After nearly forty years as an editor and publisher, I've worked in virtually every area of book publishing, from hardcover and paperback publishing to direct marketing, book clubs, book packaging, and literary representation.
As a literary agent, I represent nonfiction authors in categories such as narrative nonfiction, memoir/biography, business, health, science, technology, history, and politics. I look to represent authors who are thought leaders in their respective fields, whether in the business world, journalism, government, and academia. The ideal client has an original and news breaking book concept, a well-developed social media platform, and is a natural storyteller.
Having also helped launch the careers of many bestselling novelists, I'm eager to find character-driven fiction that leaves an indelible impression on the reader, especially literary fiction, psychological suspense, and crime fiction of all kinds.
Since I have a small client list, I take on very few authors. But once I commit to representing a new client, I bring the total of all my experience in publishing to finding the best publishing house and editor for that author, becoming the author's fiercest advocate from contract through publication, and helping strategize and advise on the author's long-term career.
In 2004, I launched Mel Parker Books, LLC, a full-service literary agency. Some agented titles include The New Digital Age by Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (Knopf), which was a New York Times bestseller and was sold to thirty countries; Oddkins by bestselling author Dean Koontz (Open Road); The Next American City by Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (Putnam); The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century by Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press); Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit from It by financial journalist Amy Cortese (Wiley); Date-onomics by Fortune Magazine contributor Jon Birger (Workman); Now I Know Who My Comrades Are by journalist and former U.S. State Department advisor Emily Parker (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); The Loyalist Team by leadership and management consultants Linda Adams, Abby Curnow-Chavez, Audrey Epstein, and Rebecca Teasdale (Public Affairs/Hachette), and Death of a Messenger, Off The Grid, and Fire and Vengeance, mystery novels by criminal defense attorney Robert McCaw.
Before launching Mel Parker Books, I was Senior Vice President and Editorial Director of Bookspan, the book club partnership between Time Warner and Bertelsmann AG, where I directed the editorial acquisitions programs for all of Bookspan's general interest, lifestyle and specialty book clubs, including Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Mystery Guild, Quality Paperback Book Club, History Book Club, Black Expressions and One Spirit. At Bookspan, I also played a role in consolidating the book club businesses of Book-of-the-Month Club and Doubleday Direct into Bookspan, launching a number of successful new book clubs, and leading Bookspan's successful proprietary publishing program.
I came to the book clubs from Time Warner Trade Publishing, now the Hachette Book Group, where I was Senior Vice President of Warner Books and Publisher of its paperback division. During my nearly 12 years at Warner, I acquired and edited my own hardcover list of bestselling fiction by authors such as Dean Koontz, David Morrell and Larry Bond, as well as hardcover bestsellers in a variety of nonfiction categories, from narrative nonfiction and biography to business books, health, inspiration and pop culture. Some notable nonfiction titles I acquired and edited were Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith, First You Have to Row a Little Boat: Reflections on Life and Living by Richard Bode, Sunday Nights at Seven: The Jack Benny Story by Jack Benny and Joan Benny, The Grateful Dead Family Album by Jerilyn Brandelius, and Waylon: An Autobiography by Waylon Jennings and Lenny Kaye.
I was also responsible for leading Warner's mass market paperback publishing program, which featured major bestselling authors such as James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, David Baldacci, Scott Turow, Brad Meltzer, Sidney Sheldon, Carl Hiaasen, and Sandra Brown. In addition, I oversaw Warner’s trade paperback list, publishing bestselling, critically acclaimed books such as The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Ice Storm by Rick Moody, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard, Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore, Remembering Denny by Calvin Trillin, The Culture of Complaint by Robert Hughes, Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, The Soul's Code by James Hillman, and Naturalist by E.O. Wilson.
Prior to joining Warner, I served as Editor-in-Chief of the Berkley Publishing Group, now a division of Penguin Random House, where I helped build Berkley into a major paperback publisher featuring many continuing New York Times bestselling authors, including Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, Robin Cook, and W.E.B. Griffin, whose original paperback series, The Brotherhood of War and The Corps, launched major hardcover/softcover bestsellers for years at Putnam and Berkley. I also acquired a number of major bestsellers of my own, most notably The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy, which set the stage for his blockbuster career.
