What we saw and what we did

December 23, 2009

So here it is. The last post before Christmas, and the last of 2009. And here’s a photo taken just before the great Greenhouse UK lunch, which rounded off the year in London. (Bookended by Sarah and Julia, see if you can spot the authors in the middle.)
With Julia nestled in her remote Undisclosed European Hideaway for the holidays, and me about to close the Greenhouse door until New Year, it’s time to think about what we did, where we are, and where we’re going.

With glass of wine in hand, carol singers outside rousingly telling of figgy puddings, and puffing on a meditative cigar (OK, I’m joking about the cigar), here’s the story of Greenhouse this year:

Around 8000 queries read (give or take a thousand or two)

Many deals done, including two major auctions and ascending for a while to Number 3 for middle-grade sales in the USA (actually we’d have been Number 1 except our ‘cumulative sales’ aren’t that high, since we’re still very young).

Our first four authors actually published – Sarwat Chadda, Harriet Goodwin, Valerie Patterson and now Alexandra Diaz who officially published on December 22.

Travels (and talking about writing) – to Florida, Bologna, Boston, Paris, Los Angeles, Vermont, San Francisco, New York – and London. And Julia travelling the length and breadth of the British Isles speaking at writers’ events.

The beginnings of foreign deals – Denmark, Russia, Hungary among them.

Three of our clients co-represented for film, by Monteiro Rose, Intellectual Property Group and ICM. Fingers crossed for our first film deal in 2010.

Our first full year of business completed. No longer a newcomer, but an established part of the US and UK children’s books scene. And poised to apply early in 2010 to join AAR (Association of Authors’ Representatives) in the US, which requires a minimum of two years in business.

The growth of the Greenhouse family, both human and animal. New Yorker Allison Heiny joined Rights People, our foreign-rights sister company, early in 2009. Lucy and The Wee Man became Resident Hounds in April and August. And Chippy, a Californian sea lion shot in the head by some idiot’s bullet, was adopted in September.

Phase 2 of the Greenhouse website came into being: an enhanced Author section, books database, Twitter link, and dedicated YouTube channel, on which we can actually show you our authors and books in action.

Not only surviving a grim recession, but thriving through it. Believing that keeping our high standards, making careful decisions, attacking this literary life with passion, belief and a shed-load of hard work, will get us through.

And now, our very first Greenhouse baby has arrived to bless this Christmas. Lindsey Leavitt’s new daughter, happy and healthy, arrived yesterday in our very own nativity.

As I write, there is unprecedented London snow outside my window. The last time I remember snow in Christmas week was the 1960s, and while Brits will tell you it’s a disaster, the world has fallen apart, there is something that appeals to the British spirit about the muddle and mayhem two inches of snow causes in the UK. We hark back to the Blitz, to Dunkirk, to every other victory and defeat marked by flinty-eyed resolution, a gritty prediction of disaster gratifyingly proved correct (just look at English soccer’s track record in penalty shootouts). We know what we’re doing when we’re standing in line waiting for the train that may never come. This is one of the things we’re very good at!

Somehow we will arrive at Christmas Day, and as we gather around our groaning and crowded table of eleven, I’ll raise a glass not only to the Greenhouse, but all the friends and partners Julia and I have encountered this year – whether writers, editors, publishers, agents, scouts, movie people, and all the myriad others who make this such a great business to be in.

Happy Christmas and the best of new years to everyone.

With love from

Sarah and all at the Greenhouse x

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