Sunday, December 20, 2009

Editor? What Editor?

When the SCBWI newsletter reports that an editor has moved to a new company, I consider it worth approaching that editor with a Query, etc. but first I want to research what books the editor has worked on to see if my MS falls within that person's tastes. I find it hit and miss when researching editor names on the web. Could you please recommend a source of information that tells what books specific editors have worked on?
I wish there was one. The editors at Candlewick have lists online of some of the books they've worked on, and Publisher's Lunch will tell you a few of the books most editors have worked on, but there's no official record or growing wiki. Editors mean to stay in the background, and we do.

11 comments:

Chris Eldin said...

There is some information online, but it's so scattered, you have to spend quite a lot of time researching. But it's worth it... I've been able to get an idea, for example, of who likes girl tween stuff (definitely not what I write) to who likes YA paranormal, etc. For me, those are pretty easy write-offs because I write humorous middle-grade geared toward boys. Editors who like lipstick novels are not going to like mine.
;-)

Anna Bowles said...

I didn't really think about the question of who knew about my track record until I became a freelance.

As I now need to promote myself, I have to go around telling people what I've worked on - and it makes me feel fainty guilty, and worried, as if some notional Editorial Director will be along with a big stick to tell me to shut up about myself.

So yeah, finding out what an in-house editor has worked on is going to be difficult. That info only gets bigged up at job interview time.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Before I had an agent, I kept a spreadsheet and recorded information I found on-line or through other means that might be helpful to know for submissions.

Going to conferences, like SCBWI, is a great way to find out what editors like and are looking for too.

Uma Krishnaswami said...

SCBWI has some information compiled on this if you're writing for the children's/YA market. You have to be a member to access that page, however.

Paul Greci said...

If you suscribe to publishers marketplace you can do searches for specific editors to see which books they have acquired. It's not a complete list but it might help. I used PM for agent research when I was querying.

Tami said...

Editors are often thanked in book dedications or acknowledgments. You can find this with a quick Amazon search using the editor's name in quotation marks as your search term. But obviously the results are a bit random. The SCBWI list Uma mentioned is a more complete resource, at least for well established editors.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

I'd second what Tami said. A good editor that's great to work with is often mentioned in the acknowledgments -- plus while reading books in your genre, you're getting even more market research in. (Fiction! it's fun! AND educational!)

Anonymous said...

I have this fantasy about an IMDB for books. Author, editor, publisher, cover art and designer. Hundreds of bibliographies linked by thousands of conveniently time-wasting links....

Rose Green said...

Ellen Jackson's got a nice (and growing) database of editors and what kind of books they like and which authors they've worked with. You might check it out. (See http://www.ellenjackson.net/editors_a_to_z_89771.htm.)

working illustrator said...

Tami's right about the dedication/acknowledgments pages; authors sometimes drop this information on their blogs, etc. as well.

I think this sort of information would be useful, but keep in mind that because books have long gestation periods, any number of editors can work on any individual title in the course of its development. I've often had editor changes in the course of getting books to publication (four, on one particularly ill-fated title). I don't think my experience is at all unusual.

Further complicating this issue is that whoever the nominal editor is on a book, things are frequently circulated for everyone in the building to offer their suggestions; some companies are worse than others about this, but it's worth remembering that the editor in charge of the book may not be the only one editing the book.

Best advice I ever heard on this subject: don't try to gather complete information. Concentrate on books or writers you particularly love; the people who work with them are probably your best bet because your tastes will be in some way compatible.

Anonymous said...

No editor info (and VERY incomplete), but earlier anon, your wish is granted:

http://www.fictiondb.com/