Saturday, August 9, 2008

Meeting Laura Rennert

So, as I was saying before...there we were, waiting for our drinks at Starbucks, and it's pretty much now or never. If I wait, then I'll be kicking myself all day for not just doing it. It's go-time!

I turn to her and introduce myself.

She is completely polite, shaking my hand as I introduce myself, with absolutely no recognition of who I am as she says hello. (I feel like I'm sliding my manuscript beneath the bathroom stall to her. She probably feels the same way.) And then she hears my name...really hears it. As she realizes that I'm one of her clients, she repeats her hello again, but in a completely different (and probably relieved) way. She's enthusiastic to meet me and she talks about my project, making me feel better about infringing on her personal space. It was a great meeting, and the perfect ice breaker before the big agent-client soiree that night.

WHEW!

Besides that fantastic first meeting with my agent, my first class was also great. It was "Up Close at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers" by editor Nancy Conescu.

She was a great speaker, but the part that really got me, was when she talked about the Acquistions process, something I knew very little about.

So here it is in a nutshell from Nancy Conescu:

An editor receives your manuscript and loves it (at least that's what we hope happens). She then takes your manuscript to the editorial meeting, which happens once a week and has 3-5 fellow editors read it. If they all feel the same way as she does, then they have the executive editor/editorial director/publisher read it. If it passes that litmus test, then it goes on to the Acquisitions Board, a meeting that happens generally once a month.

A proposal is prepared in advance for everyone who will attend that meeting, which includes people from finance and budget, marketing, publicity, publishers, etc...basically about 20 (yes, T-W-E-N-T-Y) people involved in the decision making process. Everyone has to be behind the project for them to take it on. If they love it, then they decide whether or not an offer will be made.

I was a little overwhelmed. I'm amazed that anything ever makes it through this process at all.

At the party that night, I had a chance to meet Laura's other clients (who were all fantastic!), including Jay Asher, one-third of the Disco Mermaids, who wrote Thirteen Reasons Why.

Sidenote: I picked up his book this week for vacation, and absolutely LOVE it!!!

Another third of their Terrific Trio represented by Laura, Eve Porinchak (hopefully I got that spelling right), was a lot of fun to hang out with. I wish I could have been there Saturday night to see their costumes!

3 comments:

L.J. Boldyrev said...

Wow! What a great first meeting! I'm an aspiring author for YA lit and I wanted to say that I found this post very helpful. Like you, I knew very little about the acquisitions process and I am baffled that a manuscript ever makes it through!
Thanks for posting and I am looking forward to reading your books!
-Lacey

Kimberly Derting said...

Hey Lacey!

I'm glad you thought the post was useful, I know it's also a little daunting. Good luck on your projects, hopefully *I'll* be reading your books soon!!!

Lia Keyes said...

Laura talked about your book as an example of a great premise a couple of weekends ago at Big Sur Writers Workshop—were your ears burning? After she'd finished explaining the concept we all wanted to rush out and buy it!

Made me so proud to be able to say she's my agent, too!