Another ‘Publishers Lunch’: Chow Down With Ira Silverberg

In News by Dennis Abrams

Image - iStockphoto: NYStudio

Image – iStockphoto: NYStudio

Never one to stay at his desk like everybody else, Ira Silverberg is holding an auction for lunch, a natural for this man-about-publishing. And since the Charitybuzz copy for the offering asks whether you “think you’ve written the ‘great American novel,'” the pitch should get the attention of all but the three Americans who haven’t yet authored a book. May the best bid win. And let me know if Ira doesn’t pick up the check. — Porter Anderson

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

Those ‘Inner Workings of the Publishing Industry’
Ira Silverberg

Ira Silverberg

As a literary agent with Sterling Lord Literistic, Ira Silverberg has represented literary heavyweights including as Adam Haslett, Christopher Sorrentino and Neil Strauss.

As an editor at Grove Press and Serpent’s Tail, he has published work by Lydia Davis, Kathy Acker, William S. Burroughs and Gary Indiana, while reissuing work from Nobel Prize winners Elfriedge Jelinek, Herta Muller, and Kenzaburo Oe.

He’s the former Director of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Program — a position currently held by Amy Stolls, who will be at Grub Street’s The Muse and the Marketplace Conference in Boston next month. And since October of last year, he’s been a Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster. As Simon Reichley writes at Melville House, Silverberg is “auctioning off the opportunity to have lunch with him, pitch him a book, and discuss the inner workings of the publishing industry.”

According to the auction page at Charitybuzz, you’re bidding on “a private lunch for two people with Simon & Schuster Senior Editor Ira Silverberg.”

“Think you’ve written the ‘great American novel?” the copy asks. “Let 30-year industry veteran Ira the judge. He’ll take you to lunch, listen to your book pitch, answer publishing questions and offer valuable advice.”

Some rules are attached:

  • “This experience expires on April 12, 2017.
  • “Valid for two people.
  • “To take place at a mutually agreed upon location in New York City.
  • “Cannot be resold or re-auctioned.
  • “Cannot be transferred.
  • “Based upon availability at the donor’s discretion.
  • “To be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon date.
  • “Travel and accommodations are not included.
  • “We expect all winning bidders and their guests to conduct themselves appropriately when attending an experience won at Charitybuzz. Polite manners and respect for the generous donor and adherence to any rules or parameters are a must.”

As of this writing, the highest bid is $1,800 — with the event listed as having a $1,250 value — and that lead bid has been made by an anonymous donor identified as “Pediatric Angel.” There are about five days left in the life of the auction.

Bids on this offering support PS41, a public school in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.