So today I have for you all a lovely guest post by Frankie, Headline’s YA editor! Hope you enjoy reading it!
Who am I, and what do I do?
I’m Frankie and I’m Headline’s YA editor. It’s a wonderfully varied and rewarding job and, in a nutshell, it’s about finding the best YA books, and bringing them to readers.
An average day
Every day is different! I like to get in nice and early and the first thing I do, of course, is make a cup of tea. Once I’ve checked the emails that have come in overnight – we talk a lot to the US, whether it’s authors, agents or other editors so there can often be quite a lot – I like to do something creative so I might start off by drafting some cover copy. Writing blurbs is one of my favourite jobs but also one of the hardest. It gives me the opportunity to think about what it is that I love most about the book and try to write a synopsis that does it justice – which is exactly why it’s so hard!
Next, my day might involve a meeting with the rest of Headline’s wonderful Team YA: Sam and Vero in Publicity, Lynsey in Marketing and Katie in Sales. We meet as often as we can to discuss everything that we’re all doing to spread the word about our wonderful list of books and brainstorm exciting things that we can do in the future – in fact, #WeLoveYA May came out of one such brainstorm.
If I’m lucky, I might have an edit to do next. I love reading an author’s newly delivered manuscript: getting to know the characters, immersing myself in the story and also looking at things that could be tweaked to make it even better than it already is. Ideally I like to read the manuscript and work on my edit all in one go but for the purposes of this imaginary day, I’ll move on to something else…
In the afternoon, it’s on to our company Covers meeting, when all the departments come together to discuss covers that our Creative department have already worked on, or to talk about the direction they should take when starting work on a new cover. This is where I, as editor, come in. The editor – having liaised with Sales, Marketing and Publicity – writes the cover brief, which summarises the focus we think the cover should have. I like to be as open as I can with the brief, to allow the designer to read the book for themselves and let their own interpretation come in to play when working on the cover. Most recently, I briefed the cover for Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by the incredible Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook. Whilst laying out my own thinking for the cover, I also tried to leave it as much to Patrick, our marvellous Creative Director, as possible. And the result was better than I ever could have hoped!
I get a lot of submissions from agents and so I might spend the last part of my day reading one of these. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are writing brilliant books at any given moment, and as an editor there’s nothing better than reading something that blows you away; that makes you sit up and take notice; that makes you cancel your plans for the evening just so you can read on…
My favourite YA novel
There are too many to choose from! One of my all-time favourites is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – although there wouldn’t have been a YA classification back in 1949 when it was published! Cassandra Mortmain is one of the most endearing, believable and compelling characters I’ve ever read and I love the way she looks at the world around her, and how we as the reader become utterly immersed in her world.
Of the recent books I’ve read, Code Name Verity really stood out for me. I’m fascinated by WWII and I love stories depicting it (we’ll publish the marvellous Prisoner of Night and Fog next year, set in Munich in the 1930s) and loved this tale of two best friends: one a fighter pilot and the other a spy. Their bravery is astonishing and the strength of their friendship uplifting and life-affirming. I’ll warn you though, have tissues on hand!
Thanks for writing such a lovely guest post for us Frankie! It’s always interesting to see how work in the publishing world works. I haven’t read either of your favourite YAs but I’m definitely going to be checking them out as they sound fantastic!