Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BEA Day 2-the moments you live for

Today was the BEA day we'd all been looking forward to. When I say "we" I mean everyone at FinePrint, and everyone at Nancy Coffey Literary, and everyone in the Joanna Stampfel-Volpe fan club.

Today was the YA Editors Buzz panel and we'd known for some time that the very smart editors over at Little,Brown had chosen Kody Keplinger's debut novel The DUFF as the book they wanted to buzz.

Remember Kody Keplinger?


As is our strategy for panels we expect to be SRO we went early and staked out seats. Kick Ass and Take Names Agent Suzie Townsend, I'd Be Lost Without Her godsend Meredith, our new intern Zach and I were in the sixth row. Lurking behind us were (the Ever Slithery) Barbara Poelle and Holly Root accompanied by Sophie Littlefield. The row ahead of us had very very VIP personages. In other words, we were fan club not to be denied.

The panel proceeded apace. Many fine books were mentioned. Suzie and Meredith made periodic dashes to the back of the room to secure galleys.

Then, the moment arrived. Cindy Eagan, Editorial Director of Little, Brown's Poppy imprint rose to talk about The Duff.

She gave an eloquent and enticing presentation.

At the close of her talk she said "When JD Salinger died, I, like many of you I'm sure, re-read The Catcher in the Rye. I was struck again by how that wry, angry voice seemed to be that of an entire generation.

"When I read The Duff, I had that same reaction: an angry yet so funny voice that seems to speak for an entire generation."

Dear Reader, I wept.

For Kody, yes. To have your debut novel compared to Catcher in the Rye is beyond words.

But honestly, my tears were for Joanna Stampfel Volpe, Kody's amazing and talented agent.

Joanna used to be my intern, and I remember her early days well. She was funny, and smart, and I knew instantly she was someone I wanted to work with.

She demonstrated a keen eye for good books (Gary Corby has her to thank for fishing him out of the queries) immediately.

Soon she was a valued member of our FinePrint team. When she moved up and on to be an agent in her own right at Nancy Coffey Literary, we teased her about abandoning us (although she remained here in Suite 500) but we cheered her advancing career.

She was soon signing clients and making deals. Auctions. Big ass deals. And all the while, her delightful charm never wavered. Not through the tough moments and keen disappointments that are the woof and warp of daily literary life, particularly in a year when it seemed publishing was going to the dogs.

Joanna enlivens our suite in a way that is irreplaceable.

So, when Cindy Eagan said what she did about Kody's book, I wept. My heart was bursting with joy, and pride, and delight.

I can count on one fin the number of times I've wept at BEA: one.



These are the moments you live for. The moments when you realize that a book can arrive in the slush ; be spotted by a talented agent; bought by a prescient editor; supported by an enthusiastic and eloquent publisher; and then be in the hands of readers who may very well find The Duff is a book that changed their lives.

This is the best job in the world.
I'm surrounded by colleagues of extraordinary talent and grace.

Today I remembered why I love my job.

44 comments:

Tracy said...

That's awesome!

Terri said...

Passes a tissue to the sharky one. Congrats to the entire agency for this achievement. I got to meet Joanna very briefly at the 2009 Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, Indiana and was as charmed as the rest of the attendees. Now, do I see a DUFF arc contest in the future??? (hint, hint . . .)

Mignon said...

And today I remembered why I read blogs.

Thanks for sharing the joy.

Gary Corby said...

Gary Corby is indeed forever grateful to the amazing Joanna, who on top of of her other talents is an expert on ancient Greek history. I lucked out when I queried Janet in so many ways.

Kody is very lucky too, and so, from the sounds of it, is Jo!

Congratulations Kody!

Shari said...

Wow, that's fantastic! Those moments that totally remind us why we do what we do... well, those are precious. So glad you had such an amazing day. :)

Sue Repko said...

This post is a work of art.

Thanks for the inside look at BEA the past couple days!

Molly O'Neill said...

Janet, this heartfelt post was really special. And I'm right there with you as a lifetime member of the JSV Fan Club.

We are, all of us in this business, extraordinarily lucky to be surrounded by colleagues who simultaneously make us excited, proud, and determined to do our own jobs that much better!

Lisa Desrochers said...

The DUFF is truly amazing, and so is Kody! She totally deserves all the buzz!

KDJames said...

And I just remembered why I love to write. As if I could ever forget.

Congratulations to Ms. Keplinger and all who saw her brilliance shining through the slush.

Kirsten Hubbard said...

oh, I love this. so happy for you, Jo, & my girl Kody. it's been sheer joy to watch these early stages of her swift and stellar journey, which I am certain will only continue into the cosmos. congrats all around.

Melissa Guernsey said...

Wow...what a wonderful moment in time for all of you.

#1Nana said...

I just wrote a piece in my blog and reflected on what I missed about working since I retired. Damm, you did a much better job of expressing the joy of a job well done. That's exactly what I miss. I learn something everytime I read your posts. Thank you.

