Book acquisitions editors are some of the busiest people I know and the most elusive. If they admit what they do for a living, people want to send them their grandmother’s self-published poetry or a best friend’s novel that she wrote in high school.
They aren’t flashy dressers. They don’t talk about publishing trends in the checkout line. And at parties, if someone asks them what they do for a living, they mumble and then wave at an imaginary friend. “Nice meeting you,” they say before darting to the other side of the room.
Then how can a writer catch a break? Ah, my dear contestant, you must know the secret lives of editors…not bees. Following are ways to meet an editor:
1. Make friends with other writers, especially those who have published at least one book.
They’ve made the leap, and many are willing to give you advice or help you achieve your dreams. Attend their workshops at writers’ conferences, listen carefully, and ask thoughtful questions. Learn the craft of writing and how to market a book while you write your manuscript.
Published authors know editors, and if you’ve written a manuscript that other authors like, they’ll be more willing to give you a recommendation or an endorsement.
2. With your polished manuscript in hand, query an agent.
Make sure to read an agent’s submission guidelines before you approach them, or pitch your project to an agent at a writer’s conference.
Attend the best conference you can afford. One of the perks of attending a conference is that you can request an appointment with an agent. Agents know editors, and they know whether your manuscript is ready to be published. Listen to their advice, and rewrite your manuscript if necessary. An agent can be your best ticket to meeting an acquisitions editor.
3. Acquisitions editors attend writers’ conferences as well.
They set up appointments with agents, and they take 15-minute appointments with conferees. Sometimes they will agree to critique your manuscript for a fee.
4. Attend workshops taught by editors at writers’ conferences.
Editors teach a variety of workshops that vary from character development to plot development to self-editing. They will tell you what kinds of projects they’re looking for so that when you get your chance to meet an editor, you’ll be prepared.
5. Attend meetings of a local writers’ group.
If the group is large enough, they will invite published authors to speak, and through the friendships you make with authors and other members of the group, you can support each other through the process of becoming a published author. If you don’t have a local writers’ group, consider starting one.
Finally, what’s the best way to meet an editor? Keep writing and improving your craft until someone takes notice of you. Editors love fresh, unique voices. You could be the next American Idol of the publishing world.