I’ve been going to BEA for the past eight years, and Book Con for every year it’s existed… but this year’s Book Expo America and Book Con was extra special. I feel like a little recap is required this time around.
So. Here we go.
The great thing about conferences like these, is you’re able to sit down and talk to industry people in-real-life. Publishing is a personal business. Books and reading taste, it’s all subjective. Being able to talk about what you’re reading, what you love… that in-person experience doing that is so valuable. And I’m so thankful for all the editors who wanted to hangout while I was in town.
But the most emotional part of the entire event, was watching one of my authors do a signing at the convention, and get a copy of her book for the first time.
So last year was my first full year working as a literary agent.
I had a lot of awesome victories that I shouted to the social media winds and posted about here. I signed a number of rockstar authors, from well-established authors to debuts. You can check out my team in this handy Twitter list. They are all wonderful. I went to a bundle of conferences all around the country, so many that I can’t remember all the places. I even sold some books I can’t quite announce just yet.
And the ones I did announce? I’m so proud of them.
And while all of that sounds awesome, there were some big hurdles in the mix, and some major lessons I took away. Because for every author I picked up, there was another I didn’t get to work with. There were conferences that were, sadly, not a good use of my time. And I’m going to try to get better at handling all of these things.
Here are some of the lessons I learned, that I hope you can learn from too. Read more
Emmy Laybourne, bestselling YA author of books like Monument 14 and Sweet (this was one of my favorite books last year, you guys), hosts this wonderful event in NYC every other month or so, inviting authors to come share personal essays on stage.
It’s been a long time since I read a personal essay at a reading. The last time… oh goodness, was First Person Arts in Philadelphia, maybe? Valentine’s Day like two years ago? I’m not even sure. Point is, it doesn’t happen often, I’m just so thrilled to be invited.
Four days. That’s how fast I read this manuscript. Faster, really. I read it in a single weekend. It was beautiful, hilarious, and heartbreaking. It felt important and utterly needed. A story of a girl torn between worlds, the one of her family and the one she wants. Of her family’s dreams and her own. Of two boys. Of two futures. And it all comes falling down when a terrorist attack hits a nearby city, and the alleged bomber shares a last name with her and her family.
It asks a gripping question. What happens to the one Muslim girl, and the one Muslim family, in a town suddenly rocked by fear and peers driven by misguided hatred?
It’s my belief that this book will give Muslim teenagers a powerful place to see themselves in literature, during a time when hatemongers are continued to be given a platform in our media. I hope they see this book and know they are wanted. That their voices matter.
In fact, while discussing the book on Twitter this weekend, one teenager sent out an excited tweet about the book, and it made me tear up:
This book tackles important themes with grace and breathtaking prose, and I’m so thrilled to announce it’ll be on shelves soon.
LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS by Samira Ahmed has been acquired by Daniel Ehrenhaft at Soho Teen, the YA imprint of Soho Press. Daniel worked on my favorite book of 2015, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, and is an incredibly talented editor who understands and believes in this book’s message. It’ll hit shelves everywhere in the Spring of 2018.
Epic thanks to Daniel at the team at Soho for taking this book on. Be sure to follow Samira on Twitter, and send her all the congrats.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some more crying to do.
And remember, querying authors. Social media is a fantastic resource. Samira and I found each other there, and just a few months later… here we are.