Earlier this week, my client Wayne Gladstone asked me if I still had the copy of his manuscript I’d first read. We were talking about the release of his debut novel, Notes from the Internet Apocalypse (which you should definitely feel free to go buy right now. I’ll wait.), and he recalled that when I’d offered representation I’d told him that I’d been sure that I wanted to sign it, so I’d started making edits as I read. I’d been marking mistakes when I suddenly reached a pivotal moment and wrote “holy shit!” in the margin, as I’d realized all the “mistakes” were clues building up to a major revelation. He wanted to get that piece of paper with my “holy shit” in the margin so he could frame it.
Unfortunately, he’d misremembered. The real story was that I’d made edit notes on my e-reader and then exclaimed “holy shit!” out loud on the subway on my way home. Somewhat less frameable, alas. Also not recorded for posterity.
Still, it got me thinking about publishing and the trinkets we keep. I don’t know about the author’s side of things, but I have a bulletin board covered in thank you notes, bookmarks, and various promotional items that authors have sent my way. I also have a postcard my client Erica Ridley sent me when she visited Galway, where I went to grad school; the New York Times crossword puzzle featuring a clue about Heather Brewer’s The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod; and a copy of one of the poems that I wrote my grad school dissertation on, to remind myself of why I went into publishing. Not to mention the star of our DGLM holiday parties, an inflatable fruitcake that Richelle Mead sent me one year, now displayed prominently on my bookshelves.
I’m all about the little reminders of how far we’ve come. Any time I’m near a bookstore or book section with my family, I show them my name in the acknowledgments of at least a few books. I try to restrain myself when with friends, who are less obligated to indulge me, but I rarely succeed completely. I’ve also done it at both the bookstore I worked at in college (B&N 6th Ave and 8th Street, may she rest in peace) and grad school (Dubray Books in Galway), showing off to my ex-coworkers that I wasn’t just lying about where I spend my days. So I was both completely flattered by Wayne’s request and totally understood. I also wish I had that to frame. If only I had been working in hard copy!
Do you have any mementos of your publishing journey? What do you not have yet that you’re saving a special place for on your mantel?