Inside Random House: Bringing Our Authors' Books to Life

writing a book is an extremely complicated job it isn't just one sits down at a computer and just lets it rip that could be a very good first draft for example in fact David eBrush off one of our great editors at Random House has always said that writing is all about rewriting and so that is one of the functions that our editors help an author do in order to make an author's work as clear as it can be every author is different in every office I want to work in a different way some authors want to go away in a cave somewhere and write 100 thousand words and then come back with 100 thousand words not be disturbed while they do that other writers need to have every page truly checked over read and sort of assess so they can move forward and so the first thing I do is try to work out a system that will work for both of us as an editor you're reading things constantly and I love it because every day you know you you start a manuscript it's like maybe this is the one every once in a while your heart rate goes up and you find yourself flipping the pages and you lose track of time and you just know I have to publish this we know how to do this and that's that's the most gratifying thing about being an editor every writer works differently with with an editor but I find that the relationships that I have are intense they're really intense and they're really close and a lot of the writers that I work with become some of your best friends because it's very intimate work and and I think you develop sort of a dependency on one another you know I love working with these people and you know they like working with me as well we do not have a house style we do not tell our authors how to write their books our job is to hear their voice and to take their prose and over the course of the copy editing and proofreading process to just make every author's book be the best possible version of itself that it can be one of the most important parts of an editor's job is spreading the word about a new book in house and we have lots of opportunities to do that from the first editorial meeting to our pre-launch to our launch to marketing meetings and then I also make a point to call different sales reps who I have a relationship with who I think would really enjoy the book I make sure to reach out to someone in marketing if I think yeah that's the person who's going to love this book so when I'm looking to acquire what I need to find is someone who has a true voice for children really writes naturally from a child's point of view in a plain direct way and it is really a rare talent the best kind of story has a great character that you can bond with right from the beginning even if they're bad guy you could still find them irresistible because then you'll root for them throughout the whole story the actual making of the jacket is a very private process in a way much the way reading a book is a private process I read the manuscript and then I design something at which point I will show it to the editor in question and try to make jackets that are smart and if you look at them long enough you'll understand that the jacket represents the narrative in a deeper way but the first job really is to get someone's attention and often all have long and fruitful conversations both with authors and editors about their books it's frankly my favorite part of the job I mean I like talking about books one of the first things we do is meet with our authors to decide what the visual programs going to be the thing that's going to complement their text the things that's going to set the style for the and we set the tone for what the brand of that book is going to be quite often we have the text and then we also have pictures that come much later and we spend a lot of time perfecting the text and then it's only after we think the text is just perfect that we start trying to find illustrators who we think are right for the story it's really our job to make sure that the illustrator brings whatever they bring to it but keeping in mind the voice of that author there's always been an emphasis that Random House for fine book making there's a great deal of energy and care that goes into the manufacture of every single book Random House has always been very amenable to using the latest technology using the latest manufacturing techniques as far as optimal reproduction that is going to be unmatched in the industry we're working very closely with all of the platform developers and their R&D teams to figure out what is the best use of that and what is the best use as they're developing new technologies and the one thing that they can always be certain about is that we'll be doing whatever's cutting-edge at the time that the book is released the particular media outlet that can really drive that book and help break it out and find a very broad audience will range from book to book it may be that daily review in The New York Times that makes all the difference it may be an interview on NPR it may hardly enough be a blogger tour or a chatter that begins on the online space among bloggers and takes on a viral life of its own we spend a lot of time continuing to maintain our existing relationships with the mainstream media from literary fiction to politics and from cooking to craft we've developed extensive networks of book bloggers that we're in touch with every day on behalf of our authors a big part of publicist author relationship is just sort of being there for them and answering any questions that they have and hand-holding to a certain extent and just being there for them when when they need it most we believe that we can help create some of the conversation about ebooks online so we've developed several of these websites in order to create the dialogue or the story behind the story about many of our books and authors we can potentially syndicate this information out have these stories appear in other places on the web we try to write really interesting stories really compelling storylines that people can share share virally potentially in their own social media that we can amplify our authors audience in their message in our marketing department we really look at what we provide is a suite of services to an author so we have experts in social media we have experts in traditional advertising we have experts in word-of-mouth so in the life of the book after we've read it after we've come together and we've discussed the themes that we think will resonate with the different audiences when it comes time to actually create the marketing campaign we draw from the experts that we have on the team we have a lot of fun author chats where readers will have the opportunity to ask questions the author will answer in real time really get you know dialog going about who that was inspired them along the way you know in their writing some of their favorite authors some of their tips to aspiring writers so it's a really wonderful way for them to connect directly with people that are reading their books and people that of course want to be writers someday too we start early and really focus on the content of the book and we figure out who the audience for the book is at any given account because that's really where it has to start every you need every person at every account has their own reading tastes and I think the strength of our force is knowing those and realizing the importance to learning those we have two warehouses in our United States distribution network one facility is located in Crawfordsville Indiana and the other is in Westminster Maryland these two facilities comprise 1.8 million square feet which is roughly 40 football fields we ship over 1 million books per day out of these two facilities combined what we do at Random House international sales and marketing is promote and sell our books globally we are responsible for selling and managing the marketing of all of our titles outside of the US and Canada and we promote those books physically and digitally around the world we are in 15,000 physical book outlets and our books are available digitally on every possible multinational online store I spend most of my days working with independent bookstores talking to the buyers at those stores who do the ordering and decide which books will work in those particular stores now what's really great about Random House is we have such great relationships with those bookstore owners and staff and we know those stores customers we have email relationships with them we have email newsletters we're on Twitter and Facebook with those people and we had a lot of credibility it's really like this really deep ingrained love of you know of a book and of reading and of that process of kind of falling into kind of somebody else's imagination this company really supports writers and talent that's our goal

23 thoughts on “Inside Random House: Bringing Our Authors' Books to Life

  1. I'm a teacher. I have been teaching for 10+ years and would love to write short children leveled readers. I would love to work for Random House as a writer.

  2. I just completed my first book. It's currently in the hands of a freelance editor and will be looking for an agent soon. With a little luck maybe one day I'll see it in print from your house. Best wishes to all.

  3. I have a book on amazon!

  4. Wow, what a great, informative video with a real insight into the author and publisher's relationship in working with a book manuscript. Truly inspiring to this unpublished writer!

  5. Great video, it is very informative. Will someone at your company be interested in a novel about a young female navy sailor.—"Sailor Girl." It has been edited and I promise you it is a good read. This is riveting story about a young woman's quest for meaning, purpose, and true love, and success in her life while serving in the US Navy!

  6. @gyrosk Yea,  editing is the worst! However, always ask for a free sample edit to compare and pick the best editor. Compare prices and edits from places like Hugeorange and freelancers.

  7. Here is my short story horror book Pathways into Darkness:

  8. I love this video <3
    Does Random House publish books on poetry?
    I would love to publish my book with Random House 😀

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