Hi Jasmine, thanks for answering my questions! Firstly, what is your role at OUP, and what does it entail?
I am Senior Commissioning Editor for Children’s Fiction at Oxford University Press. As an editor, my job is to acquire new titles and to oversee the progress of books from acquisition to publication. This means attending marketing meetings, cover meetings and acquisitions meetings or writing cover copy or maybe a piece of passion for a website or bookseller.
A lot of my time is spent reading new submissions, editing scripts from authors already on our list, negotiating with agents over contracts or talking to my colleagues about scheduling and progress of current projects. I’ll speak to the rights team about possible angles to help pitch a book to foreign publishers and I’ll often be on the phone to an author talking about a new idea or how a book event went.
I hear I had a little bit of involvement with the UK acquisition of Firelight, which all started on Twitter. Please tell us more!
That’s right Jenny but before I get into all that I want to explain how editors find books normally!
Writing talent is sniffed out in lots of different places: submissions from agents, recommendations from literary scouts, writers’ conferences, writing competitions, the slush pile, or even from reading a newspaper or blog and identifying a writer who has a great voice. But now I can add one more place to my list– Twitter. It makes sense. The great thing about Twitter is how small it makes the world – how connected you become to readers, writers and reviewers and how quickly you can identify those books that are making a real impact.
On July 14th 2010, @Wondrous Reads was tweeting most enthusiastically about a US advance reading copy of a book called Firelight. She had read it and adored it. Over a series of tweets between the author @soverysophie and @Wondrous Reads it quickly became clear to me that the rights in the UK had not been sold.
Hmm, interesting, I thought.
In a matter of hours, I have a PDF of the book on my e reader and I am hooked. I am taken back to be 13 years old again and reading the Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith for the first time and truly devouring a book. The 13 year old me wants to cry in frustration as I finish the last line of Firelight because I am so desperate to know what happens next. And the 29 year old me is doing a jig on the spot because I know that I have just struck gold, sexy, sizzling, completely absorbing YA gold!
Do you regularly look for new books on Twitter, or was it just a case of being in the right social networking place at the right time?
There was definitely an element of luck in uncovering Firelight the way I did because I tend to dip in and out of Twitter. It just so happened that I dipped in when you were tweeting about Firelight! I use social networking to see what people are excited about in the world of books or what other publishers are up too – so essentially spying and eavesdropping!
Do you think Twitter will continue to help the publishing industry as much as it is now?
It might not say it in the job description but editors have to be bloodhounds seeking out those books that are going to rock their world and hopefully their publishing houses. Thanks to Twitter my job has been made a whole lot easier! Twitter is a great place to discuss books and I think it will continue to be a place where authors, agents, reviewers, publishers and readers can all come together to talk about what they are enjoying or what trends might be on the horizon.
On the subject of Firelight, I love it, you love it, but why should other readers pick it up and love it too?
‘Surrender to the sizzle’, that is what one reviewer said about Firelight and I absolutely agree. Sophie Jordan has created a world and a mythology that feels really fresh but still delivers on all of those elements you want to see from a superb paranormal romance. Jacinda is also an incredibly likable character, and her dilemma and attraction to Will is so believable and engrossing that the pages of the book seem to turn themselves.
I'm sure everyone in the UK will soon be asking this: when will you be publishing Firelight's sequel, Vanish?
Vanish will be published in September 2011, the same month of publication for Vanish in the US. So readers in the UK, no longer have to wait longer to get their next fix of Jacinda’s story.
So, there we have it... proof that all my incessant book tweeting *does* pay off! (I hope you're reading this, mum!). I'm so glad Firelight is getting a UK release, and if you want to see just how much I loved it, my review is here.
Continue following Firelight's UK blog tour tomorrow, where it will be stopping at Girls Without A Bookshelf. There's lots more to come over the next week, so make sure you check out each stop. Now, back to waiting for Vanish...