Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cheryl Klein answers questions

Cheryl, a senior editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, is all kinds of awesome.

She answers nine publishing-related questions on her blog; my favorite was No. 7, which has a great link to a Time magazine story on "stickiness"--why some things stay in the pop-culture craw and others evaporate:

7. Melissa: What, in your opinion, are some of the major differences between the run-of-the-mill published book and the stand-out-from-the-crowd published book? What do you see in books that get starred reviews, win awards, and/or become bestsellers, that you do not see in the rest?

"Get starred reviews and win awards": capacious characters with multiple dimensions; tight writing, often with a strong voice; a plot that points to a larger emotional or philosophical idea.

"Become bestsellers": plots that are "sticky," in the terms set forth by Made to Stick: a Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional Story, executed with some modicum of skill.

I think people tend to buy books for their plots, but love them for their characters, writing, and ideas.

Read all of Cheryl's answers here.

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