Wow, you guys really ask the tough questions first don’t you?! There really are so many, including Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (I was literally so riveted I stayed on an elliptical at the gym until I finished) and John Green’s Looking for Alaska (one of the first YA titles I fell in love with), but I think I’m going to have to go with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. As a writer, Markus is something else entirely; every book he writes is just so special in its own way, and The Book Thief, well, it blew my mind. At its core, it’s about resilience, friendship, and the things that make us go on, I couldn’t put it down.
What up and coming books/authors should we be watching for?
SMP’s own Courtney Summer is such a dynamic force, and I think we can expect amazing, edgy, contemporary YA from her for years to come. Her latest book Fall for Anything comes out December 21st and it’s absolutely fantastic. And Jodi Meadows—also known for her creation of an army of ferrets—has a series coming out in 2012 from HarperCollins that starts with the book Incarnate. It is paranormal meets dystopian, and when SMP had it in on submission it was just so fresh and innovative that we were all won over. Unfortunately, it did not come to us, but I think we are all keeping an eye on Jodi now!
What would you love to see in your sub pile?
What wouldn’t I love to see in my submissions pile?! Right now, I think more than anything, I want to find a contemporary read that gets under my skin and crackles with intensity. There are so many paranormal and dystopian titles out right now—and while I certainly enjoy those too—there is just something to be said for a book that will speak today’s teen from today’s world.
What are your manuscript pet peeves?
It’s not so much a manuscript pet peeve as a query pet peeve. I hate when I receive submission queries via an automatic query sender. If you are querying me, take the time to get to know what I like. That goes for other editors as well. I’m not big on reading unsolicited manuscripts, but I have been known to do it. And every time it has been someone who really aimed for my interests.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t be afraid to open a dialogue with someone. There are so many people—editors, agents, writers, book bloggers—who can provide valuable advice and I think now more than ever, thanks to social media, there is a real sense of community. Just realize that when you open that dialogue, you are asking for someone’s time and time is important. Don’t abuse it and they will be thrilled to help you out.
How did you come to be an editor?
For me it was always words. In college I was a journalism major, dead set on keeping the medium of newspaper alive. But then one day, I realized I’d really much rather be a book editor. But for some reason—possibly my small town Texas upbringing—it just didn’t seem real. But a friend said I should go for it. The next day I changed my major to English and never looked back. But it wasn’t completely easy. Upon moving to New York, I did the NYU Summer Publishing Institute and ended up taking a job in book publicity. But I knew publicity just wasn’t for me. I wanted to be with a book from the beginning. So, I kept look for editorial jobs, and luckily, I was able to very happily switch over to editorial at my own company. So never fear! It IS possible to switch.
What are your most and least favorite things about the job?
My favorite thing is the day a book arrives from the printer. Seeing it in finished form never gets old and nothing makes me happier than to show an author the final product. My least favorite thing is saying “No.” Authors always have wonderful ideas on how to promote their books, but in today’s industry, some of them are just not feasible because of cost issues.
Want to learn more?
You can find Vicki on Twitter: @thedaysbetween
Then check out our interview with St. Martin's author Courtney Summers or our review of her latest release, Fall For Anything!