Sunday, August 2, 2020
#SCBWISummerSpec Editors Panel: Julie Strauss-Gabel
Julie Strauss-Gabel is the president and publisher of Dutton Books for Young Readers.
On acquistions: While Penguin is a big publishing house that does not have an acquisitions board. Acquisitions are editorially directed. Each imprint guides it's own submissions and acquisitions, allowing her to seeing, knowing, acquiring for her list. She follows her tastes and conscience, and to really consider the future of a book.
On hazards of these challenging times (pandemic): Not seeing colleagues every day. Missing casual interactions. It's a reminder of just how human our publishing business is, how much we need each other. It is difficult to do a creative job in isolation. Do your best to keep the lines of communication open best you can.
On falling in love with a manuscript: "I know it when I see it." Because she's spent a long time understanding herself and her tastes, the books she can acquire and edit to success—the manuscripts that would be a good fit for her. It's not necessarily about the best, knowing uniquely for her voice as an editor and the things she's passionate about.
Career advice: Know yourself, know your own work. Know what matters to you, the priorities of your work. To know what you'll fight for and stay true to—and what you're willing to be flexible about. These are all things you'll curate over time.
On the manuscript: Your manuscript has to speak for you. An author can't stand next to a reader and tell them what the words are supposed to say. That book has to do its work for you for a very long time and through many layers of human beings. Success can't be manufactured, it is about people telling other people about books that they love. So, that manuscript need to do it's work for you. Stick to it, keep it on the page. And no short cuts.
On community: Find good partners along the way to give you good feedback.