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Love of Books and Diet Cokes

I’ve always wanted my life to be about books. When I was a kid, I constantly had a Nancy Drew mystery or my latest purchase from the library book fair in my hand. I knew when I grew up I just had to have some part in producing these works that I couldn’t get enough of. I devoured as many books as I could, and eventually decided to major in Literature in college. During my summers off, I took a couple of unpaid internships at both a literary agency and a publishing house in New York City, compensating myself with as many free Diet Cokes as I could from the kitchen. After those summers, I knew two things: I had become addicted to Diet Coke, and publishing was the thing for me.

Now as an editor for one of the best companies in the business, I have the immense privilege of receiving proposals and being one of the first people to catch a vision for a book, just imagining people hungry for a good read grabbing it off the shelf and later telling their friends about it. It’s a unique and powerful feeling.

There are many things I love about being an editor and working in publishing in general (Hi, summer Fridays!) but most of all I love that I’m helping tell a story that otherwise could have gone untold. I recently worked on a book called THE IMPOSSIBLE (FaithWords, November 2017) about a young boy who fell into an icy lake in Missouri and came back to life an hour after he was pronounced dead. Newspapers covered this incredible story, of course, but it’s now a 250-page book that will touch the lives of people I’ve never met before. It’s a lasting work that will make a difference.

I recently visited the wonderful Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C. with a couple of friends and spotted Hachette books in every nook of the store. Every title I saw, I smiled, beamed with pride, and said, “That’s our book.” I of course meant “our” as in Hachette’s, but what I said is a worldwide truth—they’re our books. Everyone’s. A story belongs to the author, but once it’s out in the world, it becomes a lasting part of anyone who reads it. People remember books, how they made them feel, and a specific sentence that made them cry. Good stories are needed now more than ever, and I’m honored to be in the business of affecting people’s lives with words.

The Impossible by Joyce Smith