Hey, look, it's my editor, Maggie! I don't actually get to see her that often, but I'm pretty sure this is an accurate depiction of how she dresses to edit.
Hello! This is Maggie, Amy’s editor at Abrams Books. A few weeks ago, Amy and Publicist Overload Morgan asked me to write a little bit for the blog. I agreed right away before even stopping to consider that I didn’t have any ideas for posts. Ideas? Who needs ideas? Amy’s the one who comes up with the ideas and then sends them to me. That’s the way this whole thing works.
The Way This Whole Thing Works
A Popularity Papers book starts with an outline. Amy sends me a document that describes what Lydia and Julie are up to, who the new characters are, and some snippets of the funniest images and scenes. At this point, I look at how the book works as a whole and suggest any possible tweaks to the character arcs (how the characters change and grow over the course of the book).
Then Amy starts writing and drawing. She writes and draws for a while. During that time I’m waiting patiently at the computer, updating my email every few seconds, hungry for a glimpse of the book.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’m also writing catalogue copy for the book, creating factsheets, presenting the book at company meetings, working with the production department to find a place to print it the way we want to, making sure everything’s set with the contract, and brainstorming with the designer about the cover. And I work on other books, too, each of which need all that attention.
But I must admit it’s a very special day when the first draft of a new Popularity Papers book comes in. I am so lucky to be able to be the first person to know exactly what happens next. Lydia and Julie feel like old friends—or perhaps beloved nieces—and I read the new books with a huge grin on my face.
After that first joyous read, there’s a period of editing back and forth between me and Amy, then copyediting and proofreading (since the book is entirely handwritten, Amy has to make all corrections herself), and finally we ship it off to the printer and await proofs. We check over the proofs for any final mistakes or color issues, and when we’re sure it’s as flawless as we can possibly make it, it’s time for the book to print and ship.
The entire process takes about a year. Right now, we’re awaiting proofs from the printer for Book Five, and I’ve read the outline for Book Six. (So, yes—I know what’s going to happen! Shhhh… secrets…)
That’s a speedy review of what it takes to make a book. I didn’t even mention the pictures of Amy’s baby with food on her face, which is a huge part of our process. But if you have more questions, I will try to answer in the comments, or you can bug me on twitter at @maggielehrman.
Okay, wait a second. You don't actually just sit in front of your computer waiting for me to email you? You have other books by other authors to edit? WHUT???
Gratuitous baby eating birthday cake photo!