Category Archives: Twitter
Were you with us on Twitter this past Tuesday, when Jim and I chatted with a bunch of folks about the first half of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park? As promised, we want to take the conversation to the blog as well, for those who couldn’t make it. If you want to read it without the SPOILERS you might find below, why not give it a read in the next two weeks, then come back and check out part one’s conversation here, and join us on May 14th at 6 p.m. EST on Twitter (#EandPdglm)?
I’d say the subject that most dominated our discussion was the 1980s setting. Jim and I both felt that though we love how it plays out in the book, it might have given us some pause as agents considering the book in the slush pile: as Jim asked, “Do kids care about the 80s?” Fortunately, we had some researchers in the chat to uncover the answer for us. Anecdotal evidence from Susanna Donato (@SusannaDonato) and DGLM client Brian Bliss (@brainbliss) suggests that teens didn’t mind the choice, might even have been intrigued by it, but would not have cared about the music referenced, which is the source of much of the bond between the two characters. I was perplexed when Bryan reported that his teen creative writing students wouldn’t have bothered to look up the bands on Park’s mixtapes, until I realized that I didn’t bother to look up the comics that take up an equal amount of the narrative, if not more. Of course, I’ve heard of them, but it doesn’t mean I fully understand the context. In the end, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
After all, that moment where Park first realizes Eleanor is reading his comics along with him and stops to let her catch up has plenty of impact no matter what. That was one of Kellie Lovegrove (@k_love671)’s favorite parts of the book. Other favorite moments in the first half included: the very end of the first half, which made Susanna’s heart race. She also loved when Park asked his grandmother for batteries for his birthday so he could give them to Eleanor. Jim swooned over “You look like a protagonist…You look like a person who wins in the end.” And for me, the line referenced in the title of this blog entry, which I loved so much I ran across the room to get a post-it to flag it.
So if you couldn’t make it, tell me, what was YOUR favorite part? And what did you think of the time period? Do you have the same sense of dread about whatever Richie reveal is coming our way in the second half?
On May 14th at 6 p.m. EST, Jim (@JimMcCarthy528) and I (@LaurenAbramo) will reconvene at #EandPdglm to talk with everyone about the rest of the book. If you haven’t gotten started yet, please jump on in! It’s a pretty quick, short, wonderful read. (Though Jim and I were rooting for a contrarian to come along and mix it up—are you that person? Come tell us why!) I can’t wait to find out how the rest of the book will unravel.
And in case you want to catch up so you can join us next time, here’s a handy dandy widget with all the good stuff to come out of our chat under the #EandPdglm hashtag:
If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this last Thursday:
Jim McCarthy @JimMcCarthy528 Okay authors: we’re entering the quietest weeks in the publishing year and I’m caught up on slush. Thinking of querying me? Try now!
And it’s true—the last two weeks of the summer leading up to Labor Day are pretty much dead. It seems like everyone is either on vacation or pretending they are, so submissions aren’t going out, contracts are taking longer, and maybe there are SOME new deals, but less than any other time of year barring the stretch from Christmas to New Year’s.
It’s that magical time of year when I feel like I’m almost up to date on everything. So since I haven’t signed on many new authors in the past year, it seemed like a nice time to remind people I was still (and always am) looking. Said tweet had some interesting results. Let’s discuss.
First, a lot of people replied to let me know they were sad that I don’t represent any middle grade fiction. That took me by surprise, because while I certainly haven’t done much of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever said no to the category across the board. I also don’t do much memoir, but the last new project I signed on is just that. It was an interesting reminder to me that as we encourage authors to focus more and more on researching agents before they contact us, we ourselves have to be extra certain that we’re putting good information out there.
Let’s take a quick moment to clarify what it is I’m looking for: just about anything. I know, I know. That’s not helpful. So let’s say this: it seems I’m known for YA fiction and paranormal adult fiction. And I certainly am always looking in those categories. I’d also love to find some wonderful middle grade, more literary adult fiction, and any breathtaking narrative nonfiction. Just because I don’t do something all the time doesn’t mean I’m not game to try it out (note: this is not a rule that applies for ALL agents).
Beyond that, I learned that sometimes it’s possible to be too encouraging. I’ve actually requested a ton of manuscripts in the past four days and got some great, great queries seemingly in direct response to my call for submissions. On the flip side, there were a fair number of queries that clearly weren’t ready to go yet. People saw an opportunity and jumped on it. I get that; I really do. But here’s a safe rule going forward: if it isn’t ready, don’t send it out. No matter how appealing the circumstance is, whether it’s an editor you met who asked to see it or just little old me saying to send a query, it will never pay off to rush material out if you don’t believe it’s in the best possible shape.
All in all, though, I’m thrilled with the response. There’s something so wonderful about digging through and seeking out the books that I’ll fall in love with. Even if that excitement is ever so slightly tempered by the fact that more queries equal more rejections. I know a lot of you think we agents love a power trip and really enjoy saying no. I promise that isn’t true. I’m a whole lot happier to extend an offer of representation than to send a rejection. Let’s hope that I have the opportunity to do so in the near future!
