Lucky me! I had a lovely breakfast (biscuits and gravy again!) with Chuck Adams, legendary editor who is now with Algonquin, and he gave me some advice about my Chicago novel. I very much appreciated his honesty and his quick take on how to think about the storyline. Then he offhandedly made one remark that was so astute and so absolutely BRILLIANTLY insightful and such an amazing suggestion that it almost took my breath away. It was one of those suggestions that you know is exactly right the second you hear it--not that it's easy to implement, unfortunately!
Even luckier, I then saw him in action in a discussion about the publishing biz, in which he offered a great deal of thoughtful advice, reminding us how story and voice are really what we need to be thinking about as writers: "I see a lot of good writing and see fewer really good stories."
It was a little daunting to hear that he gets 15-20 submissions a week from agents...and Algonquin publishes 20 books a year. Yikes. On the other hand, his obvious passion for editing and working with writers was a delight, and I can't imagine any author not feeling incredibly pleased to see their book land at Algonquin.
You can read more about Chuck Adams in this interview in Poets & Writers.
And he recommended that we read this interview with the also-legendary editor Robert Gottlieb in The Paris Review.