Corner Office: Editor Ascendant: Michael Pietsch
3. Growth. We have identified several subject categories we believe will continue to expand in the years ahead and will be expanding aggressively into those areas.
It looks like mergers will be changing the "Big Six" to a smaller number. What's in store for Hachette?
Arnaud Nourry has grown Hachette Livre impressively over the past many years making a number of exciting acquisitions and I hope that will continue.
Not to be grim, but you seem to have something of a specialty in editing posthumous books, from Hemingway to Foster Wallace. What's it like editing a book with no author to consult? How does the editor's job become something different in that situation?
Two books in 35 years hardly make a specialty! In both cases there was an estate that was very involved in the editing and presentation of the book. And both books gave me an opportunity to think through the publisher's obligation to make the editorial process transparent to readers.
Traditionally an editor's work is more behind the scenes, yet with The Pale King, in the sad absence of an author, you stepped into the spotlight as the book's media spokesperson. What's it like to make that transition?
It was an invaluable education in the writer's experience. Undergoing media training, taking midday taxis to studios to talk intensely for 11 minutes and then be shuttled out to the street alone, talking in front of a large audience and answering their questions, being called to go sit in an empty studio at night in front of a screen for a satellite interview—all were dislocating and lessons in the performances we ask writers to do. Every editor, publicist and publisher should do it if they get the chance.
In your experience, what are the characteristics of a successful author/editor relationship? How can editors improve their relationships with authors?