Welcome to Book Editors: Close Up at http://www.authorlink.com . This regular Authorlink column provides an intimate look at important book editors in New York and elsewhere. Interviews focus on editors as real people. The columns explore their likes, dislikes, preferences, prejudices, writing preferences, and why they buy the books they do.

An Exclusive Authorlink Interview with Michele Pezzuti
Editor at McGraw-Hill

August/September 2005


Michele Pezzuti is an acquiring editor for McGraw-Hill trade. She joined the company as an editorial assistant and has been with the company for five years, working her way up from the ranks. Before joining the company, she worked in the editorial department at Hyperion. Here, she talks about her acquisition interests and what she likes about publishing.


". . .I am currently focusing on self-help, health, diet/fitness, some memoir, and parenting." — Pezzuti


AUTHORLINK: What are you main acquisition interests at this time?

PEZZUTI: McGraw-Hill Trade only publishes non-fiction, so currently I am focusing on self-help, health, diet/fitness, some memoir, and parenting.

AUTHORLINK: Who are the three authors you are particularly proud to be editing?

PEZZUTI: What I love about my job is that it allows me to work on books and with people I feel passionately about, so I don't work with anyone or on anything that I am not proud of.

AUTHORLINK: What do you look for in a submission?

PEZZUTI: Depending on the category, I look for the information to be presented clearly. There's nothing worse than a self-help author who convolutes information. I look out for a unique perspective on the subject or a really clever twist on an old subject. I look for writers who know the market and write in an appropriate voice for their audience.


"With narratives, I usually sign the ones that cause me to miss my stop on the bus." — Pezzuti


AUTHORLINK: What are the two or three most important elements you want to see in a winning submission, with respect to the craft of writing?

PEZZUTI: With narratives, I usually sign the ones that cause me to miss my stop on the bus. In nonfiction it's important to know your author has credentials and a platform. The narratives I sign have to somehow relate to the categories we already have, so narratives written in a way that allows readers to empathize or feel supported in their own struggle is very important to me. I look for the motive of the writer. You can tell a writer who really wants to help and so can readers.


"Proposals that aren't fleshed out. . . are some of the shortcomings I've seen. . . " —Pezzuti


AUTHORLINK: What are the two or three most frequent mistakes you see writers and/or agents make in their submissions to you?

PEZZUTI: Proposals that aren't fleshed out, use cliches, and inadequate or incomplete market analysis and competitive analysis are some of the shortcomings I've seen in submissions.

AUTHORLINK: What do you most love about the publishing business?


"I love when my authors call me after they've opened their first box of books." —Pezzuti


PEZZUTI: I love when my authors call me after they've opened their first box of books. I love that I am as excited when I open my box of their books, as if they were my own babies. I love when I receive letters from readers saying how the book and the author impacted them. I love the brainstorming and the teamwork that goes into launching a book into the world. Yes, I love to edit and develop manuscripts, but I also love titling, sharing cover ideas, and getting a great blurb for the back cover.

Nonfiction allows me to always learn something new about a topic and about myself. With all of the self-help I publish, you'd think I was the picture of perfect mental health! But, then I open a manila envelope and there's a whole new concept introduced to me in a proposal. I can't get enough of that!


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