Elizabeth Law is that rare editor who is not only rigorous sentence- by-sentence, but she's also deeply concerned with the mind of her author. I'll always be grateful for her wise, careful shepherding of my first novel and the shape it ultimately took.

— Adam Rapp, author of Punkzilla

About me, and about you

Elizabeth Law in New York. Reading, of course.

Elizabeth Law in New York. Reading, of course.

When I started working in publishing, I learned three things very quickly.  Really great books last forever, really great books take a lot of effort to get that way, and it never, ever works to publish something just because you think it will be popular.  If you, personally, don't like a book, it is not going to succeed.  Please don’t try to write something that you don’t really care about because “it’s the kind of thing that’s hot right now.”  As Rocky said to Bullwinkle, “That trick never works.”

As for me, I was trained by an editor named Deborah Brodie at Viking Children's Books, who taught me to give each book and every author all I’ve got. Deborah taught me to ask questions and give suggestions, but that the final decision is always the author's.

I worked at Viking Penguin, and at Penguin’s divisions Puffin Books and Frederick Warne & Co, for 18 years, leaving to become Associate Publisher of Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.  And in 2007 I left there and became the first publisher of Egmont USA.  At Egmont I got to help create a company from the ground up, which taught me, among other things, to think creatively about ways to get attention for books when you’re competing against other books' huge marketing budgets.  And since 2013 I've been working for myself, with writers and artists and people who just love children’s books as much as I do.  It may be the best job I’ve ever had.


My philosophy

These days the rate of change in our industry is dizzying, from the rise of the e-book and the influence of social media to the growing popularity of young adult literature and the birth of the “new adult” category. Staying on top of it when the pace is so unrelenting is a huge challenge, but some things in our industry are constant and will never change: the demand for the very best writing and artwork that show something personal from a  child’s world. Trends or no trends, this is, in fact, what every publisher is looking for.

 


I was stuck on a manuscript and feeling frustrated with my career in general. Then I hired Elizabeth to read the first 100 pages of a young-adult novel. She helped me see my pages in a new light, and, even more crucially, helped reset my anxiety meter. Not long afterward, I signed with an agent, who sold the novel to my dream editor. I'd work with her again anytime.

— Martha Brockenbrough, THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH