I Met My Editor and Agent — And I Liked It!

I might not have been wearing ruby slippers but I certainly felt like my recent trip to the East Coast — including New York City — was a tornado of activity!  In North Jersey, I spent time with some of my favorite friends, including the founder of Vox Poetica, Annmarie Lockhart.  Annmarie and I met in an online workshop when I was starting to write what has become The Glass Wives.  We have been close friends — and our kids have been close — ever since.

On my second day, I hopped (ok, walked tentatively) onto the ferry for my day in New York. And then — I took a bus!!! Now, here’s something you don’t know about me — I grew up a city girl in Philadelphia. Not a suburban girl, a city girl.  A bus, El (as in elevated train), subway, girl. A walk-everywhere girl. But I’ve now lived in various suburbs around the country since 1990 and this public transportation thing is just not as easy as it used to be. Sure, I can get on the commuter train in my little tiny Chicago suburb and it delivers me to the heart of the Chicago Loop.  After that, my friends, I either walk or take cabs.  I am no longer a city girl no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise.

But, I love the rush of the city streets and I can still weave in and out of a bustling crowd like it’s 1988. I like the shadows cast by skyscrapers and the faraway look in the eyes of passersby.  But what I don’t like is not knowing where the hell I am going!!! I have absolutely no sense of direction so please do not tell me to go East or West.  I know that the lake (Lake Michigan) is always East when you are in Chicago.  Like that’s supposed to help when you can’t SEE the lake.  It doesn’t. Anyway, I digress.  I had the whole NY trip mapped, scoped, planned.

Luckily, I have no problem asking directions – even in New York.  So when I saw the line of about a gazillion (or six) busses, all going places whose names meant nothing to me, I asked. And the cranky bus driver told me. He even told me when I’d arrived, six minutes later, at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue.  Even though I could see the signs, had buzzed the buzzer, and was standing by the door.

New Yorkers are much nicer than people say they are.

I’ve been to New York City many times. But this time was different, because my destination was The Flatiron Building, home of St. Martin’s Press! Woo Hoo!

And this is my editor, Brenda Copeland. Doesn’t she have awesome glasses? And that’s just the beginning! (I know, I know, we look like sisters, we’ve been hearing that now for days!)

Brenda is as exuberant and wonderful and smart in person as she is in emails and over the phone.  We chatted in her office, she introduced me to lots of people who were instrumental in acquiring my book and those who are working on it now and some who will be working on it down the road. We had some of those author-publisher meetings you think you’re going to have where all you do is talk about your book, its cover, the marketing, the writing, and that kind of dreamy stuff we writers dream about. It’s all dreamy. But the best part is — you’re not dreaming!

Then, we went to lunch. Lunch is a very important part of publishing.  Lunch is where I met my agent, Jason Yarn.  I’ve now been working with Jason officially for almost two years, but this is the first time we met in person! And it was fabulous.  He is wicked smart, a great editor, and I can’t imagine a better advocate for this author.

After lunch and important lunchy publishing and food banter, I walked back to Paradigm with Jason, where I met more people and where we discussed my next novel.  Which is in the works.  More Woo Hoo!  And then he very kindly walked with me a bit and directed me back to St. Martin’s.  And I do believe he would vouch for my lack of a sense of direction. ‘Nuff said.

I know that a day like that in New York is the result of my hard work and determination. Yet, it was magical. It was all real — and I had the hurty feet to prove it — but it was surreal as well.  What it was most of all, was right. I have experienced a lot of wrong.  This is definitely better.

Is there anything you want to know about meeting my agent and editor or being at St. Martin’s? Just ask! I was busy for eight hours that day and it’s hard to filter out all the information. It was really wonderful. I felt at ease just being in the city and waiting to meet Brenda.  I was invigorated.  I can’t wait to go back.

Then, we headed to my hometown of Philadelphia to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary!

We also spent time over the weekend with other family and friends — having good meals, good conversations, and just enjoying being with the people I’m closest to who happen to be the ones who are farthest away.

