Spotlights tell you more about the people involved in Megaphone: writers, editors and agents.
Jane Griffiths is one of the editors who is generously donating her time to help select the applicants for Megaphone and to deliver final feedback on the manuscripts. She has worked in publishing for over ten years and is currently Senior Commissioning Editor at Simon & Schuster Children’s Books UK – a key role, with a lot of responsibility for which books and authors reach publication. Read on, to get great tips about being the kind of writer that editors love to work with!
Leila: “ You’ve recently been double shortlisted for the Branford Boase award – with The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss and The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis – which acknowledges the contribution an editor makes to a book – congratulations! What do you think makes a great editor?”
Jane: “Thanks so much! I was thrilled when I heard that I’d been shortlisted with two of my authors for the prize, it’s a wonderful award because it recognizes that the editorial process is a collaborative one. And that, for me, is the crux of the editor/author relationship, collaboration and working together to make sure that the author’s novel is the very best it can be. I think editors can look at a manuscript the way that authors can’t always because you are one-step removed from the process – it’s why editors are often described as the “midwives” of the authors’ “babies”! So, really I think a great editor is someone who is there to help an author shape and form their manuscript into the best book it can be.”
Leila: “And what makes a great writer from the editor’s point of view?”
Jane: “Every author is different, but the writers I enjoy working with most are the ones who you know are open to ideas and suggestions and also are keen to get stuck into those rewrites if necessary! I think that most of my authors would say the editorial process is a fun one (I hope!) with two people working together on a text they are both passionate about. Having said that, I also think that a great writer knows the world that they have created in their novel – they know their characters inside out and often have backstories and histories in their mind that go well beyond the action that takes place in the novel – which means they’re able to take editorial comments and ideas and really run with them.”
Leila: “And finally, why did you want to be involved with Megaphone?”
Jane: “As a commissioning editor it’s frustrating that we just don’t see enough from diverse voices that reflect different perspectives and experiences. As an industry we need to do something about that by going out and actively seeking authors from different backgrounds to open up the world of publishing and schemes like Megaphone are a really good way to do that.”
Thanks to Jane for her support!