This Editor Walks Into A Blog

August 9th, 2006 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

If we have learned anything from MediaBistro’s “From the Editors” series, it is that editors are scary young. Naturally, we also went for real-life verification of this fact, discovered that the ages noted in the articles largely correspond to what we’re seeing in the real editor world, and slumped into a mild depression. That is what you do when you realize you still haven’t figured out what you want to be when you grow up.

But this isn’t about our emotional problems — today, we are excited to point you to a lovely interview with John Williams of HarperPerennial. Let us relieve your mind on one point: we are not talking about the stodgy, stuffy imprint of old (perennial being one of those words that dredges up thoughts of classic novels crammed down your adolescent throat). After a period time that Williams describes in this manner:

…many people locked themselves in rooms for many hours to draw up a plan, and they came out with a great new logo and a beautiful, more uniform design for the books, which really stand out

— the imprint re-emerged with a hipper, younger feel. Call it HarperPerennial for the Net generation. While still reprinting titles from the other members of the Harper family, Perennial publishes original paperbacks that focus on readers who walk in the worlds of both NPR and Entourage. In other words, the imprint is targeting a diverse, savvy, smart audience.

Where do you fit in (yeah, we know, you only support our fascination with this series because we give you what you really want)? Well, again, we remind you that this editor, like so many others, is seeking quality writing, great story, writerly knowledge of what the editor has acquired in the past (this is called “doing your homework”), and a foot in the door:

… we have a policy of only looking at agented material. There are exceptions, but they’re rare, and they more often happen when we reach out to a writer who happens to not have representation, rather than vice versa.

Of course, Williams also noted that

With fiction, I depend mostly on talking to agents and getting things in from them, because it seems like anyone who’s ever had a story published anywhere has an agent these days (I think that’s a good thing, by the way, but I can’t imagine being an agent and trying to get to these writers first—that should be an Olympic sport).

You want more? Go read the article, visit the blog, discover a stalking opportunity (we mean that in a healthy, non-scary sort of way).

[tags]writing, publishing, editors, harperperennial[/tags]

File Under: Publishers and Editors

2 responses so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Aug 9, 2006 at 9:08 am

    My theory is that we see so few middle-aged editors because the young ones tend to incite authors to homicide.

    I’m still trying to work out where all the bodies are hidden. I’ll get back to you on that.

  • David Thayer // Aug 9, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Ah the young and the hip. But as time passes the hip needs replacing opening new vistas of literature.