Blogger: Wendy Lawton
I just arrived home from a whirlwind tour of publishing houses in Nashville. Janet Kobobel Grant and I had six meetings in two days. After that I had the privilege of spending time with a group of veteran authors. I don’t mind admitting that I’m exhausted but I’m brimming with ideas, information, and opportunities. I’m more optimistic about the future of publishing than ever.
It was worth all the preparation and the effort. There is nothing like the face-to-face connections we make. At the Howard (division of Simon & Schuster) offices we had a yummy lunch in the boardroom with the publisher and the whole editorial team as the three youngest editors introduced themselves and each told us how they worked their way into their dream jobs. (If you think it’s hard to get a publishing contract as an author, try to get a job as an editor with a top publisher.) What a superb team they’ve put in place.
On our second day we had lunch with the amazing Daisy Hutton, vice-president and fiction publisher at the newly reorganized Harper Collins Christian Publishing (formerly Thomas Nelson and Zondervan). We met the whole team, from marketing through editorial. I later had the luxury of spending an afternoon with Ami McConnell from their team. We came away with a renewed enthusiasm for this publisher. What a brain trust.
Meeting after meeting—from the gorgeous offices of Worthy Publishing, to the city block that houses Lifeway; from the innovation of Hachette’s new Jericho imprint to a sidewalk coffee break with the FaithWords team—we reconnected in a way that telephone and email just can’t deliver. We presented projects, talked about our authors, listened to what they are looking for and gossiped about the industry.
Later, we watched wild turkeys outside the window while we ate a delicious dinner at the home of our much-loved, now-retired colleague, Etta Wilson.
Much as we think we’d love to hunker down in our cozy little offices, nothing replaces those face-to-face connections.
What about you? Do you tend to cocoon yourself in your own world or do you make the effort to get out and connect face-to-face? If you could arrange a face-to-face with anyone involved in the writing world, past or present, who would it be? Where would you meet? What would you talk about? Pretend that money is no object. Forget time and space restrictions if you’d like-don’t worry about the fact that Jane Austen has been dead for a century or two if you’d like to arrange tea at Pemberley.
Note: I may be a little late in commenting today because—guess what?– I’m heading up to the California wine country town of Sonoma to have lunch and a face-to-face with Lonnie Hull Dupont of Revell, one of my favorite editors.