In Episode 118, Caroline Zancan, Senior Editor at Henry Holt, joins me for another episode in the Genre 101 series — this time with a twist. Caroline answers behind-the-scenes questions about editing literary fiction, as well as a deep dive into the genre itself.
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- How Caroline got into editing: right place, right time, and Craigslist.
- The varying college degrees, the wide range of colleagues’ previous careers, and whether there’s a typical career path to becoming an editor.
- The je ne sais quoi factor and determining if a book is for Henry Holt.
- The entire process of book acquisition at Henry Holt — from determining what books to pursue and bidding on manuscripts to the approval process.
- Caroline’s preference for dealing with an author’s agent.
- The execution of a compatible vision for the editor-author relationship.
- The “right” length for a book and editing big-name authors.
- What the heck is ‘literary fiction’ and why there seems to be a lack of consensus about this question.
- Current trends in the literary fiction world.
Caroline’s Book Recommendations [39:19]
Two OLD Books She Loves
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders | Amazon | Bookshop.org [39:33]
- Trust Exercise by Susan Choi | Amazon | Bookshop.org [41:25]
Two NEW Books She Loves
- Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason | Amazon | Bookshop.org [42:33]
- Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley | Amazon | Bookshop.org [44:14]
The Series of Books She DIDN’T Love
One NEW RELEASE She’s Excited About
- All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews (August 2, 2022) | Amazon | Bookshop.org [47:32]
Last 5-Star Book Caroline Read
- Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason | Amazon | Bookshop.org [49:40]
Other Books Mentioned
- We Wish You Luck by Caroline Zancan [2:00]
- Happiness by Heather Harpham [2:17]
- The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat [2:21]
- Sleepwalk by Dan Chaon [2:29]
- Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach [2:34]
- On Writing by Stephen King [29:08]
- Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett [40:48]
- I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley [44:58]
- Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley [45:00]
About Caroline Zancan
Caroline Zancan is a Senior Editor at Holt, acquiring literary and upmarket fiction and memoir, and the author of We Wish You Luck and Local Girls. She is a graduate of Kenyon College and holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Caroline lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their children.
In two weeks (August 10), author Keri Blakinger joins me discuss her debut memoir, Corrections in Ink.
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