I’m thrilled to introduce our newest Red Sofa Chats guest. I can personally attest what a treat it is to work with her, and that she puts lots of heart into her work. The fact that she’s also a playwright and has a love of sloths is the figurative icing on the cake. 🙂 So please welcome Meredith Rich to the sofa!
Meredith Rich is the Digital Editor for YA, NA, and Romance at Bloomsbury Spark. Previously she has been a historical reinactor, a regular actor, a barista, a children’s bookseller, a math editor, and a playwright. Many years and careers later she finally figured out that she loves storytelling best, and that helping other people tell their own stories is even better. Her best days are spent with a good book and iced coffee in the park, preferably with someone else’s dog to pet and a proper Philadelphia soft pretzel. You can find her on twitter at @MeredithJHRich.
Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers. Our outstanding list features multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more. If you have a manuscript between 25 and 60k words long, then please check out our submissions guidelines here:
1. Why did you choose to become an editor?
Funnily enough, I really think it chose me! I never really thought too much about the people who help make books, I just knew that I loved them and loved reading. All of my friends in college were English majors so I wanted to do something different and I double majored in Government and Theater. Post-college I was determined to make a living in theater— and for the most part I did for three years. Of course I also supported myself as a barista at the Barnes & Noble Starbucks, and eventually with enough cajoling and begging, and spending all of my breaks holed up in the YA section, I finally got a spot on the floor as a Children’s Bookseller. Slowly but surely my “day job” became more and more of my life, and when a friend who worked in publishing in NYC had an assistant job open in her department I jumped at it. I certainly didn’t have the traditional path to becoming an editor, but when I look back at the journey, it all makes a lot of sense!
2. Are there any projects you wish you could have edited?
Hmm, that’s so hard to say, because so many of the books that I wish I could have edited were clearly edited by the right people! It probably would have been pretty awesome to discover Tamora Pierce though. But considering I started reading her when I was about 10, I wouldn’t have trusted my editorial prowess yet… Maybe George RR Martin, to help make getting through A FEAST FOR CROWS slightly less painful? (With all due respect)
3. What are you reading right now (for personal reading, for fun)?
I really treasure my personal reading time, but it seems to get smaller every year, and now I’m down to pretty much only reading for fun on the subway, with submissions and edits taking up the rest! I’ve been reading a lot of YA and NA contemporary this summer (How can you not? Beach or concrete jungle I must have my beach reads!) and some of my favorites have been Jesse’s Girl, Nantucket Blue, Stay with Me, The Start of Me and You. I have two books that I’ve been saving for a weekend off the grid, and they are Dahlia Adler’s UNDER THE LIGHTS and Naomi Novik’s UPROOTED.
4. How do you utilize Twitter? How do you believe it has changed the way we go about publishing books?
I can honestly say that I only really got into twitter when I started in publishing and I think it is such a resource for the writing community. There are few other social media platforms that allow you to interact with others so casually and yet find a deeper connection. You really can jump into a larger conversation and come out feeling like you know someone. I also use it to keep in touch with what other folks are reading, checking out what other publishers are doing, and book recommendations from friends. I bought two eBooks this morning, directly from someone posting about them on Twitter.
I use Twitter most frequently to keep in touch with my authors and agents and other editors, but I absolutely also use it to check out new authors before I acquire a project. Because Spark books publish in a digital space it’s really essential that authors have a handle on social media so they can hit the ground running. You don’t have to be a maven, but showing that you are already on twitter and willing to engage with others goes a long way.
5. If you had a crystal ball, where do you think (or hope) publishing will be in 5 years?
I hope more than anything that our readership will keep growing. I see now that people who didn’t consider themselves big readers before are now talking more about books the way people talk about movies and TV. (Or maybe that’s just NYC? We do live in a bubble!) But publishing needs even more recreational readers now to support the industry as more readers are becoming writers and the number of books being published each year, especially in YA continues to grow. I also hope we see new blockbuster series emerge in a new area— we’ve seen heavy hitters in dystopian and contemporary YA and even erotica, and those sensations build new readers. It would be great to see new trends explode at that level in YA, NA and adult books— I can’t wait to see what that is.
Thank you so much Meredith! For our readers, do you have any questions we should share with Meredith? How have your reading habits changed with the growth in eBooks?