|Mary Lee Donovan|
Julie Strauss-Gabel is the vice president and publisher of Dutton Children's Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. She publishes about 9 or 10 middle grade and young adult titles each year. She just acquired her fourth memoir and is looking for those, as well. Before coming to Dutton in 2002, she worked at Hyperon Books for Children and Clarion Books. Her authors include Ally Condie, Adam Gitdwitz, John Green, Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Myracle, John Grisham, Andrew Smith, and more.
The topic of the editors' panel was titled "3+3: Three Things Your Book Should Include and Three Things to Avoid." Lin Oliver moderated, and questions in bold are hers.
What's on good thing to see in a manuscript?
Mary Lee Donovan: "I remember hearing voice. What do they mean by that? Voice is something you bring to your manuscript automatically. You want to make sure you are writing as you. Don't try to imitate, or echo another writer or style. If you are writing authentically, you are writing in your voice."
When you get something fresh or exciting, it's like meeting a new person who enchants or astonishes you, she said.
She recommends writers take their time when it comes to deciding which editors to send a book to. The Internet has a lot of information on editors and their lists that are very useful.
Julie Strauss-Gabel: "Voice is the No. 1 thing I have written down. That you have heard that across the whole table is an extraordinarily significant piece of information. I'm also very attentive to fit, for my imprint and for myself as an editor. I can look at a manuscript and very quickly know if it's good and if it's a good fit for me."
She is looking for something that she can fall in love with and champion for many, many years. She recommends writers read editors' lists, not looking at just the surface things. It's important to remember that you can't please all the people all the time, which is why you shouldn't write to a general audience.
What grieves you when a manuscript comes in?
Julie Strauss-Gabel: "If I don't get engaged, if I don't see the voice, if it's very pedestrian, I'm out."
Mary Lee Donovan: "Don't impart wisdom."