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News from 2005 | Doris S. Michaels Literary Agency, Inc.

News from 2005

December, 2005

Happy Holidays from the DSM Agency!


THE WHY CAFE soars around the world!

International sales so far:

1) Campus (Brazil)
2) Gimm Young (Korea)
3) TA-KE SHOBO (Japan)
4) China Times (Taiwan)
5) DTV (Germany)
6) Dekolte (Turkey)
7) Beta (Czech Republic)
8) Piatkus (UK)
9) Ankh-Hermes (Holland)

THE WHY CAFE will be published by Persues Books in June 2006 as a lead title. Below see the text from the two-page spread now available in the Spring 2006 catalog.


A parable about personal purpose- a Jonathan Livingston Seagull for the new millennium

John Strelecky
The Why Café

In a small diner at a location so remote that it stands in the middle of the middle of nowhere, John — a man in a hurry — is at a literal and figurative crossroads. Intent only on refueling before moving along on his road trip, John finds sustenance of an entirely different kind: in addition to the specials of the day, the menu lists three questions that all diners are encouraged to consider:

Why are you here?
Do you fear death?
Are you fulfilled?

With the guidance of three people he meets at the café, John embarks on a quest for answers that symbolically takes him from the executive suites of the advertising world to the surf of Hawaii’s coastline. Along the way, he discovers a new way to look at his life and relationships… and just how much you can learn from a green sea turtle. The Why Café will get readers young and free and older and entrenched to rethink their personal yardstick for success.

Charming, simple and inspiring, it will change lives.

John Strelecky conducts seminars and workshops dedicated to helping people create and live their ideal lives. He has consulted for Fortune 500 companies as well as lectured at the university level. He lives in Orlando, Florida.


Featured in The New York Times December 5, 2005

RE: Author Joe Ellis and his book AHEAD OF THE CURVE

What’s Ahead: Blue Skies, or More Forecasts of Them?
By David Leonhardt
The nation’s economic forecasters are all but unanimous in predicting that the coming year will not bring a recession. It isn’t so clear, however, whether that forecast has any meaning.

Wall Street economists are notorious for insisting that all is fine even when a downturn is just around the corner. The few pessimists who regularly prophesize doom are only occasionally right.

Even the actual start of a recession does not always help. Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, spent much of early 2001 saying that a recession was avoidable. In fact, one had already begun.

Trying to predict recessions – an effort that drives much of forecasting – turns out to have little practical use. The more relevant question might be whether growth is likely to speed up or slow down in the coming year, and most of the signs, like still-high energy costs and a cooling housing market, are pointing to a slowdown.

Slowing economies matter because they often set the stage for recessions, and they usually drag down stock prices in any event. By the time a recession begins and job losses are mounting, stocks are frequently rising again.

“The recession obsession is a terrible mistake,” said Joseph H. Ellis, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who was ranked the country’s top retail analyst for 18 straight years by Institutional Investor magazine. “We need to find a way to talk about slowing rates of growth. We need new language.”

In a new book, “Ahead of the Curve” (Harvard Business School Press, 2005), Mr. Ellis argues that the economy’s direction is easier to divine than many people think. Cast aside the recession obsession, look beyond the torrent of confusing data each week, he says, and you can often tell what the economy’s next move will be. You still won’t know when the next recession is coming, but neither do Mr. Greenspan or Wall Street’s prophets.

In 2006, Mr. Ellis says, the economy will probably slow more than most forecasters predict, for the same important reason it has typically slowed at other points in the last 40 years: weak wage growth.

The forecasters polled in a regular survey by the Philadelphia Fed say they think that the economy will expand 3.4 percent next year, down from 3.6 this year. To Mr. Ellis – who is also the founder of Blue Tulip, a chain of gift and paper stores in the Northeast – 2 percent growth might be more likely.

“We’re probably past the peak,” he said.

The key to his system is paying attention to people’s paychecks and comparing them with inflation. These checks receive less attention than the unemployment rate or job growth, but they are far more important to the economy.

