Steve Ross – An Old Friend in a New Role


Are you thinking of publishing a book? If so, you’re probably wondering how to stack the odds in your favor, in terms of market success. And if you’re not thinking that, you should be. Why? There are three hundred thousand new titles published every year in America. Of that, no more than a few hundred make the New York Times list.

But that’s not the worst of it . . . most bestsellers are written by authors who wrote best sellers before. In any given year, fewer than fifty debut authors break out into the mainstream lists. If you want to be one of them, you need more than great writing.

You the right story at the right time, shaped in the most compelling way. Armed with that, you must catch the interest of a fickle public, and for that to happen fast enough to make a bestseller, you need the power of the media behind you. I’d like to tell you about a friend who might be able to help you out . . .

Let me introduce Steve Ross, the publisher who discovered Look Me in the Eye and many other huge best sellers. Steve headed Crown Publishers back in 2007 when I took up the book writing trade. He left Crown before my book came out, but I credit him for having the vision to acquire the title – something that took a lot of vision and courage since I was a complete unknown.

My book would never have been the success it is, if not for his original vision, and the work of the team he assembled to bring it to market . . . Rachel Klayman, my editor; Tina Constable, who took over Steve’s role when he left; Whitney Cookman, who created the wonderful cover; and all the marketing, promotion and production people who brought my story to the world.

Steve Ross left Crown to run one of the divisions of HarperCollins, but his position went up in smoke when the economy imploded in 2009. Since then he’s been consulting with authors on his own. In today’s Publisher’s Weekly, I see that he’s formalized this new career by taking a new position at the Abrams Artists Agency.

To quote PW’s Rachel Deahl:

Ross has been running his own author services business since last February, when HarperCollins closed the unit Ross was president and publisher of, Collins. Starting July 12, Ross joins Abrams, working both as an agent and heading up the company’s newly formed Abrams Author Services.

Ross will be director of the book division and will, as he explained, be bringing the consulting business he’s been overseeing to Abrams. While Abrams currently handles some books—Maura Teitelbaum is the sole literary agent there—Ross said the company, which he described as “solidly entrenched in other talent management,” is looking to sign more authors.

Ross . . said Abrams Author Services will offer the same kind of package he’s been delivering to his clients, which means guiding authors in the editorial process and helping them with everything from title selection and jacket design to deciding on the best distribution option. As a result of the consolidation and cutbacks at the big six houses, Ross said, agents are finding it harder and harder to sell books they would have easily placed five years ago. This, in tandem with the growth in distribution/delivery options, means, he believes, that there’s a greater wealth of worthwhile books that have an audience but no major publisher.

Ross . . will be working from Abrams’s Seventh Avenue office in Manhattan. He can be reached at [email protected].

Give Steve a shout, and if he puts together a deal for you, be sure and let me know.

Here’s the announcement from Publisher’s Weekly

Here’s the press release from Booktrade

(c) 2007-2010 John Elder Robison

Have you ever wanted to publish a book about your experiences with Autism?

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John Elder Robison
John grew up in the 1960s. He knew he was different, but didn’t know why. His early social and academic failures would be signs of disability today, but back then, they were dismissed as laziness or a bad attitude.
John Elder Robison

John Elder Robison

John grew up in the 1960s. He knew he was different, but didn’t know why. His early social and academic failures would be signs of disability today, but back then, they were dismissed as laziness or a bad attitude.

One thought on “Steve Ross – An Old Friend in a New Role

  • I’d love to publish a book but just not sure people would read it. I’m not much interested in autobiographies and don’t want to write one. I’d rather write a book of suggestions for the classroom, home, church, etc. from the view of somebody actually on the spectrum.

    Edited: I do like “Look at me in the eye” but it tends to be the exception to the rule as far as reading.


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