I have been in the book business now for over twenty years. Every year since, journalists declare that the book business is dead. And every year, we prove them wrong. Why? Because there are a lot of readers out there who love to read new and exciting books that cause them to see the world in whole new light. Readers learn from books, they might escape from their everyday lives, or they might get inspired to change their lives. Great writers and books can do that.
I started out my career at 21, when the first piece I published: “At 21, Are My Best Years Behind Me?” for the New York Times’ “Voices of the New Generation” series was featured on the op-ed page (under my maiden name, Elisabeth Beaven). After graduating from college (the wonderful Mount Holyoke College), I became a “Rover” at Conde Nast, and worked at all their different magazines - delicious weeks at Gourmet magazine, working as Tina Brown’s junior assistant at Vanity Fair, helping out at a magazine shoot for Shirley MacLaine at Annie Liebowitz’s studio, searching for the perfect lounge chair for a bathing suit shoot in a film warehouse for Glamour, and then having to stuff it in a cab uptown. If you've seen The Devil Wears Prada, that was my life. Surrounded by the gliteratti, I realized I was out of place. My heart was really in the book world.
Starting out as an editorial assistant at the now retired line of Atheneum Books (adult trade), I worked with the late Lee Goerner - a true gentleman and a great boss. Atheneum published literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, and our authors included Reynolds Price, Ivan Doig, Hillary Mantel, James Crace, and Ben Cheever. Just before Atheneum was permanently shut down in a corporate takeover, I began working for Janet Goldstein as an assistant editor at HarperCollins. Janet is a dynamo in publishing, and had a lot of hits in both women’s fiction (Barbara Kingsolver) and self-help (Wayne Dyer). When Janet left to go to a new imprint called Broadway Books (now called Broadway/Doubleday, an imprint of Random House), I moved with her. During those years working with Janet, she schooled me in what it takes to be a great editor. If I hadn’t gotten my hands dirty enough with a manuscript, I was directed to go back and go deeper. Janet could spot talent even if the proposal was a disaster - she knew what she could make work, and for sharing that vision with me, I’m very grateful.
Macmillan Books then came along and offered me a job as a full editor, but there was another take-over, and again, I ended up working for another imprint that was shut down. I was the last editor there, and published its very last adult trade book. (Now there's a whole new Macmillan Books, but it's not the same one! Confused? So am I!)
Next came John Wiley & Sons, working as a health and parenting editor for their successful adult trade division. Wiley was a class-act to work for, and I relished my time there, narrowing my focus to those two shelves at the bookstore.
Since leaving New York, I have worked as a freelancer, co-writing books, editing for individuals, and working for corporate clients such as Scripps, Workman, Harlequin, and Wiley. The trends I have noticed in book publishing since I started my career have led me to start this service company. Those trends are: 1) The increasing dependence of book publishers on ready-made audiences for their acquisitions; 2) The continued rise of Amazon and online booksellers, but the resilience of innovative and solid local independent bookstores; 3) The rise of the print-on-demand publishers; 4) The growth of the ebook market and fan fiction platforms to launch books, such as Wattled; 5)Social media is becoming increasingly important for promoting books, as are book trailers; and 6) The rise of digital audiobooks as a very appealing supplemental way to "read."
I now reside in Charlotte, North Carolina, with my two daughters, and a giant rescue dog named Charlie. I helped found the Charlotte chapter of the Women's National Book Association, and love being involved with the book scene. I also fundraise for the JDRF - Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, to help find a cure for my daughter and the million others here and across the world dealing with the chronic and dangerous Type 1 Diabetes.