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Today in books and publishing: Robert Caro's fourth Lyndon Johnson biography is coming out in May, Bill O'Reilly will be writing a biography of a president-to-be-determined, and some valuable advice for National Novel Writing Month.

  • Historian Robert Caro is adding two more volumes to his already brilliant three volume biography The Years of Lyndon Johnson. The fourth book, titled The Passage of Power, is scheduled to come out in May, nine years after the last installment, Master of the Senate, which won a Pulitzer and the National Book Award. According to the Associated Press, The Passage of Power will "will focus on the years 1958 to 1964, from the time Johnson began seeking the presidency, through his years as vice president under John F. Kennedy, to becoming president after JFK's assassination." In a telephone call with reporters Tuesday, Caro said parts three and four were intended to be one volume but "I realized I didn't know how the Senate worked and instead of making it rather minor, I wanted to show how power worked in the Senate." The result was the 1,167 page Master of the Senate. (The first volume, 1982's The Path To Power, was a hefty 882 pages, while 1990's The Means of Ascent was a relatively svelte 506.)  As for part five, Caro says it will cover Johnson's last years in office, and that he's already completed an outline and knows the last sentence. But he estimates it's still going to take him two or three years to write. [AP via Political Wire]
  • Bill O'Reilly has signed a deal to write two more books for Henry Holt and Co., publisher of his current best seller Killing Lincoln, the Fox News commentator's first work of history. O'Reilly's already under contract to write a memoir for Holt and Holt publisher Stephen Rubin says one of the two new projects will be a biography of a president-to-be-determined, and promises it will read like "history told in a narrative, novelistic fashion." [Business Week]
  • Today marks the start of National Novel Writing Month and if sprinting to complete a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days seems like a silly exercise that places speed over quality, remember The Wall Street Journal's profile of Erin Morgenstern from August. Morgenstern started her novel The Night Circus for the the 2005 competition. She only completed half of the book before the well went dry and wound up scrapping much of that early draft. But The Journal notes, "she had an idea that excited her." Six years later, the book is being hyped as "the next Harry Potter" and Doubleday gave Morgenstern a "high-six-figure advance" and "rights have sold to 30 foreign publishers," with some publishers paying her six figures as well. Galleycat's republishing its list of thirty National Novel Writing Month tips to make the process less of a grind. Some of the advice is obvious, but still worth remembering ('Use Correct Writing Posture'; 'Write 'TK' for Missing Facts'). Other tips -- particularly those that help organize and streamline the writing process -- are helpful even for novelists not on a ticking clock. For example: using Cliché Finder to root out cliches early in the process. Another bright idea: composing the whole thing in a cloud like Google Docs so it automatically saves and you can access the novel anywhere. [The Wall Street Journal and GalleyCat]
  • HarperCollins' planned acquisition of Christian publishing house Thomas Nelson Inc.shouldn't be written off as publishing behemoth bolstering a specialty division. According to The Wall street Journal, "the Christian book market" is expected to generate revenue of about $1.4 billion this year. That number may not come as much of a surprise, but Thomas Nelson's various lines produce about $200 million in revenue figure, or about 15 percent of the total market. How much did the publisher pay? Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but in 2006 the publisher "[went] private in a transaction valued at about $473 million." [The Wall street Journal]

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