Today I have the pleasure in welcoming Donna Condon, Editor for Piatkus, a Little Brown imprint, who gives us a glimpse into the life on an Editor and what the job entails, and talks about some of the titles we can expect to see from Piatkus this year.
There’s also an amazing giveaway, so make sure you enter at the end of Donna’s post.
So please welcome, Donna…
A GLIMPSE INTO AN EDITOR’S (MAD) WORLD
I feel very honoured to be joining the ranks of people featured on Book Chick City as I’m a huge fan of the blog! When mulling over what to write, a question I’m often asked – be it on a night out when I meet new people, by fellow book lovers, and even by authors themselves – popped into mind: what exactly do you do as an editor?
For those who would like an insight into the (slightly chaotic) world of an editor please read on – though I warn, those of you who imagine such a role as one that involves plenty of time for leisurely reading and masses of glamour will soon be disappointed!
I work on the Piatkus imprint at Little, Brown for which I acquire commercial fiction. We publish across a broad range of genres including women’s fiction, crime, historical and paranormal romance, urban fantasy and horror. My authors include Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, J.R. Ward, Keri Arthur, Martin Millar, Julia Quinn and David Wellington, just to name a few.
In short, the answer to the question ‘what do you do’ is lots! The job of an editor is a very busy one, and definitely not for those looking to work 9-5 with weekends off! However, an editor becomes an editor because of a love of books and the thrill of being able to commission a book, work with the author to polish the content, direct the cover, and see the finished copy on a bookshelf, is an amazing one and far outweighs the overtime!
Without going into too much detail (I hope!) as follows is a brief summary of the main elements of my job:
• Reading submissions! While reading/editing contracted authors manuscripts, as well as reading widely other publishers’ novels to see what’s working in the marketplace, a huge chunk of time is taken up reading submissions from agents. (Most publishers don’t accept unsolicited submissions anymore, and Little, Brown is one of those.) We read submissions looking to answer three questions: 1) are they good, 2) do they have a market, 3) are they compatible with the type of fiction our list publishes. As the job is so demanding time-wise most editors have to read submissions (and indeed edit) out of work hours, but now that most of us have e-readers it means no lugging paper around like in the past!
• The next step, once I’ve found a manuscript that ticks all the boxes, is to convince my colleagues that we should publish the book. First it’s assessed and discussed by my editorial colleagues and, if it gets through that meeting, then goes to another where sales and marketing assess whether it has the potential to sell copies (a very important factor!).
• Once I get the thumbs up to offer, the next stage is negotiating contract terms with authors and agents. This can be a lengthy process but the feeling once you seal the deal is worth it!
• Once we have a new author, we then have to work hard to get a buzz going in-house, and subsequently out of house, while constantly keeping the buzz going for existing authors/series too.
• Editors also edit manuscripts (this often takes 3 or 4 drafts), brief cover design to our art department, come up with titles/shoutlines (harder than one would think!).
• Ensure authors/agents are and feel as involved as possible during all processes.
• Manage the list in the current market as well as identifying future markets and new products with commercial potential (to give you an idea of how far ahead we have to work, we’re currently commissioning for summer 2011 onwards).
• Deal with budgets and publishing strategy.
• Liaise with marketing, sales and publicity (while knowing what information to give them which will allow them to do their job most effectively).
• Attend book fairs/ relevant conferences.
The job is an incredibly rewarding and it’s fantastic having the opportunity to publish so many fantastic authors.
My own tastes are pretty eclectic – I have a degree in English and philosophy, and an MA Publishing, and you’ll as easily find me reading a literary novel as you will find me reading a mass-market horror. ‘Variety is the spice of life’ is definitely my motto when it comes to reading!
It’s also very much Piatkus’ motto and we’re always on the look out for new authors, especially those who write series as we find our readers love entering worlds, rather than just novels, and learning about the various characters’ back stories and what motivates them. Here’s a highlight of some of our books coming out in the next few months!
June: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn – Quinn is the perfect tonic after a bad day and her light take on historical fiction will sweep you away!
July: Shades of Night by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge – like Heroes and urban fantasy? Then this is definitely a series for you!
August: Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar – this is the sequel to Lonely Werewolf Girl and is perfect for those lovers of supernatural fiction with a twist.
November: Blood Trinity – the first book in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new urban fantasy thriller series, The Belador Code!
September: Sister by Rosamund Lupton – this beautiful debut charts a woman’s journey to find her sister’s murder. Keep a tissue handy . . .
September: Crave by J.R. Ward – the next Fallen Angels novel by the author of the addictive Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series.
Hope you enjoyed stopping by today. It was really fantastic to have the opportunity to be a guest on such a fab blog!
Commissioning Editor: Piatkus Fiction – Little, Brown Book Group
Thanks so much Donna!
Okay, so now onto the fab giveaway courtesy of Piatkus!
Prize pack consists of all the books listed above – but just to clarify these are the books you could win:
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
Shades of Night by Jackie Kessler
Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar
Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Sister by Rosamund Lupton
Crave by J.R. Ward
And, it’s not just one lucky winner but THREE!!
This giveaway is for UK residents only (publisher’s request) and ends Sat 19th June!