Not real shopping, since I've already blown through my book budget for the month (recommendation: Jen Lancaster's Bitter is the New Black and Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader). I'm going client shopping.
I do this about once a year, sometimes twice if the summer slowdown adds enough wiggle room to my schedule. Ninety percent of my clients find me through Google or other search engines, friends, coworkers, or members of their critique groups. The other ten percent come my way through the various online and offline writing and publishing groups to which I belong - fellow members whose writing seems like a good match for my services and background. And once in a blue moon I'll work with a client I've "met" through my Operation Rescue the Craigslist Writers (in which I skim through the writing gig listings and respond to authors looking for agents with a link to Preditors and Editors), although that isn't really the point.
But every now and then I go looking for a manuscript that is exactly what I feel like working on right now. Sometimes I'm in the mood to work on Chick Lit. Sometimes I'm in the mood for some crazy vampires. Sometimes I really want to read a good mystery or a psychological thriller. Sometimes I'm looking for something sweet, subtle, and thought-provoking. Sometimes I'm just waiting for something to jump out at me. So where do I go to "shop"? Publishers Marketplace Offerings.
I love reading the listings - both those coming from agents (it's fun to see who is selling what at any given moment) and those coming directly from the authors. It's like a clearinghouse for completed manuscripts and the creative minds behind the big ideas. It's like strolling through the aisles of Brookline Booksmith (my favorite bookstore), except the books (manuscripts) here are raw and ready to be transformed and refined and shaped into what their authors always hoped they could be - agent-landing manuscripts. I tend to get lost in these listings for hours (okay, once for an entire business day). Because I know it's there - that one (or those two) manuscripts that I really want to work on - those authors who I really want to work with and to help succeed.
It has been nearly a year and a half since my last trip through the Publisher's Marketplace Offerings. So if you don't hear from me for the rest of the day (and maybe tomorrow), you'll know where I am. And if you do hear from me, then I probably found you on Publisher's Marketplace, and I want to read your book.
UPDATE: Found two!