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In Pursuit of Magic: A NYC Agent and Publisher Trip Report

Writing is a solitary endeavor — at least in the beginning. You and your manuscript live in a well-protected bubble. As you summon the courage and steel your nerves, more and more people — critique partners, beta readers, contest judges, agents — enter the picture. Rather than bursting my bubble, I prefer to think of each of these groups helping me to grow. Before last week, I would have said the road to publication looked something like this:

Concentric Circles

But that’s not quite right.

Last week I had the thrill of meeting my agent and publisher in person. E-mail, phone, tweets, they all help you get to know a person. But none of it replaces an old-school, face-to-face meeting.

As I walked through the door of the iconic Flatiron Building, home to my publisher, Macmillan, in New York City, I expected to be nervous.

Flatiron Building at Fifth Avenue and East 23rd Street in NYC.

Flatiron Building at Fifth Avenue and East 23rd Street in NYC.

And when I spied the name of my imprint on the lobby directory, I was. A little. Okay, more than a little.

Feiwel and Friends in the Flatiron Building in NYC.

Feiwel and Friends in the Flatiron Building in NYC.

The ornate, gold-walled interior of the elevator couldn’t help but remind me that my little genie book was now a part of a huge publisher with a long history. I was humbled and honored. But when those doors opened and I saw the warm smile on the face of my editor, Liz Szabla, my nerves vanished.

Sitting in her office, surrounded by galleys, talking about my book, Becoming Jinn, and realizing that one day it would be stacked on the table beside me, I didn’t feel nervous. I felt excited. I felt at home.

Liz, Publisher Jean Feiwel, and the other members of the Feiwel and Friends team couldn’t have been more welcoming, complimentary, or enthusiastic. And as we talked about my book, its sequel, ideas for bonus content including short stories, discussion guides, author Q&As, and more, I was floored by the amount of support I was going to receive in getting my book in the hands of readers, which is the place it was always meant to be.

Two short NYC blocks and a day later, I opened the door to The Friedrich Agency.

The Friedrich Agency in NYC.

The immediate hug from my agent, Lucy, let me know I didn’t have just one home in New York, I had two. Lucy and her assistant Nichole and Molly Friedrich’s assistant, also named Molly, filled my belly with specially sought gluten-free treats, confirming what I already knew: they were willing to go out of their way to help and support me in whatever way I needed. On this book, on my sequel, on whatever lurks beyond, they are and will be an integral part of my career.

Not that I needed anything to cap off this amazing trip to NYC, but upon leaving my agent’s office, I stepped over this perfectly worded piece of street art on the sidewalk.

Street art printed on the sidewalk, a block from my agent's office.

My writing world is no longer solitary, a fact for which I am grateful. And the road to publishing looks less like the concentric circles above and much more like this:

Circles

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Empire State Building, as seen from the front of the Flatiron Building.

The Empire State Building, as seen from the front of the Flatiron Building.



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