| GumboWriters had an opportunity to interview Claudia Gabel, editor at Random House. |
I always loved to read as a child and I majored in becoming a college professor, but changed course when I got an editorial assistant job at HarperCollins while finishing up my degree. I found that helping authors shape their books was incredibly satisfying and fulfilling, and I still feel that way today, even after nine years. in college. In fact, I went to graduate school with the hopes of
by Lauren Henderson. It's a perfect blend of murder mystery and teen chick lit, complete with a relatable yet tragic heroine who unravels a web of secrets. With the exception of some violence, it's also a very clean read, which the author and I are very happy about. What makes this book so special is because the idea for the novel (and the two that will follow) came out of a news article that Lauren and I had read. From there on, we collaborated very closely on the concept and plot development, so when the book pubbed, both of us felt like we'd just given birth to a baby. LOL.
If I'm reading a submission and I can't put it down, it's usually because the narrative voice has totally captivated me. As many writers know, creating a unique and distinctive voice is quite difficult, but when it's done right, readers will find themselves finishing the book in one sitting. In my opinion, that's the bar that manuscripts have to meet. If I read it from start to finish in one day, an offer will soon follow.
If the concept of the book is described in a catchy, memorable way, I'll pick it up much quicker than if the novel is pitched as something generic like "a coming of age story" or "the next Harry Potter."
are a good way to get in touch, but since I receive so many, I only reply to those that are of interest. Personally, I think the best way to get face-time with editors and agents are through writer's conferences. I know it's an expense, but the amount of business contacts that one can make are worth it.
Yes, I am, but writers should be aware that many editors check sales figures of these types of publications, and if the numbers are low, that can influence the editor's opinion of the project.
Children's Books policy is that we don't accepted unsolicited manuscripts. However, I can say that slush mail does get reviewed, but very infrequently.
It's definitely a tough market out there, especially because of the downturn in the economy. While I'm being a bit more picky about what titles I put on my list, I don't feel as though I should shy away from publishing books that will find an audience, even if it's only a small one. I also think that many publishers are trying to find new formats, especially digital, that will reinvigorate the marketplace, which I believe will make a big impact in the children's book world. Young people are more technologically savvy than ever and it's exciting to think about how these kids are motivating booksellers and publishers to embrace change.