LWC talks to Mary Mount, editorial director of Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books.
1/What do you look for in books? An original voice that feels emotionally true and engaged
2/What is the best thing and worst thing about your job? The best thing is discovering new writers, the worst thing is when you don’t end up publishing them!
3/What book would you have liked to have published? Another Country by James Baldwin 4/What inspires you in a writer? Great writing (an obvious answer, but no other way of saying it)
5/What top tip would you give to an unpublished writer? Don’t lose heart – if you’re good you will find a publisher but also, don’t expect fame and fortune
6/What’s the most common mistake writers make in submission letters? In non-genre novels it’s about the way the novel is written as much as it is about plot so don’t worry about giving every twist and turn of the narrative in your submission letter
7/How do you see the publishing industry changing over the next five years? Commissioning editors will continue to be a little more cautious about advances than they have been in previous years and when a really great ereader appears on the market that will change utterly the way many of us read and buy books
8/What can writers do – other than writing a brilliant book – to help them get noticed by publishers? Get your writing published in magazines/newspapers.
9/Ebooks or printed books? What is the future? see answer to no 7! The ereaders have to really improve before they come close to the experience of reading the printed page but I can see that happening soon.
10/What are you working on now? I’m in the middle of editing a very haunting, moving novel set in Kashmir by a debut novelist. It’s called In the Valley of Yellow Flowers and it’s by Mirza Waheed. We’re in the planning stage for the publication of Joshua Ferris’s next novel after Then We Came to the End. It’s called The Unnamed, is utterly original and is out in February!