Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Modern Family

Both John and my best friend Sarah are huge TV/film buffs.  They can talk about who starred in what all day long, and they did it last week.  John got to meet Sarah for the first time at her 25th birthday party last Thursday.  Initially, I was worried that they would have this awkward, stilted conversation, but as soon as John mentioned Breaking Bad, they were off and running, talking about their favorite shows and what movies they had recently seen.

I know absolutely nothing about TV or film.  I am one of those weird people who doesn't know who Emma Stone is and doesn't watch anything (apart from The Big Bang Theory and True Blood.  John makes soooo much fun of me for liking True Blood, especially because I can't stand Twilight!)

Okay, I know who she is now.

But I've recently added a new TV show to my obsession list.  Modern Family.

Cameron and Lily!

It is so good!  John got me addicted to it this past weekend and I devoured the first two seasons in three sittings.  My favorite character is Cameron, who adopted a baby from Vietnam with his partner, Mitchell.  Cameron is absolutely hilarious--he has this great line when Mitchell is trying to "tone him down" for a playdate with a bunch of other parents and their children:  "Sure, Mitchell.  Maybe if I put on a polo shirt and khakis everyone will think we're just two straight golfing buddies who decided to have a baby together."  I love it!!  If someone had a book idea for a quirky, non-traditional family a la Modern Family, I would be totally into it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Everyone knows summer is pretty slow in the publishing industry.  People go on vacation, we have summer Fridays (half days), things just wind down.

Summer drives me crazy.

Even though I occasionally whine about always having work to do, in truth, I am one of those crazy people who actually wants to be busy all the time.  If I'm just sitting around doing nothing, I go bananas.  Long subway rides are hell for me, because I have no cell service and usually forget to bring my planner or a book with me.  I go out of my way to find a route home that involves the 7 train, which runs above ground, so that I can at least call my mom and get life updates about her and my dad.

Above-ground 7 train, I love you.

The slowness of summer is grating on my nerves a bit because I have a couple great projects that editors are interested in and I'm waiting to see if I will get an offer for one (or both!) of them.  One is THIEVES WHO CHANGED HISTORY, which I've talked about before, and the other is IMAGING EVIL, this super cool project that details what MRI scans reveal about brain functions in psychopaths!  I would obviously love to see both of these projects at wonderful publishing houses and can't wait to hear from these editors.  However, since it is summer, they/their editorial board/their publisher have been away on vacation, their acquisition meeting has gotten moved, they've had stuff piling up that they're just getting around to reading, ARGHHHH.  I know they're not trying to make me feel like an impatient two-year-old waiting for Santa to show up, but that's who I'm turning into.

Is he here??????

DECIDE ALREADY!  I want to do my I-sold-a-book dance!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun Fact

I never knew this until I started agenting, but most editors rise through the ranks (from editorial assistant, to assistant editor, to associate editor, to editor, to senior editor) by jumping around from publishing house to publishing house.  Although it can be done, nowadays, it is very unlikely for someone to stay at one publishing house for their entire career. In fact, my friend, Christina, will soon be starting her new job as an associate editor at Hudson Street Press!  She is currently working as an assistant editor at Little, Brown.

I'm not a huge corporate workplace kind of person, which is one of the reasons being an editor doesn't really appeal to me, but I also have to say that the constant moving and uncertainty career-wise would bother me.  I'm not really into change.  


Not that there's necessarily any certainty or assured stability when you take a job as a literary agent's assistant.  You obviously are not guaranteed to become an agent, but once you are one, you don't have to worry about moving forward with your career by moving to different agencies.  For instance, almost all of the agents who work at Writers House have been there for 10+ years.  
There isn't really any ladder to climb (or to jump from rung to rung) when it comes to agenting: You just go from being an assistant to being an agent (with possibly a between-point of being a junior agent, although not every agency does that).

Of course, instead of staying at one agency your entire career, you could opt to start your own (which is what Prospect Agency's president, Emily, did!), although you have to be pretty brave to do that!  I got my job at Prospect Agency by reaching out to Emily (who was also a former Writers House assistant) and letting her know how much I admired her for going out and starting her own successful literary agency.  The idea of tackling all the accounting, taxes, and finance-y things that come with running your own business is enough to make me run for the hills!

Me doing math.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pins + Needles, and Also Some Editor/Friend Fun

You may remember me holding my breath about getting an offer from Random House for THIEVES WHO CHANGED HISTORY, a proposal by my client, Brianna.  Well, I’m on pins and needles again, waiting to hear from a senior editor at Sterling.  She loves Brianna’s proposal and wants to create a non-fiction series with it!  Her acquisitions meeting was yesterday (it was supposed to be on Monday, but it got moved), so I’m hoping to hear back from her soon!! 

When I Google searched for images of “pins and needles,” 
everything that came up was really creepy except for this!

I was out in Jackson Heights last night with Kat and Wes (both editors), as well as another editor from St. Martin’s and her boyfriend.  We went to the Jackson Diner, which (you wouldn’t expect it from the name) is a great Indian restaurant.  We were  talking about acquisitions meetings for a bit and how they each have different rules/setups.

I’m meeting another editor/friend tonight!  Her name is Laura and she was my intern when I worked at Writers House.  She’s an editorial assistant at Penguin now and we are going to go to the South Street Seaport and Pier 17 tonight, which should be a lot of fun!  Fred and I took Andrey there on his last night in New York and I’ve been wanting to go back ever since.

So basically this week, I’ve been having a lot of fun while also obsessively checking my inbox.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pondering on the Train...

Good news: I am definitely a gift-giving goddess!  Now that is it safe to share (although I don't even think John knows I have a blog), I went slightly overboard and bought him a laptop for his birthday.  I know, extravagant, but he doesn't have one and ALWAYS hogs mine to watch Suits and Dexter when we're together on the weekends.  More importantly, this way, we can talk on Skype and I'll get to see his handsome face during the week.  And there is the additional hope that he'll start checking his email.  Maybe.
Bet you he's just watching episodes of Breaking Bad.

As for agenting stuff, here is something I was thinking about on the train back to New York: is it okay to drop a client and, if so, under what circumstances?  I know that in an ideal world this would never happen, but the truth is that sometimes, agents and authors aren't able to work together successfully.  When I worked at Writers House, the agent I worked for dropped one of her clients when he rudely suggested she wasn't doing enough for him (they had been having communication issues for a while) and I also know agents who have dropped clients whom they end up not getting along 
with or working well with.  Conversely, before signing with me, one of my clients (who has a wonderful novel called SKY OF BRONZE currently out on submission!) had an agent who she ending up leaving because the agent wasn't a good fit for her.

If you find out that one of your clients isn't revising/working on his or her manuscript the way you want to, or if the two of you can't seem to communicate effectively, how long do you spend trying different approaches or make rounds of editorial comments for a manuscript?  And vice versa,  if you don't feel that your agent is doing a good job or if you don't mesh, how long do you send tactfully-worded emails for?

For any of my clients who read this, don't panic!  I do have some clients who are going through tricky revisions to craft their projects for submission, but as I've said in the past, I only offer representation to authors whose books I truly believe in, so I want to try every avenue possible to help them get published!  Plus, thankfully for me, all my clients are really great people and easy to get along with.