William Morris Agent Rejects ‘Starbook’ Proposals Without Opening Them

After hearing that Starbucks would begin publishing and selling books in its stores, Michael Levy, self-proclaimed “professional optimist” and author of several spirtual books, says he contacted the William Morris agency handling the project for Starbucks, and promptly sent three book proposals.

The agency’s response, June 12:

“Thank you for allowing William Morris to consider Ultra-Violet Haiku Delights, The Joys of Live Alchemy, and Invest With A Genius. We have had the opportunity to review your submissions, and while we appreciate your interest in Starbucks initiative, we have concluded that your project is not a right match for Starbucks at this time.”

Levy says he was fine with rejection — had the agency bothered to open the books. Levy writes in an e-mail:

Consequently, I contacted them on the 19th June and after much reluctance to speak with me I was put through to Bill Clegg, who along with Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, make the decisions on which books to accept for the Starbucks project. He told me they had not yet decided which type of books or genre they wanted to include. I ask why they rejected my books without ever looking at them. He apologized and admitted they had not opened any pages before rejecting the books. He then remarked, “In a perfect world we would have read some part of the books before rejecting them.”

In the agency’s defense, if we received a book proposal entitled Ultra-Violet Haiku Delights, we probably would have done the same thing.