The Path to Igniting Your Greatness: Lou Aronica, The Renaissance Man
It’s always an honor to work with a true professional, and I have been blessed to work with one such publishing wizard — Lou Aronica — for well over 20 years.
In my seasoned professional career, I have connected the literary dots with editors, authors, publishers, directors, screenwriters, other intellectual property (IP) developers, and even some fantastic chefs. Working with Lou Aronica has touched many of those IP categories and inspires me to conclude that my work with Lou affords me the right to call him a Renaissance Man. Lou has worked as a professional editor, author, screenwriter, publisher, and as an advocate of countless literary and film projects of all kinds for almost four decades.
Lou deserves the moniker of Renaissance Man because of his extraordinary talent on so many levels. This includes the aforementioned literary talents, along with his musicianship, fabulous cooking skills, being an excellent husband, a father, and a considerate honest human being, that I believe practices maximum integrity. An interesting side note I thought I’d share with you is that, through some strange happenstance, I’ve found myself working with a lot of Italian gentlemen that have a strong sense of honor. This has nothing to do with contractual obligations of any kind, to be clear. This is simply a particular kind of person that always upholds their word. I feel like I’ve had that relationship not only with Lou, and not necessarily just with the many Italians I’ve worked with in my life, but with many of my clients and friends that I have had the good fortune to be associated with.
The most exciting of our experiences is when I introduced Lou to Sir Ken Robinson back in 2007. I was lecturing at a conference in Santa Barbara CA at the invitation of my client Jean-Pierre Isbouts for an online publisher called Fielding University. After my lecture, I sat down at the president’s table for dinner, and wound up sitting next to Lady Terry Robinson, who said she enjoyed my speech, and that she would introduce me to my “next major client”. I’ve heard that so many times in my career that it’s become a normal thing for people to say to me, particularly after I’ve lectured. Lo and behold, however, my next big client would become Sir Ken Robinson, Lady Terry’s husband. I proceeded to work with her and Sir Ken in figuring out what his next book would be. If you haven’t seen Sir Ken’s world-renown TED speech that was produced in 2007, have a look.
As luck would have it, we were developing a proposal which I believe was called “Epiphanies,” based on the many relationships that Ken had with world-renowned people, such as Sir Paul McCartney, Al Pacino, Meg Ryan, Sharon Stone, Robert DeNiro, and many more. The essence of the book was that each and every one of these world-famous people had an epiphany in their life that triggered a paradigm shift that would give them a path to igniting their greatness. Unfortunately, I tried to place the book, and it was misperceived as just another collection of stories. However, several of the publishers I submitted it to told me that if I developed anything else with Sir Ken, that they’d like to look at it.
I’ll always remember when Sir Ken came to my office on West 22nd Street in NYC, I had to tell him I couldn’t place the proposal we developed, but that I still wanted to work with him. However, it would be necessary to have him work with a professional writer to help him craft his best idea(s). I asked Sir Ken if there was a writer he’d like to work with. He couldn’t think of anyone and asked me if I knew someone right for the job. I said, “yes, I have one person in mind.” At the time I was working with Lou on a few other projects and called him to see if he was interested. I’ll always remember that as soon as that call was over, Lou called me immediately and said, “Peter, I don’t know what you have to do to make sure I work with Sir Ken, but I need to. I believe in this man and the work he’s doing.”
Well, we placed that book with Kathryn Court, VP & Publisher of Viking Penguin, now Penguin Random House, and she was a woman I had known since I first began my literary agenting career back in the early ’70s. This book, The Element, became a New York Times bestseller, and we have successfully licensed it in 34 countries. Lou and Sir Ken worked very well together and wrote three more books: their second book, Finding Your Element was also a New York Times bestseller, then Creative Schools, and You, Your Child and School.
In conclusion to this story of tracking the dots between Sir Ken Robinson, Lou Aronica, and the success that we’ve all earned, I’ve been involved in multiple other projects with Lou, including my original partnership with him on the creation of his publishing company, The Story Plant, which I’m still a stockholder in. Lou is indefatigable in terms of his work ethic and his vision to consistently create cutting edge books of all kinds, and I can only celebrate his being a part of the global publishing community. I express my gratitude for having the opportunity with an extraordinary talent like Lou’s.
In the over 20 years we’ve been working together, yes, we’ve been successful but have had an extraordinary, quality relationship, which I’m hoping will continue for the rest of my life. So, Lou, this is a shout out to you, and I take one of my many hats off in appreciation.
Peter Miller, the Literary Lion