Teresa Duty said...

Wow, your powerful words remind me why it is important to write, not just well- with passion! I will never forget as I plug away on my keyboard that it was Janet Reid who touch my enter creation.

MJRose said...

WHat a lovely post Janet. You are such a class act.

Nicola Marsh said...

Great post, Janet, thanks.

And fab for Jo and Kody!

suzie townsend said...

Yay Kody! Yay Joanna! Yay publishing :)

This week, like many weeks before it, have been filled with little moments where I suddenly felt giddy over the fact that this - reading, editing, gushing about books, listening to authors on panels, getting swag - is my job.

I love this job, but even more, I love this life.

Buffy Andrews said...

And today I remember why I keep pursuing my dream. Thanks for giving us all hope and a huge congrats to Jo and Kody for finding one another.

Kody Keplinger said...

Awww, Janet this post is amazing. It was moments like yesterday that remind me how lucky I am to have such a great team. I have Jo, who we all know is wonderful and amazing, and I have my editor, who is so talented and smart. I'm so thankful. And this post is so beautiful!

Loretta Nyhan said...

You had my eyes watering! Beautiful post. I'm so happy for Kody and Jo.

Lisa and Laura said...

OK, now you've made ME cry. What an inspiration these two ladies are! I'm proud to say that I stalk...er...know them.

Joyce said...

Beautiful post, Janet!

Your love for your work comes through in everything you do, even when you think you're being a tough cookie.

And we all love you!

Margaret Yang said...

:::sigh::: I just love a happy ending!

kevinluttery said...

I remember reading the first chapter of The Duff at AbsoluteWrite. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the book.

Sherri Browning Erwin said...

So happy for Kody! That's a beautiful moment, Janet. Glad Joanna found her.

dawn-metcalf said...

*standing ovation for all*

Dawn

Kari Lynn Dell said...

I still have the editorial letter Joanna wrote to me when she was Janet's intern. Looks like I'd better hang onto that puppy. Could be worth a mint some day.

shertz said...

I wept while reading this post. Thanks for the reminder, to all us lowly unpublished authors, of why we do this in the first place.

Susan Adrian said...

I adore this post!

Thanks, Janet. And I'm so, so happy for Jo and Kody!

pegasus358 said...

This was a fabulous post, Janet! I was sitting in the crowd for that panel, and the energy in the room was amazing! I can't wait to read THE DUFF!

-Beth M.

Pamala Knight said...

So sad for the shark in having the DUFF nicked by Joanna. But, having met Joanna at Spring Fling this year, it couldn't have happened to a nice, more intelligent person. She and Kody are both lucky to have each other and you, dear Janet, as their cheerleader.

Congrats and so glad that you're having a blast at BEA.

Hardygirl said...

Love this!!!

sf

Shelley Watters said...

Inspiring! To make the Shark weep is truly impressive. The Duff is on my TBR (To Be Read)list.

Marsha Sigman said...

I actually teared up myself reading this. I can only imagine how great Joanna and Kody feel right now! Congrats to them and to you for spotting the talent that would go on to spot the talent and so on...

Eileen Loveman said...

Amazing! Sorry I missed BEA this year - met you last year, I pitched and was told to talk to someone else, who turned me down. But what a thrilling day, you make me want to attend the next one! See you in 2011!

Nick Saw said...

I envy that author.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Joanna is a class act.

She sent me the kind of rejection that keeps a writer going. I contacted her when I signed with my agent, wanting to share the good news. She made the point to congratulate when she read of my sale at PM.

A talent with a human touch. Congrats to you, Joanna!

AmyShojai said...

This post made my day!

rissawrites said...

Loved this post.

Congratulations to Kody and Joanna!

wry wryter said...

Only once have I cried reading a writing blog.
Tonight when my head hits the pillow I will dream the dream...writers, agents, publishers and especially readers,dream; to be taken where imagination breeds success.
Thank you...for sharing.

Mindi Scott said...

I read on Twitter that you cried during that panel. And now you've confirmed it so eloquently.

Congrats to Kody and her agent.

Livia said...

In academia, the best advisers are the ones who support their students even after the PhD -- the ones that keep looking out for their students, continue plugging them, and just generally continue being a mentor after the official advising ends. You remind me of that kind of professor, with the whole hearted way in which you support your proteges.

It's nice to hear such good things about next generation of publishing. I had the pleasure of meeting Joanna at Muse and the Marketplace and she was awesome. Kody Keplinger seems like a talented young lady as well.

Joanna said...

::wipes eyes::

Thank you.

For everything.

storyqueen said...

I had heard about the amazing Jo on your blog and others. It really DOES make a difference when one agent sings the praises of another....it's like the best recommendation in the world.

Yay Jo! Yay Kody!

And Yay Janet, for being such a support of new talent both in the literary and agenting world!

shelley

Tamara said...

Wow. I'm so inspired by this. Books, stories, voice, life. If we didn't love it, we wouldn't be here. Thanks for the post!