Day in the Life: Amy Einhorn, Publisher and Vice President of Amy Einhorn Books
From left: Publisher Amy Einhorn; actresses Octavia Spencer and Allison Janney
and "The Help" author Kathryn Stockett
It's been a meteoric rise for publisher Amy Einhorn: From humble beginnings as an editorial assistant who cleaned apartments on weekends for more income, she worked her way up through various editorial departments at some of New York's biggest publishers. Now, she helms the Amy Einhorn Books imprint at G.P. Putnam's Sons. Her shop consistently churns out bestsellers, from Kathryn Stockett's "The Help" and Sarah Blake's "The Postmistress" to Eleanor Brown's "The Weird Sisters." With publishing industry trade show BookExpo America (BEA) 2013 in town recently, Einhorn took us through the typically busy day--this one filled with authors, actresses and agents--of a top publisher.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
7:50 a.m.: I walk my youngest daughter to school. It’s a cool 85ish degrees in the shade already. But I love hot weather and it’s been a brutally cold spring, so I’m not complaining.
10 a.m.: Today I'm off to BookExpo America (BEA) 2013 at the Javits Center. BEA is publishing’s annual trade fair, and it often feels like a high school reunion as you’re constantly running into people from past publishing jobs. At the convention, the Penguin banners and booth are both huge--you can't miss them.
I walk the floor a bit and then have a few meetings with agents visiting from out of town, but I miss my meeting with the French publisher of Sarah Blake, author of "The Postmistress," because our booth is so crowded and we can’t find each other.
12:30 p.m.: Back at office, I try and catch up on a gazillion emails I’m behind on. What did we do before email? Oh that’s right: probably get a lot more done.
Part of my job as a publisher is to be involved in the look of a book, not just the words inside the cover. Today, I get to look at the revised jacket for "The Husband’s Secret" by Liane Moriarty. We just received a quote from author Dorothea Benton Frank, and after promising the production editor to name my next baby after him, he agreed to let me squeeze it on the jacket between a blurb from Emily Giffin and an early review in Kirkus that called Liane an "edgier Maeve Binchy" (and it was a starred review, to boot).
3:00 p.m.: Next, I turn to an edit of a novel I’ve acquired recently--"Five Days Left," by Julie Lawson Timmer. I think this is a bestseller in the making. Julie just sent in her revisions to my previous notes and they’re spot-on. I sit in my office crying while I’m reading it (this is a good thing).
5:30 p.m.: I leave the Penguin offices and head to the "People" magazine party. I take the subway uptown, then decide to walk the rest of the way as it’s cooled off a bit and I can always use the exercise. On way over, I run into Harvey Klinger, a literary agent with whom I have a book, "The Secret of Magic" by Deborah Johnson that we’re gearing up to publish next year. Publishing is a small business, and sometimes it feels like New York is a small town.
6:30 p.m.: At the "People" party, the first person I see is the actress Octavia Spencer, star of "The Help" and other movies. Octavia gives me a big hug--she looks gorgeous, and she’s so nice. She is a good friend of the author of "The Help," Kathryn Stockett, and was incredibly generous and helpful when we were initially publishing the book--she even went on tour with Kathryn and did readings with her.
(Funny side note: Before we published the book, when we were getting ready to do the audio edition of the book, I told the audio division that the author’s very good friend was an actress and Kathryn wanted her to read it. The audio folks rolled their eyes at me and said the actress would have to audition. So, Octavia Spencer shows up and auditions, and they call me the next day and say she is the best person they'd ever heard. A year later: They have an Oscar-winning actress as the narrator of "The Help." You’re welcome, audio division.)
Then, at the party, I see Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat Pray Love" and the upcoming "The Signature of All Things" that’s supposed to be terrific. I introduce myself and thank her, as she gave a wonderful quote for a book I recently bought, “The Untold” by Courtney Collins, that was recently published in Australia. Apparently, Elizabeth read the book when she came across it when she was over there. Her quote is an editor’s dream: "This extraordinary novel--propelled by the dark, rich talents of a truly brilliant writer--dazzles, staggers and amazes." Incredibly, she then takes me by the arm and says thank you for publishing the book: "I read it in two hours and devoured it," she says. How amazing is that?
7:30 p.m.: I see my boss, Ivan Held, leaving the party and ask if I can catch a ride with him downtown, back to the Penguin offices where we're having a party for librarians and book bloggers. We jump in a gypsy cab and once we’re at the office, he turns to me and announces he has no money to pay the driver, and would I do so? I tell him he reminds me of my husband on our first date (sadly, I'm not even kidding).
8 p.m. The Penguin party is terrific. I have two authors there: Edgar Award-nominated Lyndsay Faye, author of "The Gods of Gotham," and Suzanne Rindell, author of "The Other Typist." Both of them are ridiculously talented, way too pretty, and lovely people, so it’s hard not to hate them.
Elizabeth Gilbert is also at the Penguin party, but I leave her alone as I don’t want her to think I’m a stalker. But, she gives Lyndsay Faye a hug--Lyndsay and I decide Elizabeth Gilbert might be the most generous author ever and we’re forming our own fan club.
9:30 p.m. I’m starving, my feet hurt and tomorrow Eleanor Brown, author of "The Weird Sisters," is in town before leaving for Paris to do research for her next book. Tomorrow night, we’re going to a magic show at the Waldorf (strange, but true) so I need to go home and take off my lovely (but very high-heeled) shoes that not one person besides me has noticed. I’m very glad BEA is just once a year.