First Friday Club has come back with a bang in 2016! Our members-only conversation with an industry professional is held on the first Friday of every month – and to make it even better, there’s cake involved too.
On 4 March, First Friday Club kicked off for 2016 with Membership & Administration Officer, Sherry Landow, in conversation with Deputy Managing Editor of Penguin Random House, Catherine Hill.
Catherine has been an editor for more than 15 years. She started her career as an editorial assistant at Weidenfeld & Nicolson in London, then moved to Little, Brown as an editor before leaving for Australia and Random House in 2004.
She is now Deputy Managing Editor of Penguin Random House in Sydney. During First Friday she shared a little about her career journey. Catherine and Sherry chatted all things publishing: what a Deputy Managing Editor does, what the editorial process involves, some practical advice and tips for aspiring writers and editors, and much more.
We’ve put together some of the best insight and advice Catherine delivered during the chat.
Catherine’s tips for submitting to publishers:
- Keep your cover letter short: a maximum of one page.
- Send no more than two or three chapters.
- Target your submissions to the right imprint of a publisher. For example, within Penguin Random House’s imprints, Vintage Books publishes literary fiction, while Del Rey publishes science fiction and fantasy.
- You can approach an agent, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Individual authors should decide whether it’s worth it for them to submit to an agent first.
- Don’t assume your manuscript will sit in the slush pile forever! Catherine says the editors at Penguin Random House really do read all their submissions, and that they take the process very seriously.
- Try not to get discouraged by rejections, and don’t see publishing as the be-all and end-all. If you love writing, that’s the most important thing. There are many other publishing avenues to try, such as self-publishing and blogging.
Catherine’s tips for those interested in becoming an editor:
- Complete a university publishing or editing degree, then try to intern at a publishing house.
- Any way of getting your foot in the door of a publishing house is worth trying. Catherine, for example, started in export sales before moving into her first editorial role. While your initial role might not be your thing, any position will allow you to get inside and start working your way up to the role you want.
Next month’s event:
Friday 1 April, 10:00-11:30
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