David, Michael and I went as a free-range gang (although not corn-fed, as Ed Wilson joked) and essentially had back-to-back meetings for the three days; I think we had five official breaks in the whole time! It was hard and my feet hurt and I seriously hate people; the decision to put a bunch of people who have meetings in with a bunch of people who are Only Looking and then make the walkways narrow was not a great one, although not something that could really be avoided.
However, it was also really exciting; there were loads of good stalls and people, and apparently some really interesting events (although I missed them all!) It was so good to meet people that I’d either heard of or only briefly corresponded with, and also meet so many new faces. There are so many lovely agents, all of whom were really interested in what we do, and all of whom want to send us books! Yes, I know that’s their job, but still. They were all very enthusiastic.
The downside is that there were so many interesting-sounding manuscripts that we said “Ooh! Send it over!” to that I am probably going to be spending the next two months reading…
Things I learned:
Genre matters. It might be the best sci-fi book ever but if I’ve got enough sci-fi on my list at the moment, it’s not likely to make it to my pile…
Your agent uses your elevator pitch too!
It’s very interesting to see how many people dismiss the Junior Editor, and how many took the time to talk to me; it definitely made a difference.
Being a speed-reader is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to manuscript piles!
I have the best colleagues, who are all ridiculously supportive. It’s wonderful.
I have spent this weekend recovering (aka. sitting on the sofa playing Civ in between formatting jobs – the work never stops around here…) and now have a busy week that possibly involves reading manuscripts. I have the best job!
Otter hadn’t read Soul Music, likes other Pratchett books, and is into music enough that I reckoned they’d get most of the jokes. I wanted to practise reading out loud; I occasionally get asked to do it as an author, and frankly it’s something I do need to spend more time doing. Otter agreed on their part, too, and therefore, a plan was born: we were going to read Soul Music out loud.
(As an aside: one of the reasons I adore Soul Music (and Pratchett generally) is all those little in-jokes; you read a scene or a line and it’s pretty funny, but then you see something classic or read something and suddenly OH WOW THAT’S WHAT HE’S RIFFING OFF! Which I love. However, it doesn’t necessarily help with not getting the giggles when reading.
Death doesn’t help that either, or the Death of Rats.
Anyhow! It was something in the nature of an experiment, as I hated being read to as a child (being able to see the page when you’re a fast reader is a recipe for frustration) and don’t really get on with audiobooks. Otter felt they were thoroughly out of practice reading as well… but we gave it a go.
Conclusion: we’re ok at Welsh, and sort-of-Jamaican (which is what we settled on for Lias) but couldn’t work out a voice for Glod. Otter does a mean Death – definitely better than me – but I do a better Susan. And we both had to keep stopping to giggle at the jokes.
Secondary conclusion: “How the fuck can you remember lines of the book?!” (An odd Kate skill: I memorise a lot of them as I read, and it’s partly why I get faster when I’ve read a book more than twice – I’m not even really reading, just skimming something I already know. Otter gave me a side-eye for that.)
Overall – a lot of fun! We’re going to keep going, I think – if nothing else it definitely is giving me practise in reading out loud, even if I do get the giggles more often than I want… (how do audiobook narrators not laugh at the funny bits?!)
I mean, on paper it sounds excellent. I’m an editor for an indie and a genre press, both with some nice awards under their belts; I’m a freelance formatter and a published fantasy writer; and I’ve bounced around the writing world enough to hopefully have some interesting insights about the whole thing – plus if Rachel is anything to go by, the group’s going to be super interesting and chatty, so that’s going to be great.
But it involves ME talking about ME and trying to make myself sound INTERESTING and ARGH.
(I did have one friend give me a funny look when he found out I was doing it. I had to assure him that I can actually speak pretty well in public, thankyouverymuch, even if I tend to be more reserved in private. Humph.)