Monday, September 08, 2008

Finding Fabu Editors

Question of the day: I'm curious if you have any recommendations on young, hip editors as well, possibly those specializing in the chick-lit genre?

I don't have any specific editors whose names I'd feel comfortable passing along, but the good news is that this info is pretty easy to come by. The best place to start - if you're willing to shell out $20 - is Publishers Marketplace. Type in the name of books that you like and see who edited them. Whether or not they're young and hip by definition, they probably like books like the one I'm guessing you've written. If you don't want to pay for PM (and I think it's an invaluable resource, btw), check out the acknowledgment pages of books you like: nearly every time, an author will thank their editor.

Once you have that info, feel free to google 'em. Yeah, yeah, this might sound stalkery (and it is), but you'd be amazed what you can learn from google. At the very least, you might find out what year she graduated from college, and at the very best, I dunno, maybe you'll glean some insights from her Facebook page.

But. All of that said, I do want to issue a slight warning: yes, there are probably some intangibles that you can discover to see if you'd click with an editor, but, not to be too cliche about things, you can't always judge a book by its cover. By that I mean that just because an editor isn't "young and hip," by your definition, doesn't mean that she won't kick ass as an editor or won't be interested in your chick lit book. Some young/hip editors only read highly literary works while some older-skewing ones adore the lighter fare. So I'm just saying. Sure, go google, go find the editor whom you think you'd want to hang with (and yes, this can also be important, I'm not denying that), but remember that this isn't everything.

Readers: how important is it that you and your editor are friends? That you like her/him outside of just work?


Trish Ryan said...

It's book was finished before I met either of my editors in person. I was surprised to discover how young and hip they were! I mean, I knew they were cool over the phone, but they seemed to know so much about writing, engaging the reader, what to include and what to edit...I thought they'd be older (and my bad for assuming that older = less hip!)

You're right, Allison: you never know who the best fit will be, or how working together will pull you into a relationship that is different than what you expected.

Trish said...

It's not a matter of age or gender or even their name or anything. The best way is how you've explained, Allison, go out and do some research on books that you as an author love.

Editor/author relationships are even different from book to book, so go with your gut. If you find an editor who doesn't seem to "get" you or your writing, realize it might not even be you.

Be nice, be easygoing, and above all never burn bridges!

Trish L.

Amie Stuart said...

Is she looking for a freelance editor or just at editors in general?
As far as my own editor, it's nice to get along but we don't have to be BFF's...though I do know a few authors who pretty much ARE BFF's with their editors. IMO it could definitely get real sticky

Sandra said...

Allison, I've been reading your blog for, I dunno, a year now (?!) and I love love love it- and you.
The current question has me scratching my head a little. Aren't editors assigned by publishers? Except in situations where a freelance editor is hired, does a writer get to choose his editor? Does your agent help steer you toward an editor they think would be a good fit for your book? I don't understand how any of it works. And, finally, if you are hiring a freelancer, aren't the editors whose names are listed in books you love going to be way out of reach for the average unpublished Joe Shmo? I assume they hold full time postions with publishing houses and have no time to take on outside projects. Sorry to have so many questions on my very first post! Oy.

Anonymous said...

I think it's important to have a good working relationship with an editor. Whether or not you become friends doesn't really matter much. I think that what you should be looking for, especially on a first novel, is someone who can tell it to you straight and help you to grow as a writer.

BTW, Alison-- I recommend your blog to all of my students!

Barrie said...

I've learned a lot from Publiser's Marketplace