What does a Senior Editor do?
My chief responsibility is to bring in business to the house by finding books that Beacon wants to publish. This is called "acquiring." The books aren't always fully written when I happen upon the author(s). Sometimes they're simply book ideas or book proposals. But if I'm intrigued enough with the idea and Beacon's editorial team thinks it has merit, I'll work with the author(s) from those very early stages all the way through the publication of the book. And, of course, I edit.
What kinds of projects are you looking to acquire at Beacon?
Nonfiction only. In particular, personal stories or close examinations of current or historical events through the lens of race, class, media, tech, sports and women's issues. Note: I have a soft spot for memoirs.
I have a book proposal that I think you might like. Do I need a literary agent to submit it to you?
Not at all. If you have an agent, that's fine. But it's not necessary.
Beacon's based in Boston. You're in New York. How does that work?
We rely on email, phones and video conferencing a lot. Also, I travel to Boston every few weeks, and Beacon's head honchos are in New York pretty frequently for business. A big benefit to this arrangement is having proximity to the daily ins and outs and comings and goings of the New York book business. It's working really well so far.
What was freelancing like?
Scary at first, but only at first. I found the freelance book publishing community to be very welcoming. There are resources aplenty -- from where to find likeminded people to how to get health insurance. My parents were constantly worried for the first year. I was a bit dubious myself. But tons of authors need help shaping their stories, and it's fun and gratifying to help them. Working with first-timers was my favorite, though I often worked with established publishers and agents, too. I freelanced for a total of six years, three months.
How do you pronounce Rakia?
Good question! It's ruh-KEE-yah.
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