In the run up to BookMachine New York, we’re running a set of interviews with publishing professionals connected to the City, with an interesting story to tell.
Stacy Abrams is Editorial Director of Entangle and Bliss. She started in the publishing industry in 2002, most recently leaving a seven-year stint at Bloomsbury Publishing’s children’s division to join the Entangled team. In addition to editing, she has been a freelance copy editor for several major New York publishing houses.
1) How has the nature of publishing and editing changed over the past few years?
The digital age has been an exciting one for me as an editor. I’m able to broaden my spectrum in terms of what I’m able to acquire. I can take more chances on projects that might struggle to find shelf space, and in different genres such as New Adult. Since production costs are lower, we can experiment and see what works best for our readers, which is a freeing thing. Of course at the same time, there’s more competition for readers’ dollars than ever before, so quality is as important as it’s ever been. So the actual editing process, for me, remains essentially the same.
2) Working across different imprints must be interesting; what has this taught you?
I love getting the chance to work on such a variety of books. I can go from a young adult thriller to a cozy mystery to a super-hot romance to a sweet romance all in the span of a week. I think more than anything it’s taught me that there are SO MANY different readers out there. I hope readers will love all the books I work on, but in reality I know I’m editing to a very broad spectrum of readers. Again, though, I’m always reminded that whether I’m editing for a teen or an adult, high-concept, high-heat, or category length, the quality still needs to be top notch.
3) What advice would you give to anyone looking to break into publishing?
Read, read, read! Understand the industry. Go to your bookstore and library and see what’s being published. Follow the bestsellers on Amazon, BN.com, USA Today, NYT. Follow agents and editors on Twitter. Understand what you’re doing before you do it. REVISE.
4) In your experience, what can publishers do more of, to improve the quality of fiction published?
Be clearer in what we want, and focus our lists accordingly. It’s important for us to stick to our brand: I’ve turned down projects that I loved but which didn’t have a strong romance or romantic element to them because that is what Entangled does and what our readers expect from us. So staying true to a brand is key, I think. Otherwise just having quality editors who work well with authors and are committed fully to putting out the best possible project. Oh, and never rushing something out until it’s ready.
5) Any personal predictions for future changes to the nature of publishing?
I’m sure self-publishing will continue to rise, especially with how many successes we’ve seen lately. Less print production and more digital. Lower prices on e-books across the board. Which all sound kind of grim, but when I’m feeling sunny and optimistic, I say that telling stories never goes away. No matter the format or price, storytellers will always be needed. I just hope those storytellers still want to have a helper to make their story the best it possibly can be. (Ahem, me, cough cough.)
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