Amanda Ng is the assistant editor at Berkley Publishing and the final judge of the Fantasy/ Science Fiction category of The Sandy. Amanda will be popping in to answer your questions, so take advantage of this great opportunity!
Amanda started her career in publishing at GamePro magazine in San Francisco where she wrote and edited video game reviews. Books have always been her true love, however, and she moved to New York to pursue a career in trade publishing.
After completing NYU’s Masters in Publishing program, Amanda joined The Berkley Publishing Group and is actively looking to grow her list. She is interested in acquiring fantasy, science fiction, general fiction, thrillers, and mysteries.
- Which categories do you currently acquire/
represent? Which category has
a special/constant place in your heart?
Answer: Fantasy, science fiction, general fiction, mystery, and suspense. Fantasy in particular has a special place in my heart.
- What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial? Single spaced or double?
Answer: Two page synopsis, single spaced.
- In terms of submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of?
Answer: There’s nothing I’m truly sick to death of as a great manuscript will always pique my interest.
are the most compelling elements you feel are necessary for a good
read? What particularly grabs your attention?
Answer: Interesting characters and solid pacing. A solid plot will keep me turning the pages of one book, but characters I can connect with will make me want to read the second book.
- For you, in general, which elements in
a fiction submission are terminal problems garnering automatic rejections
and which are tempting and fixable meriting a look at a revision if a
talented author is willing to accept your advice?
There are exceptions in every case, but in general:
- Voice – Automatic rejection
- Weak Grammar – Automatic rejection
- Common plot – Potential revision.
- Poor character development – Potential revision.
- Story is too controversial (ie rape, politics, religion—what else?) – Potential revision.
- Mediocre / uninspired writing – Automatic rejection
- Excessive use of violence or cursing – Potential revision
- Lacking genre –specific requirements like, suspense/sexual tension/ world-building – Potential revision
- Pacing is off—plot is too slow – Potential revision
- Story starts in wrong spot – Potential revision
- Ending is unsatisfactory – Potential revision
- Does meeting an author face-to-face at a conference make a difference in your response time, the submission process, or the rejection process (ie. Form letter vs a few sentences of advice)?
Answer: There’s no difference in response time or submission process, but I do try to give more advice than usual if I’ve met someone.
- Besides the writing, the story and the talent, what are the most important elements you look for in an author, ie. contest wins, cooperativeness, affiliations to writers organizations, knowledge of publishing industry, promotability, etc?
Answer: Cooperativeness is extraordinarily helpful in creating a long and lasting relationship. Promotability is always helpful.
- Do you have any pet peeves?
Answer: When an author comes up with a clever or striking phrase, but repeats it numerous times in the manuscript.
- What are you addicted to?
Answer: Stories featuring strong protagonists, both mentally and physically.
- What have you always wanted to do?
Answer: I’m already doing it!