On Thursday June 16, a panel of accomplished API professionals in the publishing industry spoke before roughly one hundred observers at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. The panelists, who included William Morris Endeavor agent Kirby Kim, HarperCollins editor Wendy Lee, “The Believer” editor Ed Park, UpSet Press editor Zhora Saed, and NYT bestselling author Monique Troung, offered their insights on and experiences within the publishing world. AAJA and AAWW sponsored the event.
Each of the panelists’ differing roles gave the audience an inside look on what authors, agents, and publishers must each consider throughout the process of getting a writer’s material into print. Explained Kim, “Sometimes our work starts at the conception stage- what are you thinking about writing?” With regard to his role as an agent, he said, “We try to make sure the publisher does everything they promised, and we tell the author when they are being reasonable.”
Another topic that was repeatedly raised was the importance of educational credentials. Wendy Lee, though now an editor, has also published writing of her own. “Getting an MFA from NYU really helped with discipline,” though she added, “it takes a lot more than that to get published…for some people it’s really helpful, for others it’s not a guarantee.”
While there were many points of agreement among the panelists in their advice to aspiring authors- each of them stressed the importance of passion for writing and persistence- there were also issues on which the panel did not speak with one voice. While some panelists suggested self-publishing (posting one’s work on blogs, for instance) as a useful means of gaining exposure, others were lukewarm about the idea. “I don’t believe that you should ever give away your writing for free,” said author Troung. “Your writing has value.”
The panel’s diverse views, however, did less to undermine each other’s credibility than they did to collectively illustrate the multifaceted nature of book publishing.
The AAWW routinely offers events for present and future authors. For more information, visit www.aaww.org.
WHEN: JUNE 16th, Thursday 7-9pm<
WHERE: Asian American Writers Workshop
ADDRESS: 110-112 West 27th Street, 6th Floor (Between 6th and 7th Avenues)
WHAT: Hear from panelist of prominent writers, esteemed editors and ace agents.
Kirby Kim, William Morris Endeavor agent
Wendy Lee, author of Happy Family and editor at HarperCollins
Ed Park, author of Personal Days and editor of The Believer
Zohra Saed, editor at UpSet Press
Monique Truong, author of The Book of Salt and Bitter in the Mouth
COST: $5 suggested donation, free to members of AAJA and AAWW.
Jointly presented by the New York chapter of the Asian American Journalists’ Association and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.
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