When I read that Pulitzer Prize winning author Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) was serializing a short story via Twitter, I admit I was dubious. I could not imagine having a story delivered to me in 140 character chunks. As she declared in an interview on NPR, Egan may love the “severity of the form” and the attendant challenges it poses, but I cannot help but feel that a story—even a short one—should be immersive, generous, enfolding. I doubted that I could find the room to inhabit 140 words at a time. Moreover, it smacked of theoretical undertaking, fresh-from-the-lab synthetic hybrid, like the once-hyped hypertext novel (with links leading off every which way, the text is indeterminate! Cool!) than a red-blooded, forward-moving narrative.
Nevertheless, I duly signed up for the Twitter feed, and was actually pleasantly surprised. While the koan-like style of the ruminations of a futuristic female spy took some getting used to, Egan found a felicitous relationship between function and form. In fact, I liked it so well that when realized I could go directly to The New Yorker, a physical copy of which was sitting on my non-virtual couch, and read the whole thing, I abandoned Twitter entirely, proving that when it comes to reading, I have little patience or restraint. This may be less an issue with Twitterization than serialization. Reading is one of the few areas in which the price of instant gratification—a bleary-eyed morning, a procrastinated phone call, couscous rather than rice with dinner—is relatively low.
Have you read or experimented with stories created especially for a digital medium? What is your experience?
Almost 2 years ago, my friend Tom ranted and raved to me about American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I was hesitant; even though I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, American Gods seemed like it would be long, tedious, and ultimately, boring. Then it became the first selection of the monthly twitter book club and I decided it would be nice to join in. So I got myself a copy and started reading. Neil quickly became a favorite author of mine. I immediately ran out to read all of his other works, and I can’t imagine life having not read them.
The brilliant Jeff Howe (@1book140) realized that the biggest conversation in the world was an amazing opportunity to create the first truly global book club. It’s called 1book140, and although it took some figuring out, they’ve got it down to a science now. It is an amazing conversation to be a part of. This month, 1book140 is reading graphic novels. We’ve begun with Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, which we are reading this week. Next week we’ll be reading Art Spiegelman’s The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale. The week after is dedicated to the great V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, and we’ll be closing out the month with none other than Neil Gaiman and The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes.
It’s super easy to follow along on twitter. First, follow Jeff Howe for official updates. Then, use the hashtags to join in:
#1book140 for general discussion
#1book140_1 for Understanding Comics
#1book140_2 for Maus
#1book140_3 for V for Vendetta
#1book140_4 for Sandman
(This also makes it really easy to ignore the schedule.)
I’m in the middle of Understanding Comics right now, and even for a long-time constant comic reader like me, it is very insightful. I haven’t yet read Maus, but I have only heard good things and I am really excited to start it. V for Vendetta and Preludes and Nocturnes are both amazing works, and are arguably two of the greatest graphic novels ever written. So come and join us. You might discover something amazing.
I spend an awful lot of my waking hours reading the news, following the discussion on Twitter, and having conversations with my publishing colleagues. Part of this is just a natural curiosity about the world, but part of it is a deliberate attempt to find new book ideas. During a biweekly staff meeting, we all come to the table with ideas that we have and discuss their merits, trying to figure out if some person, topic or new item is, indeed, a book. Mostly we’re thinking about nonfiction. Some of the ideas are clear and ready for a writer, while others may be interesting, but aren’t quite a book. Some need a new twist or spin that we figure out during our discussion, or a small idea may lead to something bigger.
But more interestingly, I think, is when a story prompts an idea for a novel. An author of mine has a book coming out next month that was inspired by an article I read–several times–and became obsessed with. And just today an author of mine tweeted about a story she found that is the perfect inspiration for a novel. I couldn’t agree with her more; the story is mysterious and rich and calls for exploration. I can’t wait to see what she does with it. I have to admit: I have a fondness for “ripped from the headlines” stories, so if you’ve got those, send them my way!
Are there any stories you’d dying to see fictionalized? And as writers, do you draw from the news when dreaming up new ideas?
Seeing as you’re reading this right now, you can personally attest to the fact that brevity is not, nor has it ever been, my forté. This reason, more than anything, has always stopped me from signing up for Twitter. I’ll admit, I hated Twitter when it first cropped up, but most of my initial annoyances with it seem to have faded away. I still thought it was not for me: it takes me roughly 7 times longer to express something simply than to ramble on about it. And my overly wordy style, even when technically fewer than 140 characters, is probably not really suited to the medium. Plus, I already spend my Friday afternoons worrying about boring all of you!
But all that ends today. Today I capitulated in the battle with myself (better luck next time, me) and signed up. There are things I quite like about Twitter. It’s a nice way to keep connected with clients and publishing colleagues—especially those I only see at events and conferences. Some celebrities I enjoy are on there, being amusing or informative. And I’m a big fan of the clever hashtag (perhaps Twitter’s greatest contribution to discourse). It’s also a potentially valuable promotional resource, with a bit of luck, and I might as well know the ins and outs of it if I’m going to discuss it with clients. I’ve been quietly stalking Twitter for some time now (following Twitter accounts via Google Reader), but today I decided it was probably best to actually engage with it. Now I just need to make a pact with myself to only allow 3 attempts to phrase a thought in the requisite characters or concede it wasn’t worth sharing in the first place.
So Twitter fans, please feel free to come follow me @LaurenAbramo.
Of course, that means I now have to figure out whom to follow, so would you please offer recommendations below? Authors, publishing folk, and excellent tweeters of all stripes welcomed.