FINDING the idea that I’m beyond excited to work with, SELLING it to a publisher and seeing the joy my author experiences, and literally HOLDING THE BOOK after the fact. It’s a birthday x 3, and it’s just the best experience seeing my authors reach these goals.
There’s another reason why we may close to queries: we’re getting ready for a busy few months of conference travel. Yes, writers’ conferences. It’s one of my favorite things to do, as I get the chance to visit other cities in the company of other book folks. There’s the adventure and book talk; this is why it’s a delight to attend them.
In order to ensure that we’re ready for these conferences, we’ll plan any classes that we plan to teach at the conference, while finishing any reading from our query inboxes beforehand. The goal: to have both the time and the room on our lists to potentially work with any writer who presents a fun and exciting idea at these conferences.
The organizers of these conferences are promising their attendees that the agents and editors will be available for book pitches. It’s our responsibility to be receptive to these ideas, and to provide the education to anyone who may need to fine tune an idea. While every writer may not find their perfect agent/editor match at a conference, it’s important those agents and editors in attendance provide the critiques and education that will result in finding a future match (maybe through the inbox or at a different conference).
"For myself, I’m probably more aware that each stage of life is like its own geography, a place we’re surprised to find ourselves. We need language in all the places, illuminating all the experiences. If I ever doubt my own writing practice, or think I should give it up, it’s helpful to just come back to this."
If you are independently publishing any book, contracts are a necessary part of the process. This includes hiring a freelance editor, a book designer, a publicity person, a printer, a distributor, and any other relevant costs associated with publishing your book. If you are putting the money (and time) into the publication of any book, having a written agreement with any third party is absolutely mandatory.
It’s never too early to start learning about poetry, and memorizing it not only for personal enjoyment, but also with the intention of sharing joy or beauty with others. Poetry Out Loud helps high school students feel the impact of poetry, and facilitates the process of memorization and presentation. Through the competition, they are likely to discover meaningful poems that they will then carry—and share—for a long time after it ends.
Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties is a short story collection that is full of great sex scenes. The scenes are diverse in terms of groupings as well as style and objective. Some are steamy, some are quiet, and some are horrifying.
Machado uses many smart techniques in the depiction of sex, but I'm particularly struck by the attention she pays to the breathing of the reader...
Calling a client to tell them that a publisher has made an offer on their book will never cease to be a thrilling experience, especially if it’s a debut. Neither will seeing a client’s book out in the wild, being read by a fellow subway passenger or perused by a stranger in an airport. It’s just exhilarating to see something you love so dearly actually become a part of someone else’s everyday life.
We saw how the sharing built community, created empathy, and helped the writers grow. As we talked, we became committed to the idea of helping students not only write their stories but share them. We realized that not everyone wanted or was able to write a 300-page memoir, but almost anyone could fill a 32-page book with snapshots of their life.
I think agents often seem like scary gatekeepers or like we're here to take advantage of an author, but that couldn't be farther from the truth for most of us. We want the best for authors. That means turning down projects that we know we can't do right by and when we do sign an author, we're with them every step of the way. An author's success is our success too and we will work as hard as we can to make sure that author gets the best deal and the best editorial guidance from the first book until their last.
I often find that there are many myths about publishing, despite the fact that the intended audience is already a naturally curious and resourceful group of people. Writers, as a practice, will ask many valuable questions; my goal is to help bring an understanding to a few of these “unknowns” of publishing. A deeper understanding will help in the larger picture, specifically in sidestepping unrealistic expectations along the way.