For every aspiring novelist there's a brass ring we think about. Sure we want our books on the shelves. We envision our names and titles on the bestseller lists. We think about interviews. But the strange part is that almost every writer dreams of the author lunch. In publishing, most deals take place because of lunches. Writers and editors get together to create relationships and talk about upcoming projects. Authors who have reached the shiny package of a publishing contract know that at some point they will be in New York City, in a restaurant, with their editor and agent, maybe their publicist, and they will sit there knowing that their dream has come true.
At this first meeting, there's no worry yet of outcome and how the book will do once it's published. It's a moment of pure celebration.
My first lunch came at Christmas time in 2011. I was in town visiting a friend and had let me new editor, Lauren McKenna from Gallery Books know that I was in town. She immediately invited my agent and I to lunch.
The day before I walked around the city with my mother and friend. As we walked past Simon & Schuster my friend stopped me and made me look at the sign on the building. Here I was, this was my publisher. Better than any other present under the tree that year, was that moment of standing there knowing what I thought was impossible was now coming true.
The next day, I sat in the restaurant waiting (of course I was about ten minutes early just because I was excited and a little afraid of getting lost and being late). Lauren came in and immediately wrapped me in a hug. Her contagious energy had me smiling and excited as we sat.
As my agent joined us I felt more like was at a table with a group of girlfriends than a business lunch. We shared dishes, drank wine, indulged in dessert and talked about life, men, pregnancy, and whatever else came to mind. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by these two powerful, beautiful business women, I felt part of something special. Because the book business is special. Unlike anything else, this business isn't about a rockstar lifestyle or burying the competition. The book business, though tough and competitive, is about readers curling up with a book to learn, to get taken away, to feel and experience their own emotions through characters.
Over the last year as my book has made it's way to publication, I've had many lunches with my incredible team from Gallery and with my agent. It's become a part of my life, my career, and it's always a pure joy. My favorite though will always be that first one with Lauren and Yfat Reiss Gendell, but then again the one where my editor handed me my cover was pretty spectacular as well.