Only a fraction of workers lose their job in a given year. But all workers get paid, and the changes in their pay help determine consumer spending. Consumer spending, in turn, makes up about two-thirds of the $12 trillion American economy. Where it goes, industrial production, capital spending and hiring eventually follow.

For most of the last two years, wages of rank-and-file workers – about 80 percent of the work force – have been growing more slowly than inflation. Upper-income households have done better, but surging energy costs this year have dented their buying power as well.

In the 12 months ending in November, the weekly pay of rank-and-file workers fell about 0.5 percent, after taking inflation into account, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Annual rates of change like this are another of Mr. Ellis’s fixations; the month-to-month changes that are often reported by the news media are much too noisy to be useful, he says.)

Just about every other time that inflation-adjusted pay growth has slowed in recent decades, consumer spending eventually took a hit, too. The big exceptions came after tax cuts, such as the ones proposed by President Reagan in the early 1980’s and by President Bush during his first term. But the current federal budget deficit makes another tax cut unlikely next year.

Wage growth has not been a perfect economic predictor, of course. Nothing is. Corporate investment and international trade also matter.

And forms of income other than regular wages, like bonuses and stock options, are bigger than they were in past decades. They helped keep the economy growing at a surprisingly healthy pace in 2004 and 2005 despite high energy costs and lagging wages.

The figures that Mr. Ellis tracks “are only part of the story,” said James O’Sullivan, an economist at UBS. “You’ve had a pretty clear pattern where total wage-and-salary income has been consistently stronger.”

It is also possible that the recent tax cuts and real-estate boom have carried the economy through its danger zone. Nominal wage growth – that is, before accounting for inflation – picked up this year as the job market improved. Oil prices have recently fallen, which suggests that Mr. Ellis’s favorite indicator – inflation-adjusted wages – might be on the verge of turning around.

Still, the economy has rarely escaped pain after years of slowing real wages, even if there is sometimes a lag. Mr. Ellis began to use his system at Goldman Sachs in the early 1970’s, and it played a big role in his success as a retail analyst.

It also earned him needling when he strayed from Wall Street’s usual sunny forecasts. Slowing wage growth started worrying him in late 1998, for instance, but friends told him that the wealth that had been created by the long bull market would keep the economy booming.

They did, but only temporarily. Rising house values might well have played a similar role in the last couple years. “These things can postpone a decline” in spending growth, he said, “but they can’t prevent it.”

If Mr. Ellis is wrong, he will have picked a bad time to commit his ideas to paper. If he is right, Wall Street’s forecasts next December will revolve around the question of whether the slowdown of 2006 will become the recession of 2007. You can guess what their answer will be.

November, 2005

Featured in Publisher’s Marketplace

Foreign Rights: UK Non-Fiction

UK rights to Jeffrey Fox’s latest book, SECRETS OF GREAT RAINMAKERS, to Vermillion, in a nice deal, by Abner Stein of Abner Stein Literary Agency, on behalf of DSM Agency.

Foreign Rights: Fiction

UK rights to John Strelecky’s THE WHY CAFÉ, a fable designed to get readers thinking about their personal reason for being – to Piatkus, in a nice deal, by Arabella Stein of Abner Stein Literary Agency, and Dutch rights to Emy ten Seldam of Ankh-Hermes, in a nice deal, by Marijke Lijnkamp of Lijnkamp Literary Agents, both on behalf of DSM Agency.

October, 2005

Featured in Publisher’s Marketplace:

Non-fiction: Business/ Investing/ Finance

Humorist Dan Seidman’s SALES AUTOPSY, offering contrarian thinking on the selling life, featuring stories and postmortems of blunders and sales gone wrong, to Karen Murphy at Kaplan Publishing, by Doris S. Michaels at the DSM Agency (world). 
Rights: agnes_banks@kaplan.com 

DSM Agency’s

Frankfurt Hot List 2005

Top books with international rights available

( www.dsmagency.com )

John Strelecky


Perseus Books ( North America – Spring 2006)

Campus ( Brazil ); Gimm Young ( Korea ); TA-KE SHOBO ( Japan ); China Times ( Taiwan); DTV ( Germany ); Dekolte ( Turkey )

Self-help parable asking, “Why are you here? Do you fear death? Are you fulfilled?”

