After nearly forty years as an editor and publisher, Mel Parker has successfully worked in virtually every aspect of book publishing, from hardcover and paperback publishing to direct marketing, book clubs, book packaging and literary representation.
In 2004, he launched Mel Parker Books, LLC, a full-service literary agency, which represents authors primarily in the categories of narrative nonfiction, current affairs, science, psychology, lifestyle, popular culture, memoir/biography and fiction. Some agented titles include the New York Times bestselling The New Digital Age by Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (Knopf); Oddkins by bestselling author Dean Koontz (Open Road); The New 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 Off The Grid and Fire and Vengeance, mystery novels by prominent defense attorney Robert McCaw.
Before launching Mel Parker Books, Mel was Senior Vice President and Editorial Director of Bookspan, the ten-million-member book club partnership between Time Warner and Bertelsmann AG, where he 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, Mel also played a key 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.
Mel came to the book clubs from Time Warner Trade Publishing, now the Hachette Book Group, where he was Senior Vice President of Warner Books and Publisher of its paperback division. During his years at Warner, Mel acquired and edited his 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 Mel 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.
Mel was also responsible for leading Warner's mass market paperback publishing program, which featured blockbuster authors such as James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, David Baldacci, Scott Turow, Sidney Sheldon and Sandra Brown. In addition, Mel oversaw Warner’s critically acclaimed trade paperback list, publishing bestselling books and authors 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, and Naturalist by E.O. Wilson.
Prior to joining Warner, Mel was Editor-in-Chief of the Berkley Publishing Group, now a division of Penguin Random House, where he played a key role in building Berkley into a major paperback publisher featuring many continuing New York Times bestselling authors, including Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, W.E.B. Griffin and Robin Cook. He also personally acquired a number of major bestsellers, most notably The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy, which set the stage for the author’s bestselling career at Putnam and Berkley.
In addition, Mel was and is an active member of a number of publishing committees and organizations. As chairman of the Executive Trade Committee of the Association of American Publishers, he 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. Mel was also Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the UJA Publishing Division, President of the Publishers Lunch Club, and a member of Book Table.
Mel has also lectured on publishing at the Stanford Publishing Course, the University of Denver Publishing Institute, and the Syracuse University MFA program, and his chapter on paperback publishing appears in Editors on Editing (Grove Atlantic).
As a literary agency, Mel Parker Books now represents nonfiction authors in categories such as narrative nonfiction, memoir/biography, business, health, science, technology, history and politics. Mel looks to represent authors who are true experts in their fields from the business world, journalism, government, or academia, who have a unique and newsworthy book concept, and who can write with style and authority.
Having also helped launch the careers of many bestselling fiction authors as a former editor and publisher, Mel is eager to find upmarket and commercial fiction, especially psychological suspense, near-future thrillers, espionage novels, literary fiction, historical fiction and crime fiction of all kinds.
BOOK AND AUTHOR NEWS
NOW I KNOW WHO MY COMRADES ARE: Voices from the Internet Underground by Emily Parker (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014) was selected as required freshman reading at the University of California, San Diego. The recent author event at UC, San Diego for the freshman reading program attracted 400 students. The book has also been assigned at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Tufts and NYU.
OFF THE GRID, a mystery novel by former criminal defense attorney Robert McCaw, was sold to Oceanview Publishing and will be published in Spring 2019. In Off the Grid, the gruesome killings of two loners on Hawai'i's Big Island propel Hilo Chief of Detectives Koa Kane into a nest of international intrigue spanning the globe from Kosovo to Washington, D.C.
Praise for OFF THE GRID:
“Readers who crave watching a smart cop work in a crackerjack police procedural will find a beauty here."
--starred Booklist review
“Sizzles with tension and twists that entertain and magnetize. Danger and drama abide, with a wonderful, devil-may-care hero. Robert McCaw has the touch.”
