Reviewing my client list the other day, I was struck by the fact that they are really a fine looking bunch of writers. When I get around to updating my website, I must add photos. The chap on the left, for example, is Brad Hutchins, whose memoir Game, Set, Cash! will be published in 2014 by Black Inc.
Given that I typically find my clients on the quality of their query letters and manuscripts, without clapping eyes on anything but their prose, it’s a serendipitous result.
But enough of that. Some exciting things have happened for my lovely clients in November, such as:
- Lily Brett’s novel Lola Bensky (of which I was the editor, not the agent) has been nominated for the prestigious IMPAC Dublin award. She’ll be appearing on Wednesday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City.
- Author of the bestselling The Mothers’ Group, Fiona Higgins, showed me her freshly baked novel and I can’t say much right now except IT’S FANTASTIC and will be published in September 2014.
- Cartoonist Nate Neal is a guest of the inaugural Short Run Festival in Seattle, talking about his ‘silent comics’.
- Naomi Cook has started blogging for leading health website Health Engine. It was her popular Nurse Naomi blog that drew the attention of Australia’s #1 Health Directory as rated by Neilsen.
- Kirsten Krauth’s debut novel just_a_girl got this thoughtful review by Angela Meyer to add to a heap of great reviews for the work, which I’m now shopping to US editors.
- Jenny Ackland has submitted a very exciting new manuscript which is both literary and gripping — basically your Holy Grail for literary fiction publishers, who are skittish as cats these days.
- And as of the last days of the month I’ve found a publisher for a fascinating work of nonfiction/biography which I won’t disclose until the ink’s dry on the contract. But the story of its path to publication is worth waiting for, and I couldn’t be happier for the author.
So why bother listing all of this? I want you to know that publishers DO want to publish great stories, well told. It’s just a lot harder to do than many unpublished writers think. I hate saying no to so many queries, but the truth is that most of them are not nearly ready to go out into the world. Even when the manuscripts are of a high quality, there’s still more editorial development work to be done, whether it’s with me or with the publisher, or most often, both.
Here’s my question for you: What sorts of things do you want to know about how the book publishing industry works? I have the most experience in Australia — as an in-house editor, published author, and literary agent — but I’ll answer a genuine question from anywhere.