It turns out one of the hip, young Editorial Assistant's more pleasant jobs is to keep her finger on the pulse of hip, young indie magazines (hellooo Pirates Magazine) and scout for bookworthy talent.
At this morning's editorial meeting, she pulled out some obscure, paisley-covered music magazine and pointed to an article by some guy who specializes in urban magic. Urban magic, e.g., quickie spells you can cast to dispel heat-toting gangsters when you're riding your bike through their neighborhood. e.g. divination w/found movie ticket stubs. e.g. dowsing for $^#% public bathrooms in the city.
Magazine gets passed around. Everyone loves it. Head Ed gives Editorial Assistant the thumbs-up to contact this lucky urban warlock about the possibility of a book. And all this, without said warlock ever writing a query letter or affixing postage stamp to envelope.
And also, a week ago, INTERN's roommate dragged her to a very long and positive affirmation-heavy yoga class where the instructor took a moment to talk about her forthcoming book, which she never intended to write but was instead "prodded" to by a Person in Publishing who had read one of her articles in a yoga magazine. (then she made us listen to ourselves breathe for a very long time, and then INTERN might have fallen asleep).
Diversify. INTERN is starting to suspect that a well-written magazine article or short story is, in some cases, more likely to lead to an eventual book deal than "wading through the normal publication channels," as our brave craigslist querier put it. Even if it's a small-circulation magazine. A cool magazine article that screams "book" is especially good because a) it means somebody else (the magazine editors) already vouched for you and b) you have *some* kind of exposure or readership to draw on. Both nice things.
And, if the magazine industry is tanking as hard as people say it is, this magazine-to-book deal thing is a limited-time opportunity. So...better get on that one.