--Steve Berry, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Bishop's Pawn
“ In Off the Grid, Robert McCaw has fashioned the year’s most original mystery-thriller set, appropriately enough, in the equally original setting of Hawai'i. He crafts a relentlessly riveting tale that races out of the gate and never lets up for a single minute or page.”
--Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of Strong to the Bone
THE NEXT AMERICAN CITY by 4-Term Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett with Jayson White--a hopeful and illuminating look at the innovative urban centers that will lead the United States in coming years-- was published by Putnam in September 2018. Mick Cornett was just named one of The World's 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine.
Praise for THE NEXT AMERICAN CITY:
"There's no doubt Washington is broken. In THE NEXT AMERICAN CITY, Mayor Cornett lays out why many of us believe the future of America is in our mid-sized cities like Oklahoma City and New Orleans, among others. This book is for anyone in politics or public policy interested in where we are headed and how we can get beyond the Washington gridlock that too often holds our country back."--Mitch Landrieu, Former Mayor of New Orleans
"Shrewd strategies and useful ideas that Mick Cornett describes so well."--The Wall Street Journal
“Cornett and White remind us that today’s struggling community was likely yesterday’s boom town, and more importantly, could be tomorrow’s thriving innovation hub. The history of cities is one of constant change. Cornett and White provide practical and inspirational insights on the renaissance taking place in cities, as small as Charlottesville and as big as New York, as they discover their potential to flourish as centers of innovation and entrepreneurship.”--Professor Michael Lenox, Chief Strategy Officer, Darden School of Business
“‘The Next American City’ makes a serious point that we need to hear right now: innovation and bold ideas aren’t limited by geography or political affiliation. He exposes the weaknesses in the cliché about two Americas — red/blue, urban/rural, coastal/heartland — by showing how cities across the country, led by mayors of both parties, are creating inclusive communities with good jobs and a high quality of life.”
—Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
“Headlines from Washington dominate our social media pages and consume the nightly news, but Mayor Cornett points out the truth—that cities like Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas, are leading the way for a brighter future in America. From innovation that augments fiscal responsibility, to bold leadership that isn’t afraid to cross party lines, cities are providing the commonsense leadership that our citizens deserve.”
—Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth and Chairwoman Emeritus of Community Leaders of America
THE LOYALIST TEAM: How Trust, Candor, and Authenticity Create Great Organizations was recently published by PublicAffairs/Hachette Book Group.
Praise for The Loyalist Team:
“The Loyalist Team provides a pragmatic approach to understanding how your team works and how you can help it work better. The authors draw from their vast expertise with thousands of teams to tell engaging, real-life stories about how teams of all types and sizes function and provide proven insights about how to achieve extraordinary results.”—Judith E. Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence and CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc.
“An honest, straightforward analysis of how to identify and celebrate not only what makes companies successful, it also tells us how and why we can experience failure. After reading this book, you’ll know exactly how to build a winning team, a happy team, and above all how to create genuine and lasting loyalty.”—Nina Tassler, Advisor, Former Chairman CBS Entertainment, author of What I Told My Daughter
“The Loyalist Team brings to life the essence of team identity and culture, and how analytics and evaluative tools can drive self-awareness and future team success. An excellent guide for CEO’s, talent management executives, and anyone looking to understand and improve team performance.”—Barbara Krumsiek, Senior Industry Fellow, Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute, McDonough School of Business, Former CEO, Calvert Investments
“We’ve worked with many business consultants and the Loyalist Model is the one framework that really took hold here and allowed us to focus on communal success…now all those great ideas come together in The Loyalist Team—Steve Smith, CEO, Equinix
“The Loyalist Team is a must read for anyone who wants to know how to actually build a great team. The Loyalist Team is centered on the foundation that great teams are about great relationships...built on trust and candid feedback. The authors showcase their insight by walking through the good and the bad from the thousands of teams they have worked with, sharing concrete, practical steps any leader can use to improve the culture in their workplace. The Loyalist Team speaks to a new paradigm for leadership that is required to compete in today’s business world.” --Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer, Vail Resorts, Inc.