And to top it off, after too many airport delays, I spotted Amy Hatvany’s re-released The Language of Sisters, right next to the Butterscotch Krimpets in the Philly airport. That, my friends, is prime placement for both of these wonderful treats!

Actually — the whole trip was all kinds of wonderful.

But, there’s no place like home.

Just ask Mitzi.

56 thoughts on “I Met My Editor and Agent — And I Liked It!

  1. So happy for you! Sounds like a wonderful trip..icing on the cake, as it were. Sounds like you’re doing everything right and your energy and enthusiasm is contagious! I know what you mean about being an ex-city girl. Lived in NYC for 13 years, but now when I go back, it’s not as comfortably familiar (still awesome,though!).

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  2. What a great day, Amy! I’m much closer to New York, so I’ve had some wonderful lunches with my agent, but the lunch with the publishing house folks was very special. Something I’ll never forget. Great to hear you talking about your next book!

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful time, Amy. I’m a city girl at heart, too, and most of my friends out in the ‘burbs don’t understand how much I enjoy public transportation either. I’m really excited for you meeting with your editor and agent. One step closer to seeing your book on the shelves…

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  4. Great tour, Amy! And an awesome post.
    And now you know I’m gonna brag that I met your agent in person before you did. Last November during the Backspace Seminar, we exchanged a friendly “hello” in the hallway. Yep, that was the extent of it. 🙂
    Best wishes.

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  5. Oh Amy, I’m so excited for you! How thrilling….enjoy every second! We have to live through the waiting, and the disappointments – you have to wallow in the good stuff, when it comes!

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  6. Heady stuff, isn’t it, Amy?!? I’ve had a day like that in New York…felt like I was floating. And I’m still so tickled you took that picture of THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS. Also, now craving a Butterscotch Krimpet, so thanks for that! 😉

    The fun’s just begun, my friend! Enjoy!! xoxo

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  7. Goodness, Amy – this sounds heavenly. (And I can’t deny that I wish I were in your shoes! Someday. Someday!) Well, except I’m not as in love with big cities as you. I grew up in rural PA and live in even boonier-AZ, so public transportation scares the bejezus out of me. I was proud of myself for riding a bus in Seattle once, and that’s probably the ONLY solo pub transport I’ve done. But back to YOU and your dream come true! I’d really love to know more about the uber-long meeting. What was your favorite topic of discussion during it? And what are your next steps in the process (i.e. when WILL you see covers, will you play a role, how big, etc.?)

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    • Melissa, I had one meeting about social media and marketing where we talked about everything from Twitter to print publications and essay writing. We talked a lot about online presence, and I even met my cover designer. We talked a bit about the tone of the cover more than the design, as she hadn’t yet read the book. A lot of women’s fiction has cute/whimsical covers. I love those, but it really would not fit for my book at all. I was talking about not having a misleading cover. So that even if it was not literal, that it represented the book. With separate publishers and editors we discussed my book specifically — this blog (YAY!) and some ideas for future books. My agent and I had been discussing my two book ideas and we ran them past my editor at lunch. We talked about the two stories and the corresponding stories…and my editor really gravitated toward one, so that’s what I’ll work on. Then later Jason and I decided I get him a chapter or two by the end of September. As for a schedule, it seems we’re really on track for a possible late spring release (which is what I want!). Next, probably in September, I’ll get my copy edits. Then, I’ll get page proofs. In there somewhere ARCs will be made (galleys) — so I’m hoping we’ll do a bunch of giveaways. They asked if I wanted to have a dedication page at the beginning and acknowledgment pages at the back — and I said YES. Production doesn’t need the copy yet, but they need to account for the pages, which makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? I don’t know when I’ll see the cover, but it seems like a lot happens about 6 months before the release date.

      Any time you want to ask anything – you know where to find me, Melissa! xoxo

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  8. I know exactly what you mean by the ruby slippers, but for me it felt like Cinderella at the ball the two times I’ve gone to New York to hang with my publisher and agent. The great thing for me is that my agent and editor love each other and I’m their first shared project so they love to do lunch the three of us. It’s incredible to be in a business where I get to be a kick-butt business woman and yet allow my feminine side as well.

