Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Publishing House Editors Share Inside Scoop

Let me call your attention to a long but informative and lively roundtable over at Poets & Writers, with four publishing house editors. A few of the take-aways:

P&W: What do you wish writers knew about you that they sometimes don't?
GARGAGLIANO (Scribner): I think most writers don't realize that every editor goes home and reads and edits for four hours—that they're not doing that in the office. That in the office they're advocating for all of the authors they already have….
P&W: What else?
GARGAGLIANO: I think it's important for writers to remember that we're not their enemy. We love books and we're looking for books that we love. CHINSKI(Farrar, Straus and Giroux): And ads are not love. GARGAGLIANO: And ads do not equal sales. BOUDREAUX (Ecco): If those two things appear in print—that we're working nights and weekends and ads don't sell books—we have all done a fine job here….
P&W :What have your authors taught you about how to do your job?

GARGAGLIANO: To be honest with them. I often have the impulse to protect my authors and treat them as if they are more fragile than they actually are. It's better if I can have an open conversation with them. If I start that early on, the better our relationship is going to be going forward, and the easier it will be to talk about tough things. That took me a while to
figure out.

BOUDREAUX: They teach you over and over and over—and this is so obvious—but they will always have a better solution to an editing problem than anything you could come up with. If you just raise the question, they will solve it. The universe of their book is more real to them than it could ever be to anyone else.

In addition to the above topics, they discuss a wide range of publishing issues, from how to tell an A+ agent from a B+ agent; the impact of electronic books; and many other areas.

Read the whole interview here. At the end of the attributed quotes is an "after the interview" section where the editors get to anonymously vent a little and also call out their current favorite agents and competitors. Definitely worth the time to read the entire piece.

1 comment:

Houston A.W. Knight said...


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Houston A.W. Knight (Hawk)