Last night my agent invited me out to the Bookspan party at the Pierre Hotel. He said it was the "literary event of the season" and that I should be there. For what reason, I'm not sure. I'm not allowed to tell anyone who I am and I had to pretend I worked at his agency. Of course, I've got the pretending-to-be-someone-I'm-not thing down pat. What really caught my attention, though, was the open bar. Well that, the multiple sushi bars, the dessert stations and the room full of 800+ publishing people. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the NYC publishing industry knows that it's about 90% women. This percentage was alive and kickin' last night. I don't mind being a minority.
We sat down with a few of his agent/publishing friends and he gave me a quick disclaimer: you're working with me exclusively. While I'm sure these guys wouldn't exactly be knocking down my door, I assured him I wasn't a cheater. He introduced me as one of his clients and immediately the guy sitting next to me told me he could triple my advance (I don't have one). When asked what kind of writing I do, I let my agent take the lead. His line is pretty good: "Literary/Mainstream fiction, a fish out of water story." Suddenly, one of the publishers chimes in to announce that I'm writing a young adult book for him. "We're doing lunch this week. I have faith in you. You're a good writer."
I'm sorry, have we met? The guy has no idea who I am and vice versa. It would have been flattering and enticing otherwise.
Ironically, the other guy my agent brought along was the owner of a Jewish magazine called Commentary. When we were introduced, titles exchanged, my agent says to the Commentary guy, "I hear there's a Catholic guy working at one of the local Jewish mags." The guy replies, "Yes, so I've heard." A lovely answer, indeed.
Our table was directly behind the bar. Vinny, the bartender, was at our beck and call. For some reason, the publishing guy declares that he's Jewish so he didn't have a toothfairy. Yes, I know--completely off the subject.
"What - Jewish people don't get a toothfairy? I don't get it."
Commentary guy says that they do.
Sleazy pubisher guy says, "Yes, you're as Jewish as they get. Half Abraham, all Jew."
This is where I get confused and leave. Well, actually, I leave because Vinny stopped serving.