Pub Rants

AAR Night

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STATUS: 10 weeks on the NYT bestseller list and counting…

What’s playing on the iPod right now? FREE FALLIN’ by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Last night I attended the Association of Authors’ Representatives monthly meeting. It was meet the editors of FSG night (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux). An aspiring writers dream I imagine as there were easily 40 agents all in one place—not to mention 8 terrific editors at the front of the room.

Yes, these meetings are top secret…

Here’s what I found interesting. One editor pleaded with agents in the room not to “clean out their drawers” so to speak and send everything they have. This editor was quite blunt and said she couldn’t imagine that agents who do that really thought each book was really that good and deserved a spot on the rather small and intimate FSG list.

Personally, I was appalled that there were any agents doing that at all! I mean why? There can’t possibly be an upside to that. After all, our most important asset is our reputations. Or perhaps I just feel that way.

You’re looking at an agent who might take 5 projects out on submission in a year and that’s pretty much it. (I’m not counting new sales for current clients in that total.) I haven’t got any drawers to empty—metaphorically speaking.

Also, the editors all said they really preferred a phone call rather than an email before a submission. If I don’t know the editor, or don’t know him or her well, then I always call first but I must confess that all the editors I know super well I almost never do. Seems to me that people are so busy, it’s just easier to respond to an email when you have quiet moment to. So, that was good to know. FSG editors like a phone call.

In good news, I convinced an agent friend who is rather a Luddite that the Kindle really was worth its weight in gold. She’s going to buy it,

And the most fun? I went to lunch with Kathy Dawson at Harcourt Children’s and when I popped open my bag to show her my palm treo (she asked), she noticed my kindle and said she had one too!

The first editor I’ve lunched with who has had the Kindle two months longer that I have. Tomorrow, I’ll report how the Kindle reading is going so far.

13 Responses

  1. sherrypeters said:

    Hi Kristin, I finished reading “I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You” last week, and am about to start on the next Gallagher Girl adventure. I have to say, I wish I’d had these books when I was in Junior High. My friends and I would have devoured them. I guess I’m making up for lost time. And as a writer, I wish I’d written them. They’re so well written, and fun, and I love spy everything. Needless to say, I’m telling all my writer friends about the books too.

    Thanks for being the agent that chose to represent Ms. Carter and made sure the manuscript got into the right publishers hands.


  2. Anonymous said:

    I finished I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You today, actually. Loved it.

  3. pete said:

    I’m instantly suspect of anyone that can tolerate reading on a digital device in very much the same way that I’m suspect of speed-readers. You might be reading, but you aren’t really *reading*.

  4. Misque Writer said:

    I’ve been debating whether to get a Kindle. I practically live on Amazon anyway…. But I do wish they would make rare books less expensive in ebook format than in print.

    Yes, I understand why an out of print book from a small press might cost $130. But I can’t for the life of me understand why the Kindle version costs $105. For an ebook! Who benefits from this? Not the author or publisher. Would anyone buy a $100 ebook?

    What a wasted opportunity. So many books on the back list could be sold for reasonable prices as ebooks and make the publishers and the authors more money than not having them available for a (realistic) price at all.

    Sorry for the rant. Touched a nerve.

  5. Kimber An said:

    I wonder if I could read electronic-ARCs on Kindle? They’re typically sent to me as Word documents or in PFD. I don’t have an eBook reader at all, which makes it challenging for me to carve time out of my schedule to read eARCs on my computer.

  6. Kelly Kirch said:

    Kimber, yes. You just have to email it to your Kindle account addy and it will translate it for you to download. I dearly want a Kindle, but am waiting a year to see if there are updates, improvements, price reductions etc. As an Ebook author, it’s part of the job to support “green reading”.

    To Pete, I reckon you can speed read if you choose, but I snuggle in with a blanket and devour the books one at a time. I love my reader.

    Tom Petty?! I adore him. So glad I’m not the only one. It’s been years since I listened to him though.

  7. Kelly Kirch said:

    PS. Please keep us informed on your Kindle experience. I have a friend with one who says she loves the internet download access, but it doesn’t provide backlighting as the Sony does. She likes it but feels it definitely has a first generation feel to it.

  8. Sarah McCarty said:

    I love the Kindle and the machine has the tear splotches on the screen to prove I’m really reading. *G* Some tears are from crying, a few are from laughter. But I definitely read. I was at first skeptical of e devices but find they allow me greater freedom and I now prefer them over real books. I’ve been using ereading devices for 4 years) It’s more comfortable to hold and since I can enlarge the font, much easier on my eyes. (I tend to binge read.)

  9. Anonymous said:

    Hi Kristin,

    I have a question for a future blog if possible: I was wondering if you can address the issue of why an agent chooses to send to a small number versus a large number of editors on the manuscript’s first outing. Pros and cons? I’d love to hear what’s the rationale behind the decision. Thanks!