Welcome Kristen Weber, senior editor at New American Library, an imprint of Penguin.


Tell us a little about you and your publishing house.

I oversee Obsidian, our dedicated mystery imprint, and also our movie / TV tie-in program. Offering a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction, NAL aims at reaching the largest possible number of readers, the true mass market. The NAL imprints-Signet, Onyx, Signet Eclipse, Signet Classics, Obsidian, Roc, and NAL Trade Paperbacks-publish over four hundred titles each year. The majority of the titles are original works, supplemented by reprints originating primarily from sister imprints Dutton, and Putnam.

What made you decide to edit fiction?

I actually started my publishing career in the subsidiary rights department of Warner Books (now Grand Central). But I've always been a huge mystery fan and would talk to the editors of various Warner mysteries about their books. When one of the editor's assistants left, she approached me for that job. I wasn't sure I wanted to be an editor, but I fell right into it and haven't looked back since. I also think my job helps my family and friends sleep better at night. When I was in college, I was planning to go to law school and become an FBI agent. But I changed my mind at the very last minute and decided to pursue something with my first love - books. Now I can read about all the crimes I would have loved to solve in real life - I really feel like I have the best of both worlds.

What kinds of manuscripts do you acquire?

I acquire pretty much straight across the crime spectrum - true crime, mysteries, commercial thrillers. I also acquire the rights to TV shows (like Psych, Burn Notice, and Criminal Minds to name a few) and then find authors to write original novels based on those programs.

Some editors hate sharks, others hate prologues-is there anything that's an automatic turn-off for you?

I'm really tired of thrillers centering around 9/11 or Osama bin Laden. I feel like I want to escape into my fiction - and both of those subjects hit a little too close to home.

What makes for a great editorial relationship with an author? What drives you absolutely nuts?

I have been fortunate to have really great relationships with all my authors. But the one thing that drives me nuts is when someone sends me multiple emails during a single day on different subjects. It would be great if an author could group all their concerns into one email.

How do you feel about authors working with other publishers or in other genres?

I think that's fine as long as they can continue to meet their deadlines.

What do you wish authors understood about your job?

The sheer volume of reading that we're dealing with. It might seem like it takes us a little too long to get back to you but there's only a certain speed we can all read it. It takes a tremendous amount of time to get through all of our editing and submissions, so just please be patient with your editor - we're reading as fast as we can!

Note: In honor of the holiday, there will be no industry guest next Wednesday.