When I look for a new read, I usually search a name of an author I like or a title of a book I’ve heard of and maybe look at some recommendations on Goodreads. I’ve never really looked beyond that. As a publishing student, I feel even more of an idiot of not thinking about anybody else involved in the process of making a book great before. So many different people in the publishing world help to build a book up to its endgame and they are the people that it owes its success if it does well. I just never know who those people are, they’re somewhat a mystery.
Editors, in particular, are vastly important to a books success, they tinker around with ideas and phrasings that may work better than what an author initially thought would and can find inspiration in a manuscript that could need a LOT of work. Nevertheless, they work on it with an author and sometimes it turns out to be a best seller, like with John Green’s Looking For Alaska for example. Even great reads can start from next to nothing special, but it’s the editors that majorly help mould the book into its final form. Editors like Julie Strauss-Gabel.
Julie Strauss-Gabel is someone who if ever her name crops up in a book article or review, I highly suggest you pay attention. Her backlist is formed of well known YA novels that have at one time or another been someone’s bestseller. Strauss-Gabel has edited 22 bestsellers overall and that’s a lot of success for one editor’s career these days. Authors such as John Green, Stephanie Perkins, Galye Forman, and Nina LaCour to name a few are people she edits for and, in my opinion, the books produced probably wouldn’t have been the same without her input.
You could say she has a somewhat abstract taste in what she selects to work on and self-confesses to being ‘picky’ with manuscripts, but being different is what sets a book apart. No one book on her backlist I could say I’ve heard a completely similar plotline to before and I’ve read a lot of books. The way she criticises a manuscript is, for the most part, brutal, but it is her criticisms and ideas that make authors and books shine in the sea of many others in their genre. So, look out for any future titles she works on and authors she works with; they might just become the next YA sensation!
Behind every great book is a great editor. So, who edited your favourite novel? I suggest you find out, they might be cooking up something unmissable.