Friday, August 8, 2008

SCBWI Editor Panel

One of the sessions I really enjoyed at the LA conference was a lunch-time event for published authors and illustrators called "Up Close with the Editors." Groups of published attendees sat a lunch table with one of the featured editors and, while we nibbled on our sandwiches, we could ask any questions of the editor we wished. The editor at my table was Diane Hess of Scholastic US, who had helped build Scholastic Press, the company's first hardcover imprint. I was curious about whether or not they published nonfiction, and if so, what type. She replied that they did some, but it was definitely not her first love.

The second half of the luncheon was a panel featuring all of the editors, who were asked the question: What did they know as editors that we as creators should know? The most common reply was some variation of, "It's not we and you; it's us." or "Editors are always fighting for you and in your corner." Clearly, they felt very aligned with their writers and illustrators, which was great to hear. Many also mentioned how hard they work when they write their editorial comments and how this is the creative part of the publishing process for them. Quite a few said they wished they received more thanks from their authors on this work. (Thank you, Sheila!) They also said that if an author sent them a box of homemade cookies or other gift, it would be talked about and fondly remembered for a very long time. Apparently, pats on the back from authors and illustrators are greatly appreciated. 

Today, editors are caught in the publishing squeeze as much as authors, and in some ways, it may be even more difficult. I heard one editor describe how when her publishing company had been bought by a bigger one, she was told by the new publisher that she was the "heart and soul of the company." Ten weeks later, they fired her! Today, she is bravely starting up her own new imprint and I wish her the best of luck.

That's all for now. Check back over the weekend for more on the conference. 

No comments: