Window Into Attractions For Editors
What are you looking for?
It's a question that I am asked often in my role as a literary agent. From years in this business, I have a cagey response, "Good stuff."
I can see the follow-up question coming before they even formulate it, "And what is 'good stuff?'"
"I'll know it when I see it."
While no one likes to talk about it much, publishing is subjective. Yes there is a standard for professionalism and storytelling but when the basic requirements are there, then it's a matter of personal taste and which projects attract you. As I shop the projects for my agency clients, I'm trying to send the right project to the right editor at the right publishing house at the right time. There are lots of "rights" in that sentence and it's intentional. The search is on to find your champion within the publishing house who loves your work and will convince others that your book needs to get into the marketplace and in the hands of readers. This search is complex.
Yesterday's Publishers Lunch included an article about a new program from the Association of American Publishers. It's free and here's more of the details: The AAA will start a "pilot program" of web casts featuring editors pitching Winter 2009 books to an intended online audience of booksellers media, beginning in September. For two weeks, two editors per day (on select days) will present "upcoming titles that have inspired them" in live 30-minute web casts. Media and booksellers can call in and ask questions. Starting September 16, the schedule features: Rebecca Sale tan from Houghton Miff Lin Harcourt; Tom Miller from Wiley; Bill Thomas from Doubleday; Geoff Chandler from Little, Brown; Cindy Spiegel from Spiegel & Frau; Amy Einhorn from Putnam; George Witte from St. Martin's; Eric Raab from Tor/Forge; Gillian Blake from Collins; Helen Atsma from Holt; Chuck Adams from Algonquin; and Deb Futter from Grand Central. You register for the webcasts at http://publishers.webex.com/
If you don't recognize any of these general market names, you should because they are some of the key decision makers at large publishing houses. For example, Amy Einhorn is the publisher at Amy Einhorn Books (one of the Putnam imprints). If you research the other names here, you will find other significant details.
These leaders in the publishing community will be talking about forthcoming books which inspired them. That's code for telling you what topics and books attracted them enough to contract the book and champion it internally within their publishing house. It looks like valuable insight to me so I've signed up for some of these events and put them on my September schedule. You can do the same--for free.