Jeffrey Fox

SECRETS OF GREAT RAINMAKERS: Keys to Success and Wealth

Book # 7 with Hyperion ( North America – March 2006)

Alpina ( Russia ); Vocatio ( Poland )

Getting tips, tricks and potent stories from famous and soon-to-be discovered rainmakers.

Peter Roy and James Autry

THE BOOK OF HARD CHOICES: Putting Your Integrity to Work

Random House ( North America – Fall 2006)

Practical examples of the positive and negative consequences of difficult business decisions that leave your integrity on the line.

Stuart Lucas

WEALTH: Grow It, Protect It, Share It, and Pass It On

Prentice Hall (World English – February 2006 )

Advice for consumers and providers of wealth management consultation services based on stories from clients and friends.

Joseph H. Ellis

AHEAD OF THE CURVE: A Commonsense Guide to Forecasting Business and Market Cycles

Harvard Business School Press (World English – September 2005)

How to predict the stock market and economic cycles, offering an easy, hands-on, insider’s approach.

Nance Guilmartin

HEALING CONVERSATIONS: What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

Jossey-Bass (World English – 2002)

Ankh-Hermes (Netherlands); Sogides (France); Goldmann (Germany); Bertrand-Brasil (Brazil); Svenska (Sweden); Cite (Complex Chinese); NLN s.r.o. (Czech Republic); Haneon (Korea)

A collection of poignant stories and proven advice to help friends, family, and colleagues support one another during times of crisis and change.

August, 2005

Featured in Publisher’s Marketplace:

Foreign Rights Deals

Italian rights to Hamilton Beazley’s NO REGRETS: A Ten-Step Program for Living in the Present and Leaving the Past Behind, to Red Edizioni/Boroli Editore, in a nice deal, by Piergiorgio Nicolazzini at Piergiorgio Nicolazzini Literary Agency, on behalf of Doris S. Michaels Agency.

Rights to John Strelecky’s THE WHY ARE YOU HERE CAFE, to Gimm Young in Korea, by Sue Yang at Eric Yang Agency, and Campus in Brazil, by Raquel de la Concha, on behalf of Doris S. Michaels at DSM Agency.

Japanese translation rights to John Strelecky’s THE WHY ARE YOU HERE CAFE, to Ms. Ogawa at TA-KE SHOBO, by Miko Yamanouchi at Japan Uni, on behalf of Doris Michaels at DSM Agency.

July, 2005

Featured in Publisher’s Marketplace:


John Strelecky’s THE WHY ARE YOU HERE CAFÉ, a fable designed to get readers thinking about their personal reason for being, to Marnie Cochran at Da Capo Lifelong, for publication in Spring 2006, by Doris Michaels (NA).

Also recently sold:

Barbara Stoker’s POSITIVE RISK,  four simple strategies for taking the right risks in the smartest way possible, addressing women’s personal & professional mountains to Jossey-Bass of John Wiley and Sons and A WOMAN WITH A MINUTE, an illustrated look at how womenwho can get more done in a minute than any other group out theretend to not give themselves the credit they deserve, to Andrews McMeel Publishing.

May, 2005

Literary Agent Ben Salmon Featured in the WNBA May Newsletter:

Meet A Member: Ben Salmon

Many outside the WNBA think our organization is made up solely of women. Not so! This month, we speak with WNBA member and Literary Agent Ben Salmon , who tells us about his work, his interests, and why he’s a proud member of the Women’s National Book Association.

Tell us how, and when, you joined the New York chapter.

