BinderCast Bonus: Emily Gould on Publishing and Blurbs

When we spoke to Emily Gould about writing on the internet, she also opened up a bit about her experience in publishing. That conversation didn’t make it into The BinderCast, but we’re releasing a bit of it here on our blog. Keep reading for insight on how working in publishing effects your experience as a newly published author – and how to get Jonathan Franzen to blurb your book.

LEIGH: From working in publishing, you have this background knowledge of how the whole process works.

EMILY: Yes! I thought that would be an asset. I thought that would help me in some way. I don’ think it does at all. I think it just makes you aware of what’s happening when things are going poorly. In ways that maybe you would be able to trick yourself into thinking things aren’t going as poorly if you hadn’t worked in publishing. But I know what an announced first print run means, I know the exact amount of time that your publicist taking to email you back means.

LEIGH: Right, so to someone on the outside it seems so cynical, but to you, you’re like, I know the language they speak, I know what that all means.

EMILY: And it does make it a little easier to not take things personally, that’s just how it works. Like, I’m not the most important person who anyone at FSG has to interact with on a given day. And I get that, that’s fine.

I haven’t actually – I haven’t actually gotten the gumption to ask – cause I want to ask if Jonathan Franzen would be on my podcast? You know, just to ask. He won’t, but I want to ask. And I haven’t figured out how to get in touch with Jeff Seroy at FSG and be like, “Hey Jeff, remember me? My book came out from FSG. I have a favor to ask you –”

LEIGH: Well how did you get Jonathan Franzen to blurb your essay collection?

EMILY: I have no idea how that happened. I really don’t. My editor sent it to him and he blurbed it. That was how that happened.

LEIGH: I don’t think he blurbs a lot.

EMILY: He, um – No, that’s not true. He blurbs some. He blurbs more than – he’s not Gary Shteyngart, but somewhere between John Green and Gary Shteyngart.

LEIGH: I love that comparison.

EMILY: Well, John Green famously doesn’t blurb. I think because there are so few male young adult authors that he would just get asked to blurb every book that has either a male protagonist or a male writer. Which has – that would suck, I guess.

I’m sorry we’re talking about blurbs. Let’s not –

LEIGH: We’ll move on to the internet.

EMILY: There’s no way not to be incredibly offensive, and I don’t know if people care about them at all. I think it’s this weird currency that you can only spend in this tiny realm where nothing very valuable is ever for sale.

LEIGH: That was deep.

EMILY: Yeah, oops.

Hear more from Emily in our first BinderCast episode, available on iTunes or wherever else you get your podcasts. And if you like what you hear, please rate and review us (and don’t forget to subscribe for more awesome episodes!).

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