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Through the eyes of an acquisition editor
Friday, July 29, 2016
Ramona Richards


By, Ramona Richards

Most editors love books and their authors. Those of us who can acquire books really love them – or we wouldn’t do this for a living. It’s not as if we’ll get rich doing this. There’s a good reason that New York editors usually have a long train ride into their jobs. We may hate the slush pile, but we love discovering that next great, beautiful story.

To be honest, most of us can spot that “new voice” pretty fast. I can read a proposal and know within a few pages if it a) is professionally prepared and written, and b) will work for my publisher. And I love that moment when I read something that makes me screech, “Yes!” in my office. That moment when I finish the proposal, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest. That by reading the cover letter and synopsis, I know I’m going to like this author personally as well as professionally.

Rare moments.

So naturally, I go to a lot of writers conferences….

Back at the office, I receive a lot of submissions from agents, and I could easily fill a year’s list from those. But I go to conferences because I want to talk with the people who create them. I want to look them in the eyes and see what energy, what faith, what passion lies within. At a recent conference, I met several writers I’d love to publish. I want to publish THEM, not just their books. Their passion and dedication to the craft oozes out of their pores in a way that’s energizing and engaging.

Will I buy their books? No idea, not until I see the manuscripts. The books may need too much work or be in a genre I don’t buy. The writing may not be mature enough, or the story unique enough.

But one day, these writers will be ready. And I’ll be in line to contract them.

Because I saw what they could do, before they do it.

Because I looked in their eyes and knew them for the writer they’ll be someday, if they continue to learn and grow and never, ever give up.

And this is why I encourage all authors to go to writers conferences.


Join the conversation: Have you had an encouraging appointment with an editor that kept you writing despite closed doors? 



Ramona Richards is an award-winning editor, writer, and speaker and has worked on staff with Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Rutledge Hill Press, and Ideals magazine. The author of nine books and a frequent contributor to devotional collections, Ramona has written sales training videos, feature film scripts, novels, gift books, Bible studies, biographies, cookbooks, and magazine articles.