Corner Office: Editor Ascendant: Michael Pietsch
I've worked on more books with James Patterson than with any other writer and have learned enormously from the experience the importance of frequent and honest communication. It has been made plain to me over the years that for most writers, publication is mostly long and confusing stretches of silence. Constant communication about both the broad arc of publishing goals and the immediate specifics is the best counter to the alienation that can grow in those silences.
And how will the transition to CEO affect your ability to do the editorial work you love?
I do love editing—it is work of great trust and intimacy, and it engages me as deeply as any work I do. I won't give up that direct connection. It's my plan to keep editing two or three books a year.
Any books coming up you're excited about?
So many! Jeffery Deaver has a great thriller coming from Grand Central, The Kill Room. Malcolm Gladwell is about to deliver his new book David and Goliath, on the power of being small. LBYR has a wonderful new collaboration between Lemony Snickett and John Klassen called The Dark. And Kate Atkinson has written the novel of a lifetime, called Life After Life—I could talk for hours about its amazing structure and emotional power and ideas about the tiny moments that change a life.
Can you let us in on a fun behind-the-scenes story about something that happened with an author or book?
Being teased by Keith Richards as I tried to give a toast for him in front of a group of booksellers. First he gave me a hard time for my poor microphone technique—no fair, he's a professional! I used the word "festooned" and he cut in "Festooned? Whoa, he's good!" Who could ask for anything more? BB