I’ve been a member since October 2004. I work with WNBA member Doris Michaels and she strongly recommended that I check out the WNBA. Doris forwarded me the emails about the panels and I looked at the newsletter when it came into the office. I was so intrigued, I couldn’t help but join. And I’m incredibly glad I did.

How has membership benefited you?

I work for a small company. I was craving more human interaction. The WNBA is perfect because I can quench my intellectual thirsts via the panels and workshops, while I can feed my social needs via the networking meals and events. I’ve already met dozens of wonderful and fascinating people I may not have connected with otherwise.

What’s it like being a male member of an organization that has ‘women’ in the title?

I am proud to be a member. I studied the mission statement and the rich history of the WNBA closely (everyone should read them on the website if they aren’t familiar). The WNBA was created because women booksellers were excluded from the all-male Bookseller’s League. How wonderful is it that the WNBA’s membership goal is one of inclusion? We should not be judged on our gender, but on our contributions, performance and the value of our work.

You are a graduate of the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. How did the program aid your entry into publishing?

I got my job because of it! The NYU program is like publishing boot camp, with students’ time split between book and magazine publishing. You have great access to industry professionals because they bring in dozens of publishing executives each year for lectures and panels. While I was there, Doris, who is a graduate of the program, happened to call the coordinator looking for an assistant. I heard this and got in touch, and she hired me.

Tell us about your work.

I was recently promoted to Literary Agent at the DSM Agency, where previously I was an Assistant Literary Agent. The new position was created for me and we are filling my old position so I can focus on working with authors and representing projects. I love agenting. I find it’s the perfect fusion of my skills and interests. My blend of business sense and literary sense merge well in this career. My desire to continually learn is met with each new project I represent. I adore meeting new people and building long-term relationships with people, which serves me well. This is, I suppose you could say, my soul-mate career.

What kind of projects do you look for?

I’m an eclectic generalist, willing to take a look at anything of the highest quality. I adore quirky fiction (literary, commercial or somewhere in between) and enjoy the occasional fun mystery. The key ingredients I look for in any project are an original voice, strong writing, wit, an interesting or odd perspective, and an ability to not take oneself too seriously. In non-fiction, topics that interest me include lifestyle, self-help, pop culture, health, current affairs, narrative, memoir and biography, social sciences, gender and humor. I have a devout interest in trends and read the marketplace for what’s going to be the next hot topic.

What do you like to read? Any favorite books?

Oh, gosh, that’s like asking me to choose my favorite parent. My favorite books and authors are ever evolving and changing. Right now, I’m reading a lot of quirky first fiction. I’m finding that there’s something fresh and unadulterated in good first fiction; you can really feel the energy and passion rushing out of it. I particularly like Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season , Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Marc Acito’s How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater.

Where do you live? Where are you from?

I currently live in Hoboken , New Jersey with my wife, Emily and two dachshunds, Olive and Rosa. My wife is a teacher who works in the resource room of an elementary school in Summit , New Jersey . Most of my life, I grew up in Amsterdam , New York . I was born in Washington , D.C.

If members want to get in touch, how can they reach you?

Members can reach me via email at bensalmon@dsmagency.com. Also, to find out more about the DSM Agency or me, they should go to www.dsmagency.com.

May, 2005

Featured in Publisher’s Marketplace:

Personnel News

At the DSM Agency, Ben Salmon has been promoted to agent and charged with growing the agency’s list. Delia Berrigan, formerly at Wiley, has joined the agency as an assistant.

