Once when I was at a writer’s conference, on an agent’s panel, a participant asked how we chose which editors to send our projects to. My answer seemed cheeky: lunch. But it’s the accumulation of hundreds of lunch dates over many years when you sit down with editors and find out who they are, what they like, what makes them tick. Pairing a project with an editor is a lot like fixing up two people on a blind date. Sometimes you put them together for superficial reasons: she’s from Maine! He’s from Maine! She’s an athlete! He used to coach! She’s a foodie! He’s a gourmand! Sometimes it’s more nuanced. You know an editor loves a certain literary style or author, and you feel your client’s work has those qualities. Sometimes, the subject matter links up with an editor’s taste. But how you know all this, for the most part, is lunch.
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