In addition, I've been an active member of a number of publishing committees and organizations. As chairman of the Executive Trade Committee of the Association of American Publishers, I launched the book publishing industry group's national Get Caught Reading Campaign, which secured millions of dollars of free print advertising to promote books and reading. I was also Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the UJA Publishing Division, President of the Publishers Lunch Club, and am a member of Book Table.
I've also taught at the Stanford Publishing Course, the University of Denver Publishing Institute, and the Syracuse University MFA program, and my chapter on paperback publishing appears in Editors on Editing (Grove Atlantic).
BOOK AND AUTHOR NEWS
EXHALE: HOPE, HEALING, AND A LIFE IN TRANSPLANT, a medical memoir by David Weill, M.D., former head of the Stanford transplant program to Post Hill Press, will be published May 2021. Audio rights to Recorded Books. Here's some early praise:
“David Weill gives us a glimpse of the volatile and intense world of a transplant doctor, where split-second decisions can make the difference between life and death. Weill writes with candor about his background and the choices that brought him to his profession, enabling the reader to understand his motivations and ambition. “EXHALE” is a mesmerizing story about the courage and also the toll it takes to work at this rarified level of medicine. “
-- Daphne Merkin, author of 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love
“Exhale is a compelling exploration of the beguiling world of transplantation. David Weill cranks up the hood to show us the engine—the stunning technological wizardry and the towering human dedication, as well as the oil-stained innards of profit and ego. You won’t look at your lungs in the same way again!”
--Danielle Ofri, MD, Ph.D., author of When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error
"...David Weill M.D takes readers through the painfully difficult decisions made by doctors involved in the transplant world and how their work drastically impacts their personal lives. With great clarity, the author captures the euphoria and intoxication of saving a life, alongside the brutal anguish of losing one and the lifelong trauma of burnout that ensues thereafter. A must-read for everyone, including those who have lost themselves in who they're being for everyone else.
-- Juliette Watt, Compassion Fatigue expert, TEDx Speaker.
"Exhale" should be read by every doctor—and by anyone—who stays up too late and works too much - Philip C. Breen, MD, Ph.D. (father of Dr. Lorna Breen)
"Dr. Weill provides us with a peek into the operating rooms where desperately ill patients are given new lungs, and into the conference rooms where medical staffs make their life-and-death decisions. He takes a hard look at the criteria used to decide who “deserves” a chance at life with a pristine new pair of lungs, and explains how these decisions affect patients, their families, hospital staff, and ultimately himself. Maturing from a hard-driving transplant doctor into a more compassionate, and realistic, clinician who finally allows himself to feel the anguish of the patients and their family, Dr. Weill finds he must confront his own unrelenting focus on treatment success. He takes stock of the toll his furious assault on death has taken on his own life and his own family. This is a riveting read, both for Dr. Weill’s deep understanding of the delights and disasters of lung transplantation and for his narrative about the procedure’s human toll.”
—Laurence M. Westreich, M.D, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine
FACING YOURSELF: THE POWER OF SELF-REFLECTION TO GROW SELF-COMPASSION, EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE, AND DEEPER RELATIONSHIPS by Tara Well, Ph.D. to New Harbinger Publications. Korean rights sold. Audio rights to Brilliance Audio.
FIRE AND VENGEANCE, a mystery novel by former criminal defense attorney Robert McCaw, was just published as an ebook by Oceanview. #1 Bestseller in Political Thrillers and Suspense on Amazon. Here's some early praise:
"Moves with volcanic force to a heartfelt, gripping conclusion."
-- Rick Mofina, USA Today Bestselling Author of Their Last Secret
"Interesting local details and a crackling pace."
THE VERTICAL FARM: Feeding the World in the 21st Century by Dickson Despommier, first published in 2010, was reissued as an updated 10th Anniversary Edition by Picador in November 2020. A new documentary, VERTICAL, inspired by the book, has just been released.