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  9. Go you! Great post, Amy. Plus, you have just given me yet another boost to keep on writing and working toward the same goal. All the best 🙂

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  10. Amy, SO excited for you! What an adventure! And its clear you are working with some wonderful people with whom you have connected with in every way–and another novel in the works??!! Woohoo, lady!!!

    Glad you made it home in time to celebrate with your family too! (Including the adorable Mitzi, of course!)

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  11. Oh boy, can I relate to this wonderful day you had, Amy! Life truly doesn’t get any better, does it? I wrote a blog post about my (very) similar day, back in February: http://www.shellesumners.com/wabi-sabi/

    You won’t believe how soon you’ll be through the editing phase and holding your galley in your hand! These St. Martin’s people really know what they’re doing. 🙂

    I can’t wait to read The Glass Wives.
    xo
    Shelle

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  12. Sounds like a fantastic trip! So excited for you and your upcoming release of the The Glass Wives. And BTW, I would concur that New Yorkers are the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet on the street. You stop and ask for directions and they’ll practically escort you to your address. Glad it was such a successful adventure!

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  13. Exciting stuff, Amy!!! I was going to do that this past spring, but I decided to forego the expense since I would be meeting them in California at National. And meeting them there was amazing. I met my agent for drinks, and met my editor for breakfast and then hooked up with both of them at the Berkley cocktail party…and it was so cool. 🙂 (and of course neglected to take a picture of anything…head slap) But still, I’d love to experience the New York thing, and see my actual publishing house (Berkley) and all the behind the scenes things that go on there. You are so lucky! Glad you had a great trip!

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  14. Good for you, Amy! If there’s anything more satisfying than talking books with people who love books, it’s living a dream come true. 🙂 I loved your description of being a city girl who has been off the public transportation for long enough to make it seem like a space adventure. Here’s to good maps and friendly direction providers for those of us who are directionally challenged.

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  15. Amazing post Amy. It’s fun to live vicariously through you. I have an Mary Tyler Moore image of you throwing your cap into the air as you walk through the busy NYC streets.

    Thanks for sharing~
    Kristi Rhodes

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  16. It sounds like a whirlwind yet wonderful trip! New York is one of those places I would love to visit but would make me feel like I was ten years old. I am a Midwest girl who can count her public transportation escapades on one hand. Congrats on making it to all of your destinations unscathed. 🙂

    I’m curious about the WHOLE trip but would love to know what your publishers had to say about your author platform. Did it matter in the end? Was your blog vital to your success or at least opening a few doors? What is the marketing plan from here? And last but not least, book tour!!! Will there be one? You know, Kansas City isn’t all that far from Chicago. 😉

    Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us and glad you are home safe.

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    • Hi Hallie! Truly, I don’t believe that NOT having a platform as a fiction author is a minus, but I do believe that having one is a plus, if that makes sense. I’d been blogging since 2006 and started WFW about 7 months before my book sold, so I think my track record showed that I understood social media — which is key. But many fiction author’s start off with no platform. What matters — which wont surprise you — is the book! I’m not sure about the specific marketing efforts yet, but I know that I walked away from the day feeling like I had a lot of strong support. I think all those specifics come next — marketing, publicity, cover, etc. Our conversation was largely about audience and who my audience is, with ideas on how to reach those demographics. Lots is done online of course. I think the weirdest/coolest thing for me will be when something is tangible — like a review in a magazine I can hold in my hand, my Advance Reader Copies, etc. There’s no book tour per se, but I’ll be doing readings and signings in the Chicago area and then in the Philadelphia area to start. After that, who knows. And you know what the craziest thing of all is? That with all this technology and all this reach, the best way to sell books is word of mouth grassroots efforts like book clubs. The more things change, the more they stay the same, huh?

      Thanks for asking!!! xoxo

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  17. Most excellent, my dear! I couldn’t be happier for you. I loved meeting my ex-agent in NYC – it was one of the most fun days of my life.

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  18. Hi Amy,
    This post was so much fun to read. I loved it and felt the enjoyment of your experience.
    I can’t believe your parents have been married 50 years.
    By the way, you have many fans all over the country and for sure many on the east coast.

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