalists, and conservationists. From a longtime, much-admired activist, impassioned wildlife proponent and conservationist, former chairp... read more
Describes the struggle of a group of kids from a Chicago housing project and their white-collar coaches to triumph in Little League baseball, chronicling their journey from the first practice to the championship game. 75,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo.
Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping Fu was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the teenagers in Mao’s Red Guard. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 and a few phrases of English.Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childho... read more
For more than twenty years, the Hermès Birkin bag has been the iconic symbol of fashion, luxury, and wealth. With a fabled waiting list of more than two years to purchase one, the average fashionista has a better chance of climbing Mount Everest in Prada pumps than of possessing this coveted carryall. Unless, of course, she happens to know Michael Tonello. . . . With down-to-earth wit, Michael... read more
A New York Times bestsellerFinding love and freedom in a pen, a paintbrush...and ParisHow much money does it take to quit your job?Exhausted and on the verge of burnout, Janice poses this questions to herself as she doodles on a notepad at her desk. Surprisingly, the answer isn't as daunting as she expected. With a little math and a lot of determination, Janice cuts back, saves up, and buys he... read more
Katherine Graham's story has all the elements of the phoenix rising from the ashes, and in Carol Felsenthal's unauthorized biography, Power, Privilege, and the Post, Graham's personal tragedies and triumphs are revealed. The homely and insecure daughter of the Jewish millionaire and owner of The Washington Post, Eugene Myer, Kay married the handsome, brilliant and power hungry Phillip Graham i... read more
Alison Thompson, a filmmaker living in New York City, was enjoying Christmas with her boyfriend in 2004 when she saw the news reports online: a 9.3 magnitude earthquake had struck the sea near Indonesia, triggering a massive tsunami that hit much of southern Asia. As she watched the death toll climb, Thompson had one thought: She had to go help. A few years earlier, she had spent eight months ... read more
This treasure of a book, for people of all faiths, is a starting point for parents who must talk about the difficult topic of death with their children.What should parents say when a loved one dies? Heaven is a difficult subject that always comes up at tough times, and Maria Shriver has written a very special book precisely for these stressful moments. What's Heaven? is the story of Kate, a li... read more
In his first major work since The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven R. Covey presents a practical and philosophical guide to solving the problems--large and small, mundane and extraordinary--that confront all families and strong communities. By offering revealing anecdotes about ordinary people as well as helpful suggestions about changing everyday behavior, The 7 Habits of Highly Ef... read more
er inner turmoil, battling major depressive episodes to become a successful career woman, but always hostage to a hidden fear that the Beast would prove more powerful than she was. The Beast gives voice to the brain's dysfunction with eloquence and unflinching honesty, and is a survivor's courageous inquiry into the source and cure of an illness.
Practical advice for parents on the interaction among their child's muscular, mental, and motor development "Why Motor Skills Matter provides not only knowledge but a game plan as to how parents can help their little ones develop optimal potential via play, stimulation, and establishment of an appropriate environment." --Ruth A. Peters, Ph.D., bestselling author of Laying Down the Law Accordin... read more
In the tradition of Maria Shriver's What's Heaven?, respected journalist and mother Willow Bay helps parents with the difficult task of raising children in a post September 11th world.Our world was inalterably changed on September 11th. Even as parents rushed to turn off scary TV images and hide newspapers from curious eyes, it soon became clear that children can't always be protected from the... read more
The most ambitious and personal account ever written about Hollywood's most gracious star-Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris is a "moving portrayal" (The New York Times Book Review) that truly captures the woman who captured our hearts...With the insights of family and friends who never before spoke to a Hepburn biographer-and never-before-published photographs-Paris has created an in-depth portrai... read more
Police chief of a small Massachusetts town, Cameron McDonald makes the toughest arrest of his life when his own cousin Jamie comes to him and confesses outright that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy.Now, a heated murder trial plunges the town into upheaval, and drives a wedge into a contented marriage: Cameron, aiding the prosecution in their case against Jamie, is suddenly a... read more
A forty-three-year-old physician describes how he was diagnosed with an often fatal cardiac condition at age fifteen and presents poignant memoir of his struggle to become a doctor, raise of family, and, most of all, value life despite adversity.
"Cato, history's most famous foe of authoritarian power, was the pivotal political man of Rome; an inspiration to our Founding Fathers; and a cautionary figure for our times. He loved Roman republicanism, but saw himself as too principled for the mere politics that might have saved it. His life and lessons are urgently relevant in the harshly divided America―and world―of today. With erudition ... read more
Parents often confuse love with overindulgence, afraid to subject their children to a moment of frustration or deprive them of anything they might desire. But in order to become resilient and responsible adults, children must learn that they can't always get their way.Since motherhood is now her most important role, beloved actress Marilu Henner has often turned to Dr. Ruth Velikovsky Sharon, ... read more
In this groundbreaking book, Michele Weiner-Davis gives straightforward, effective advice on preventing divorce and how couples can stay together instead of coming apart.Using case histories to illustrate her marriage-enriching, divorce-preventing techniques, which can be used even if only one partner participates, Weiner-Davis shows readers: * How to leave the past behind and set attainable g... read more
Celebrated ad man Richard Kirshenbaum, the original New York observer, reveals the fashions, foibles, and outrageous extravagances of the private-jet set Paid friends. Pot dealers draped in Dolce. Divorce settlements that include the Birkins at their current retail price. Air kisses, landing strips, and lounge-chair bribery. For most of us, the idea of life inside the golden triad of Park Aven... read more
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