Friday, August 4, 2023

Editors and Agents Panel: Deeba Zargarpur

Deeba Zargarpur enthusiastically joined Simon & Schuster in March 2020 and is now a Senior Editor at its Books for Young Readers and Salaam Reads imprints. Deeba began her editorial career at Disney-Hyperion and Freeform where she worked on both middle grade and young adult titles. She's also spent time working in book packaging where she created and edited a wide range of children’s and adult literature. Her aim is to acquire commercial books that empower young people from diverse backgrounds. Follow Deeba on Twitter and Instagram at @deebazargarpur.

While Deeba loves and acquires picture books, she notes Salaam Reads is also looking to expand into older, longer fictions portraying Muslim main characters. She acquires PB, MG, YA and graphic novels and her list spans about 45 books; see publisher's websites for submission details.

When asked about the barrage of book bans that have been happening lately and whether that's impacting submissions or acquisitions, Deeba says no, that book bans have been happening forever so it continues to not impact the sorts of stories she acquires. Instead her answer focuses on the importance of libraries as not only a safe space for discovering new books, but as perhaps the only place people of different socioeconomic backgrounds can afford to find and explore a variety of titles.

The best career advice Deeba's received was from her mentor and editorial director Kendra Levin

"It can always wait until tomorrow." 

Deeba is a bit of a perfectionist and it's easy to get burned out in the deadline-heavy world of publishing. Take care of yourself first before you take care of your job. Deeba says this advice applies to authors and illustrators, too, the world of publishing isn't going anywhere!

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