Thursday, July 16, 2009
It's never any good to start your first full day of a conference exhausted. Kim is mainlining coffee as we speak. Apparently we were given the loudest room in the hotel. There's something outside of our window that sounds like a train or a large box truck that "drives by" every three minutes and sometime in the middle of the night there was a lot of banging of doors outside our room. At least I imagine that tonight we'll both be so exhausted we'll sleep through even a fire alarm.
Speaking of fire alarms, some of our long time readers might remember our conference two years ago when we had to run out in the middle of the night for a fire alarm. Needless to say, traveling with Kim and me always results in an adventure. While I never profess to be a humor writer I will attempt to share how our trip started out yesterday. Pulling into the parking lot at the train station, Kim and I knew we were cutting our time close. We had only about 5-10 minutes to get to our train, but we were in the parking garage so how hard could it be? Well, apparently a parking garage at a commuter train station on a Wednesday morning is a little full and a little crowded (obviously I've been out of the commuter world for quite some time). It took 5-10 minutes to park the car. Once we found our space, we grabbed our bags and hustled down six flights of stairs. The minute we hit the sidewalk outside we saw our train pull in. Figuring we missed it, we went straight to the ticket counter thinking we were going to simply change our tickets for the next train. Nope, according to the nice ticketman we still had time. Run!!!!! I dashed off first, ticket in hand, yelling back to Kim that I wouldn't get on board until she was there. Dashing through the tunnel, dragging my gigantic shoe-filled suitcase behind me, I flew up two flights of stairs and made it to the platform and train door just as the conductor announced to stand clear of the closing doors so what do I do? What any New Yorker would do? I threw my suitcase into the train vestibule and stood right in front of the closing door. At that point I saw Kim's head pop up the staircase at which time I proceeded to hollar, "hurry, hurry" and Kim, moving as fast as she could (although it looked a little like a slow-motion scene in a movie) ran for the train, the doors banging against my back in an attempt to close. Finally, Kim made it to the door. I grabbed her bag, tossed it inside with Kim pushing inside behind it, knocking me over in the process. I flew over the two bags landing on top of them in the train vestibule. As I glanced up to see if anyone noticed (how could they not) I could see heads popping out from behind seats to see what the commotion was. Needless to say, other then a bruise on the shin, we made it on the train in two pieces. Although I'm not sure Amtrak is going to want us back.
Okay, on to real publishing news. Yesterday was busy of course. I spoke on a terrific panel for the Golden Network with Abby Zidle from Pocket, agent Kevan Lyons, Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks, Tracy Ferrell from Harlequin and agent Emmanual Alspath (I know I got spellings wrong and sincerely apologize. I'll try to correct later, but I'm blasting this out before getting to a breakfast meeting and won't be back until this evening). In a nutshell, publishing news is not pretty these days. Agents have gotten pickier and editors are having a really, really difficult time getting projects through. In other words, buying a new book or even an option book is hard these days. Sales are down, bookstores are in trouble and everyone, from buyers to publishers, are cautious with their money. So what does that mean? Do you delay submissions for now? I don't think so. I think it simply means you have to make sure your book is even better then your best work.
The literacy signing was chaotic and full of people which is fabulous. Kim and I made a quick entrance, but it was hot and crowded so we choose to spend out time chatting with authors in the bar instead.
And from there we headed to the Bookseller's Best Awards where BookEnds authors Elizabeth Amber, Terry McLaughlin, Sally MacKenzie, and Stacey Kayne were all finalists. Congrats to them!
I'm off for a full day of appointments with clients and will be back soon with more news. Sorry, for the brief report and any and all typos and errors today, but I'm really trying to run out the door