A book is a labor of love, and this novel would not have been possible without the help of several people, and several bottles of wine—the last of which I’m enjoying right now. Infinite thanks to my editor, X, who talked me out of six bad titles, seven ill-advised
Have you ever shown up at a party only to find out the keg’s already been emptied? I meet a lot of writers who feel like that’s what happened to books. They’ve chosen to write a book at a time when that’s as old fashioned as typing it up
When I first start working on a proposal or a manuscript with a writer, I tell them I have two stages of advice: breaking things and fixing things. At first, I’m going to keep asking hard questions and recommending big changes, until I think the writer has said what that writer wanted
For most of the nonfiction books I sell, the editors I’m selling to have a lot of objective information on hand to guess at a title’s potential success: the author’s Twitter following, other books on the same subject, other books by the same author, the popularity of magazine articles
A rule I learned as an editor: when you look at a book’s acknowledgments, the effusiveness of praise for an editor is inversely proportional to the effort he or she put into the book. If a writer goes on and on about her editor, that editor did almost nothing.
As an agent, it’s my job to figure out what’s going to be popular among readers. I’m looking not only for books that editors will like now, but that the rest of the world will like eighteen months from now. Luckily, I only have to figure this out for
Q: First things first: how did you become an agent? A: I resisted initially, spent five years trying to find a different calling, and finally realized that being an agent was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I worked for an agent (the