Like all single guys on the subway, men in the publishing industry like to devise, or at least imagine they've devised, strategies for attracting cute women, and for maybe even making these lady strangers do the hard, traditionally-male work of striking up a conversation. Unlike other men, publishing types have access to advance galleys of hot books, and they hope this will give them an edge with New York's many literary babes. The Observer's bookish young Leon Neyfakh made an ernest — eager, even — attempt to prove this hypothesis true, in a story with the hopefully-worded subhead, "Carrying Bolano's 2666 Is Like Driving an Open-Top Porsche." And he found plenty of literary men to agree with that thesis. But the women? Different story.
Novelist (and dude) Nick Antosca, 25, saw a girl reading a galley of a forthcoming book by Chuck Palahniuk, and "I was like, ‘Oh, shit, I want to get that!' I wondered whether she was a reviewer or if she worked at the publishing house."
Another man, former literary editor Tom Meaney, claims carrying a galley three months before publication is hotter than "the right jeans or the right purse or whatever... it's just an incredible selective object."
But the women, not so m... oh wait, here's one who is totally into galleys! "Reading galleys on the subway is the closest the publishing industry comes to having a standardized mating call" said Karan Mahajan! Score! But the spelling is a little funny there... Wikipedia... ya, that's actually a guy.
Real women are polite, but unimpressed. Liz Maples, an assistant editor at a Farra, Straus & Giroux imprint, told the Observer she actively hides, on the subway, any reading material that gives away her status as a publishing insider, because she doesn't like being approached by strangers.
And then there's editorial assistant Ali Heifetz, at Norton:
"If and when [I saw] a cute dude reading a galley on the train," she said, "he would be more attractive to me than same dude not reading a galley.
But less attractive than the same dude carrying a guitar case."
D'oh. But you know what? When the right girl comes along, she'll totally be impressed with your advance gallery. So keep carrying them around, publishing types, and holding them visibly at important mixers, just in case. But also try initiating conversations yourself, on even the barest of pretenses. Like, say, of writing a trend piece on literary hookups!