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.