On Monday night, when the temperature was a long way below zero (Celcius), I braved the multiple layers of clothing and the literally freezing streets to make my way to Yeshiva University on Lexington Avenue at East 34th Street.
My friend Madeleine Beckman had asked me to present to some of her undergraduate students who are studying editing and publishing. At the moment they’re investigating the book publishing industry (moving on to magazines and other forms of publishing later in the semester), which is why she asked me to come along.
The students, split into four groups, had devised book proposals that they each presented to me in turn. My job was to respond to their proposals – to probe, to encourage, to make suggestions – and to give them a guide to the process of turning a manuscript into a printed book.
I was impressed with the students’ ability to devise ideas for books that filled a niche in the market. and relieved to be able to come up with suggestions and relevant questions in response to each group. Each proposal definitely had the potential to end up as a publishable book – all I need now are some final manuscripts, rather than good ideas, to sell to acquiring editors …