March, 2005

DSM Agency’s

London Hot List 2005

Top books with international rights available



Peter Roy & James Autry

THE BOOK OF HARD CHOICES: Putting Your Integrity to Work

  • A new approach to the subject of integrity. Through examples and commentary, many lessons will be taught about making the right decisions in specific scenarios that business people are currently dealing with or could one day arise. Consequences of such decisions are also demonstrated via this example-driven concept. The readable and easy-to-follow manner and tone will be of interest to employees and managers at all levels.
  • Peter Roy is the Former president of Whole Foods Market and founding president of the Natural Food Network trade association. Jim Autry is an author of several business books, a motivational speaker and the former president of the magazine group for Meredith Corporation.
  • To be published in 2006
  • Bought by Morgan Road , Random House; Audio rights retained by publisher
  • Proposal available by request as online attachment

Stuart Lucas


  • Wealth manager (and member of a wealthy family) Stuart Lucas presents tips learned from both sides of the coin, allowing readers a glimpse into a multi-generation, private family of self-made wealth due in large part to all-American household brands such as Carnation, Friskies and Coffee-Mate.
  • To be published in 2006
  • Bought by Prentice-Hall; World English and audio rights retained by publisher
  • Proposal available by request as online attachment

Jeffrey J. Fox


  • What’s better than getting business advice from Jeffrey J. Fox, a proven rainmaker and bestselling author? Getting tips, tricks and potent stories from famous and soon-to-be discovered rainmakers from around the world with proven track-records and new ideas in selling, customer service, innovation and business strategy.
  • Jeffrey J. Fox’s books are published in over 80 different language versions, with close to one million copies in print.
  • To be published March, 2006
  • Bought by Hyperion in a major six figure deal
  • Author’s seventh book with the publisher. Please inquire about the rights availability for his other Hyperion books and his Wiley book that delves into the dollarization theory behind the bestselling HOW TO BECOME A RAINMAKER.

Liza Featherstone

SELLING WOMEN SHORT: The Landmark Battle for Workers’ Rights at Wal-Mart

  • The groundbreaking exposé of how one of the world’s largest companies systematically deprives its female workers of promotions, pay, and job assignments—and how the women themselves are about to change history.
  • Liza Featherstone is a contributing editor at The Nation , and a freelance journalist whose work has been featured in The New York Times Newsday Rolling Stone , and The Washington Post , among others.
  • Published, book available upon request
  • Published by Basic Books ( North America )

Nance Guilmartin

HEALING CONVERSATIONS: What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

  • A collection of poignant stories and proven advice to help friends, family, and colleagues support one another during times of crisis and change.
  •  Nationally recognized executive coach Nance Guilmartin has spent a lifetime bringing people together and helping others to breakthrough and help themselves.
  • Published, book available upon request
  •  Published by Jossey-Bass, John Wiley & Sons; World English rights retained by publisher
  • HEALING CONVERSATIONS is doing phenomenally well internationally with contracts already negotiated for rights in Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Czech, Korean and Chinese (complex), most having already out-earned their advances.

Please see the Our Books page for a complete list of our titles

February, 2005

The DSM Agency is pleased to share a select listing of some of our authors’ most recent new book deals, as reported by publishersmarketplace.com:

Non-fiction: Business/ Investing/ Finance

Author of books such as HOW TO BECOME A RAINMAKER Jeffrey Fox’s SECRETS OF GREAT RAINMAKERS, again to Mary Ellen O’Neill at Hyperion (his seventh book with the house), in a significant deal, by Doris Michaels at the DSM Agency.

Non-fiction: Business/ Investing/ Finance

Wealth manager (and member of a wealthy family) Stuart Lucas’ STRATEGIC WEALTH MANAGEMENT, presenting tips learned from both sides of the coin, allowing readers a glimpse into a multi-generation, private family of self-made wealth due in large part to all-American household brands such as Carnation, Friskies and Coffee-Mate, to Jim Boyd at Prentice-Hall in a nice deal, by Doris Michaels at the DSM Agency.

Non-fiction: Business/ Investing/ Finance

Former president of Whole Foods Market and founding president of the Natural Food Network trade association Peter Roy and business book author James Autry’s THE BOOK OF HARD CHOICES: Putting Your Integrity to Work, to Amy Hertz at Morgan Road, in a very nice deal, by Doris Michaels at the DSM Agency.