Welcome to The A Team blog.  The “A” stands for Author and Agent, not the crime-fighting foursome from ‘80’s TV – though we do feel that we possess some of their industriousness and quick thinking and could, quite conceivably, build a robot from scraps if we found ourselves trapped in a shed.

 

We wanted to start off by chatting a bit about how we got here. “Here” being writing a blog about All Unquiet Things – Anna’s debut novel and my first solo sale as an agent. For me, the quick answer is this: Browne & Miller Literary Associates arrived at a point where we were ready to start actively expanding our Young Adult list. And since I heart all things YA (High School Musical included, though I’m out for HSM2), I got to spearhead the endeavor.  But that’s only half of it. The reason that I’m here, writing this blog with Anna, is Neily. Neily is one-half of the narrative team in Anna’s debut, All Unquiet Things, and it’s because I couldn’t stop thinking about him that I knew I’d found a gem of a talented author in Anna and a stellar first book in AUT.

 

I have read countless interviews with editors talking about what makes them acquire one book and pass on another. And it goes without saying that we at Browne & Miller have also been asked to explain our rationale behind the projects we choose to take on.  In admitting my crush on Neily I hope I can shed some light on what I – and by extension Browne & Miller – look for in the authors and projects we represent. Basically, I respond to manuscripts I can’t stop thinking about.  Sometimes it’s a perfectly executed scene, sometimes it’s the wit of a heroine or the vulnerability of a hero and sometimes it’s just the author’s voice, their ability to turn a phrase just so, that occupies my mind on my bike rides home. Publishing is a business based on rejection so it’s imperative that I connect with the projects I’m shopping.  If I can’t stop thinking about it, I know I can get behind it and I know that there are editors out there who will feel the same. That excitement is, after all, why we all got into publishing in the first place.

 

I distinctly remember last spring waiting on a red light about a block away from home and realizing that I had spent the entire bike ride from work obsessing over Neily.  What would he do next? I wondered, how would he get back at the girl that broke his heart?  Weirder yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was someone I would have liked to have known in High School.  I arrived at home positive that Anna – and by extension Neily – would make a perfect addition to the Browne & Miller team.  Thankfully, she thought so too.  Long story short, Browne & Miller took Anna on as a client in early 2008 and I worked with her to further tighten her manuscript before submitting to six houses and ultimately selling AUT and Anna’s next book to Random House Delacorte in a preempt.  Since then Anna and I have celebrated the sale in New York and Chicago and she’s turned in a revised manuscript to her editor.  Still, I’m happy to say that my days of thinking about Neily are far from over and it’s with that in mind that we conceived of this blog.  Neily will be with me for a while because a lot happens between the time that an editor makes an offer on a manuscript and when readers get to pick it up in their local bookstore (All Unquiet Things is set for publication in January 2010). In dissecting the story of how Neily will make it to your bookstore so that you can fall for him too, I hope we’ll be able to provide some insight into what happens to a manuscript after the contracts are signed – how covers are chosen, edits agreed upon and what role the author and agent play in the marketing game. So welcome, and read on.

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