Book Love: Lunching with Editors is Kind of Like Dating

I’ve been lunching with several amazing editors this summer, primarily from imprints within the ‘Big Six’ to better learn their lists and books they want to acquire.  I realized the other day that lunching with editors is kind of like dating.  You get excited and a bit nervous the night before (will he or she like me?), do your due diligence by reading as much information about them online (I better do my research so I can ask good questions), try to wear a nice outfit and do your best to show up early or at least on time.  True, the end goal is not to fall in love but rather to form a hopefully long-term relationship and continual discourse regarding writers and books.  If you’re lucky you’ll also get a free lunch (paid for by the editor) and a free book or two, the dating equivalent of chocolate or flowers!

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Yes, I know I’m not a little girl with curly hair, but this is how I feel when discussing books

Picture from http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/happy-people/

Getting to know an editor in person is so much more personal than conversing over e-mail or passively stalking them on Twitter.  I’m glad that I have the opportunity to do so and that the editors that I have met with have been encouraging and open in exchanging information about the publishing process (because every imprint is different).  Most of the editors I have been lunching with are on the younger side but I can tell that they all have that fire in their belly.  One editor, at Henry Holt, I was particularly impressed by–she recently acquired two books and her reputation precedes her.  So yes, I would love to sell a book to her and work with her but also realize how competitive it is.  Indeed, I would feel honored to work with any of these talented editors.  Again, the silly dating analogy, but the more in demand an editor is, the harder it might be to get a date with him or her.

Perhaps we’re a little more picky when it comes to our personal dating lives.  I’m married now so those days are long behind me but I remember those heady days of dating and dates gone wrong (or right!) and can’t help but see the similarities.  The chemistry is so important and you learn about the editors not only in terms of their jobs but also as people with their own interesting backgrounds.   Sometimes nerves can get the better of you, both professionally and personally, and you know that there won’t be a ‘second date,’ but most of the time both parties leave enthused and better for the experience.

Have you had the opportunity to meet with editors or other literary-minded people, including fellow writers?  What has that process been like for you?

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