I t was going to be a road trip down the California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back again. I decided to make the most of the fact that my agent and editor both live on the coast. A few tweaks to the travel route, a few emails, a few jokes about Thelma and Louise, and we were on our way.
My travel companion, hereafter known as Wingman, graciously vanished into a café with her Kindle while I had lunch with Jill Marr. But first, Jill gave me a quick tour of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency office. There are bookcases everywhere, filled with copies of books by the authors the agency represents, every edition and in every language. In the boardroom there is an entire wall dedicated to Amy Tan’s books. Wow. The office feels more like a library with desks incidentally tucked here and there. Jill and I went for lunch and she provided feedback on the marketing plan I had written for my novel. She also gave me a rundown of how she works with publishers, which was really helpful because I’m such a control freak and want to know how the process works.
(I met Jill last year at the Surrey International Writer's Conference, but it's doubtful I came across as articulate or intelligent because mostly I burbled like a stunned fish when she said "I'll read your manuscript". You really want to amend first impressions like that)
Evening - dinner with my freelance editor, Jennifer Pooley and Wingman. Jen was bubbly, enthusiastic, and full of encouragement. I feel so fortunate to have the benefit of her advice as well as Jill’s. In the end, as she emphasized, revisions to the novel are my decision. But it sure helps to be able to triangulate.
Here are a few things to share, compiled from lunch and dinner:
It isn’t always possible to meet up with the people who are part of your journey to getting published, so I'm lucky I was able to adjust travel plans to meet Jill and Jennifer. In any business relationship, a live meeting goes a long way towards building understanding.
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