Archive for September, 2007

The Book That Is Not My Own

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

In the days and weeks ahead, you might see a book out there in stores with my name on it, and I want you to know it is NOT a new book by “John Grogan, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller MARLEY & ME” — though those words appear prominently on the cover. The book, titled “Bad Dogs Have More Fun,” is actually a collection of my previously published newspaper columns from The Philadelphia Inquirer, very few of which had anything to do with dogs. And it was published by the newspaper and Vanguard Press without my consent or involvement — not even my prior knowledge. I only found about this collection through a third party after the Inquirer and Vanguard (with whom I have no association) had already signed the contract.

If I sound disappointed and upset by this, it is because I am.

The Philadelphia Inquirer owns the copyright to the work I produced during my four years as a staff columnist there. I was what is known as “a writer for hire.” This is the customary work arrangement at newspapers, but the decision to collect a columnist’s works in book form (Anna Quindlen, Dave Barry, Lewis Grizzard, etc.) is typically initiated by the writer and becomes a cooperative endeavor between the writer and the newspaper. Not this time.

Vanguard and The Inquirer struck their deal without telling me, then chose the title, the cover image and all of the content without my input. They never even informed me of the columns they had selected. Therefore I cannot and will not endorse this unauthorized collection in any way. This is particularly painful for me because I am proud of the work I produced while at The Philadelphia Inquirer and always looked forward to someday working collegially with my editors there to put out a collection of my work we could all be proud of.

If you choose to buy this collection, just please know that it is a book I was given no creative control over and for which I will receive no compensation.

Thank you all for your kindness and support.

John Grogan

That Time of Year Again

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Today marked that most special time of year in every parent’s life: Back to School Day. Like moms and dads everywhere, Jenny and I celebrated by dancing on the table with lampshades on our heads. Actually, that’s just what we felt like doing after the school bus disappeared down the hill. Instead, we went out for a grown-up lunch with no kids in tow. Family togetherness is great and all, but after nearly three months of it, well…a little family apart time isn’t such a bad thing, either. As a friend of mine in Michigan said in an email to me this morning: “Well, the kids headed back to school this morning. I can’t say I’m in mourning.”

It was a good summer, though, with family trips to the Great Lakes, where we ate white fish; the Chesapeake Bay, where we devoured blue crabs; and most recently to San Francisco, where our goal was to eat the foods of every nation on earth — and we actually came close to doing so. (Yes, the Grogans are nothing if not good and enthusiastic eaters.)

The California trip, the whole family agreed, was the summer’s highlight. The weather was perfect and the views in every direction, at every turn and in every rear-view mirror, were magnificent. Jenny and I have been before, but this was the children’s first time. It was fun rediscovering the city through their eyes. I was surprised that what they loved most of all was Chinatown, followed by the towering redwoods in Muir Woods and the tour of Alcatraz. Their father’s hands-down favorite, in contrast, was the free wine-and-cheese hour in the hotel lobby every afternoon at 5. Here’s looking at you!

I just tried to post a bunch of my vacation photos, but Blogger rebelled and would not allow the uploads. Consider yourselves spared!

That’s all for now, everyone. I have another week to myself before I hit the road again, promoting my children’s books, “Bad Dog, Marley!” and “Marley: A Dog Like No Other” — and, of course, grown-up “Marley & Me” too — through much of September. Cities I will be visiting include Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Orlando, and Miami. Stay tuned to my HarperCollins upcoming events page where details will be posted as the schedule fims up. You’ll find the link on the Marley & Me home page.

I also will be appearing Sunday, Sept. 30, at the first annual Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival. Tickets are pricey, but cover the entire three-day event and a host of authors. Details are at