Sunday, January 9, 2011

Meet editor Juliet Grames

By Kathryn Craft

When Juliet Grames last came to our conference, in 2008, it was as Editor at Overlook Press. This year she will represent Soho Press, where she is the Crime Fiction Editor. Soho Press was last represented at our 2005 conference, by co-founder Juris Jurjevics.

About Soho Press
Soho Press is an independent book publisher based in New York City. They publish a superior roster of hardcover and softcover trade books that are primarily publishes fiction, with the occasional autobiography or cultural historical account. Completed manuscripts should be 60,000 words or more. While many of their published works arrive here through agents, they place a high priority on publishing quality unsolicited materials from new writers. Authors on the Soho Press backlist include Oprah winner and National Book Award finalist Edwidge Danticat, Sue Townsend, Maria Thomas, Jake Arnott, Stephen Fry, John L'Heureux, Delores Phillips, and Jacqueline Winspear. 

What they're not looking for: Though eager to accept a wide range of literary fiction, they do not consider formula fiction, young adult dramas, stock romances, juvenile literature, short story collections, cookbooks, how-to books, self-help, fantasy, and anything that might recommend itself as a "quick read."

Click here for recent releases.

About Juliet Grames
Juliet is Editor at Soho Press, where she acquires and edits for the Soho Crime imprint. Now 20 years old, Soho Crime specializes in mystery and crimes series set in other countries and cultures. At Soho Crime, cultural components and rich atmospheric settings are almost as important as the mystery itself. If you have a great mystery—preferably the first in an envisioned series—set in a locale outside of the United States, and whose detective or amateur sleuth is native to the locale in question, you should definitely let Juliet know!

In August, after I invited her to the conference, Juliet wrote back:

I would just LOVE to attend! I think you already know how much fun I had in 2008 with you guys.
Just to give you a feel of my new landscape, Soho is freakin' awesome. We do half crime fiction, half literary fiction, and we do acquire from unagented authors. So I'm happy to do pitch sessions, etc. I'm personally the crime specialist here—I do all the crime acquisition and curating—so if you'd like a crime workshop, or some other talk, etc, I am very happy to do one.

And with that, her 2011 Write Stuff session, "Elements of a Bloody Good Crime Novel," was born.

We asked Juliet:

In what ways does your past experience as a bookseller inform your work as an editor? 
I think all editors should work in bookstores at some point—it gives you a great idea about what categories are being sold in retail stores, who buys what, which genres move the most copies, which covers customers react well too, what people are buzzing about. I simply can’t imagine not having that experience before starting in editorial! But I’ve seen it happen where really top-notch editors buy books that end up flopping because there’s no good category for them in bookstores. That’s a mistake a former bookseller would never make!

What is your favorite aspect of your job, and why?
I’m kind of a dork about editing. I love to edit. I love taking something that’s 80% perfect and making it 100% perfect. I love working with authors, exchanging ideas, and collaborating as a team to reach a goal. It’s just so satisfying. Creative people are also generally wonderful people to work with, and I feel really blessed to maintain friendships with authors long after books are published.

For more about Juliet

To get more of a sense of Juliet, check out this letter she wrote to her new company back in May. If you click on the link at the end you'll learn more about Soho Press as well:

Dear Soho Press,
It’s me here, Juliet Grames, your new editor. You know, the one who just started. So I know it’s not exactly elegant for me to come out and say, but I’d better just put it out there, lest it nag at our blossoming relationship. So here goes.
I have a big crush on you.
There, I said it.
It’s true–I’ve had a crush on you for a while, ever since I read my first Soho book... (read more)

Get to know Soho better through Juliet's blog entry about Rock Paper Tiger, a recent release by Lisa Brackman:

Soho publishes two new hardcovers a month: one international detective novel for Soho Crime, and one literary novel or memoir for Soho Press. When I started in May, Ailen, the Marketing Director, slipped me a shiny new copy of Lisa Brackmann’s Rock Paper Tiger, the story of Ellie, a 26-year-old Iraq vet living in China... (read more)

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