For many, to imagine a life dedicated to writing is to imagine long stretches of isolation, endless internal battles and unwavering determination. While this must hold true for many, in the cases of several well-known authors, the ubiquitous presence of the editor is often overlooked. Here are a few key author-editor relationships that many of us owe our favourite books to, plus one that left considerable controversy in its wake.
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Marti Leimbach’s career began with the New York Times bestseller Dying Young, which was made into a film starring Julia Roberts. She is also the author of The Man From Saigon and Daniel Isn’t Talking, which topped some of the summer reading lists here in the UK and abroad. Widely translated, and published worldwide, Marti is a core tutor at Oxford University’s Creative Writing Program, where she teaches on the Master’s programme.
Last year you successfully published your first children’s book to add to the adult fiction you’ve written over the years. Did you find the writing process to be very different?
Quite, yes. At one level, it’s easier and more enjoyable, because my adult novels are all set in the real world, whereas The Parent Agency – as indeed is The Person Controller, my new one – is powered by a fantasy storyline, which allows me to let my imagination go.
Roz Morris published nearly a dozen novels and achieved sales of more than 4 million copies – and nobody saw her name because she was a ghostwriter. She is now proudly selfpublishing as herself with two acclaimed literary novels My Memories of a Future Life and Lifeform Three. She has also been a writing coach, editor and mentor for more than 20 years with award-winning authors among her clients. We asked Roz about the challenges of her unique path to success.
Everyone loves a good disintermediation story. So, we read, writers have suddenly started to bypass agents in order to find the latest bestseller. The truth as we all know is that such dances started to be choreographed some while back. In 2008, Harper Collins UK launched the Authonomy community site, encouraging writers to upload their manuscript and expose it to peer review. The objective was to “ beat the slush “ with the promise that editors would review manuscripts which critiqued well on the platform.
Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train has broken through. It is and will continue to be a global publishing phenomenon this year. It’s terrific. But then lots of books are. Why this one? Is it as simple as people are looking for the next thriller with Girl in the title?
Much has been made of the discovery and subsequent scheduled publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman. The world seems to be divided. Should we be dizzy with excitement that the world’s greatest living one-hit literary wonder should have actually written another book? Or should we fear for her place in the canon, and a reputation potentially sullied forever all because someone, somewhere wanted to make a dollar?
Just as new indie authors benefit from the single-minded, entrepreneurial determination to make their books work no matter what obstacles they may encounter, they can also benefit from collaboration and compromise, based on the input from an experienced specialist publishing team around them.
Joel Ohman is a Florida-based tech entrepreneur. His debut novel, Meritropolis, self-published earlier this year, is already proving popular and has topped several of Amazon Kindle’s bestseller categories. We spoke to him about his writing, the publishing process, and how he’s managed to drum up such a buzz about the novel.