Saturday, November 8, 2008

On the responsibility of publishing

Last night I finished reading a manuscript left me weak. Crying and trembling, in fact. It is Lauren Oliver's If I Should Fall. No encapsulation will do it justice, but it's the story of a girl who has to live the last day of her life seven times over until she understands how to save herself. The story is heartbreaking and the writing is astonishing. The manuscript epitomizes the idea that there is something new to say and there is a new way to say it. And it's a first novel. The author turns 25 today.

As the publisher, I feel both elation and an enormous responsibility: Can I live up to publishing this? So many questions: Will I get the jacket right? Will the interior design be exquisite enough? Will I get it into the hands of all the people who need to see it? I want so much for this book. I want kids to read it and debate it and wish they could affect the outcome. I want it to outlive me.

It's a masterpiece of a debut (and I know, I know how the gods are about saying things like that but I made a small animal sacrifice in order to get away with it). I can't believe how lucky I am.

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