Today we present another round of your questions for an editor–this week, answered by Dutton associate editor Jessica Renheim. Jessica has worked with New York Times bestselling authors like Brad Taylor, Dan Savage, Richelle Mead, and Kelley Armstrong. Read on for her advice to members of the Book Country community.
1. What should a person look for in an editor? (Specifically for ones who will be working closely with you.) Also, should you have your manuscript completely finished before looking into editorial services? – Amber Wolfe
If you’re an aspiring writer who’s interested in traditional book publishing, then the first step is finding a literary agent who can represent your work and connect you with an editor and publisher. There are great sources online like Publishers Marketplace and the Literary Marketplace that can help you research agents and determine individuals who are the right fit for your manuscript; you don’t want to blindly query agents (or editors) who only work on nonfiction if you’ve written a psychological thriller, for example. Find an agent who specializes in the genre you’ve written, who feels passionate about your work, and who can help you find an editor who feels the same way. In terms of manuscript length, literary agents usually have their preferences listed on their websites for how to submit queries and material to them. Continue reading →
Welcome to Part III of Book Country’s Ask an Editor blog series. Alexandra Cardia, Assistant Editor at Riverhead Books, talks about the most rewarding thing about being an editor and deciding whether to work with a particular manuscript. Read Part I and Part II of Ask an Editor.
1. Generally how far do you read into a submitted book before deciding it’s trash or good enough to work with? – BoJo Johnson
It really depends on the project. Nonfiction projects are generally submitted as a proposal, and I read proposals front to back; you need to, I think, to get a full picture of the work. For fiction, how far I read into a work is generally dependent on two things: First, if I connect to the writing. If I don’t, I’ll know that pretty quickly and know that the work is probably a pass for me. Second, if I like the writing, I’ll read for story. This can take anywhere from a couple dozen pages to the entire manuscript. Sometimes I’ll read an entire manuscript and only then know that it’s not the right fit for me. So it really does depend on the work! Continue reading →
Welcome to Part II of Book Country’s Ask an Editor series! Melissa Danaczko is an Editor at Doubleday, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Today, she talks about how to improve dialogue in writing, how marketability plays a role in selecting books for publication, and how editors deal with personal bias. Read Part I of Ask an Editor.
Thank you so much for submitting questions for Book Country’s Ask an Editor blog series! Brian S. Geffen, Assistant Editor at Philomel Books, discusses what a typical day is like for him, and whether the editing process differs between new writers and seasoned writers.
The different tasks really vary week-to-week for an editor—though the answer is a bit cliché, it’s true. The work may consist of reading manuscript submissions from agents, editing contracted manuscripts (both line editing and conceptual editing), writing copy of all sorts (jacket copy; title information sheets that provide background on upcoming titles for the Marketing, Publicity, and Sales teams; catalog copy to introduce new books to booksellers), working with designers on interior and jacket design concepts, negotiating contract terms with agents and foreign publishers, and keeping informed about the general world of children’s publishing beyond one’s own publishing house. It’s easy to get engrossed in one’s own work, but it’s very necessary to be on the pulse and know what else is out there in the wider publishing world. I’m also the assistant to the Publisher of Philomel so I help out with some of the administrative tasks of the imprint as well. The varied workload really allows me to exercise different forms of creative thinking, and I find it very enjoyable and fulfilling. Continue reading →
Thank you to all those who submitted questions for our Ask an Agent blog series! Your questions touched on a lot of topics including how to query agents and how agents actually go about choosing manuscripts. Thanks to the literary agents who helped make Ask an Agent possible! You can find links to their blog posts below.
This August, we are launching our Ask an Editor blog series! As you know, editors decide which manuscripts they would like to publish. Editors are involved in virtually every step of the publishing process, from the actual editing to marketing and promotion. Continue reading →