Dear Readers: A Letter from Mike Braff


From the Desk of Mike Braff


Dear Readers,

I consider myself very lucky to have the job I do. I get to toil in the mines of Mars, ride in space elevators, and march with Roman legions across North America. And all from the comfort of my desk! Being an editor has its ups and downs, as do all jobs, but it’s mostly a fantastic job that allows me to help authors bring their worlds to life. Here are my top five perks of being an editor:

5. So many books! The book industry is a tight knit group and we love to share our work with each other. I get tons of exciting books from colleagues, friends, authors, agents, etc. Getting a sneak peak at a really interesting SFF story is all kinds of awesome.  Unfortunately, I don’t really have much time to read for pleasure these days, since I’m busy with submissions and my own projects. There’s something sadly poetic about the fact that I have absolutely no time for all these great books…

4. Geeking out. This one might be more specific to sci-fi/fantasy editorial, but in general, it’s my job to get deeply passionate about things that others might find silly or inconsequential. From what kinds of laser beams would work in space to deciding what the high orcish word for biscuit should be, one of my responsibilities is to work with an author to make sure all the geeky little details are on point.  This leads to a ridiculous number rants about time travel paradoxes, elven superiority complexes, and the sword bias in fantasy, and that makes me very happy indeed.

3. Discovering new talent. We look to publish stories that we would like to read ourselves.  That’s why it’s so exciting when we get a really great submission in from a literary agent: we get to see a potentially awesome manuscript before almost everybody.  When I received THE DARWIN ELEVATOR by Jason M. Hough in on submission, I remember thinking to myself, “FINALLY! Fun, exciting, action with huge sci-fi mystery and amazing characters.” DARWIN was a book that riled us up, and I knew that the larger genre readership would find it just as refreshing as we did!

2. Interacting with readers. We in the editorial department consider ourselves fans first and professionals second.  Our goal is to bring the best possible reading experiences to our readership.  That’s why it is so rewarding to meet Del Rey Spectra readers in the world!  Whether it’s a quick conversation over social media or a longer one in person at a comics convention, hearing what’s working (and not working) for you, our reader, is so, so valuable.  Plus, who doesn’t like to geek out with other book lovers? So whatever happens, please keep your feedback coming and keep supporting authors and books that you love!

1. Working with authors. Obviously you don’t have a great book without great authors and they really are the stars of the show. My job is just to help a given author tell the best possible version of their story; that’s it.  Sometimes that means relatively little work on our part, but often enough we have to get our hands dirty alongside the author to figure out how to make big changes that will positively impact their narrative.  The moment where an author gets excited about our revisions and says, “That’s exactly what I wanted to say!” is a good one indeed.

Luckiest geek in the world over here.  Thank you, dear readers, for supporting our books and letting me have this job I love so much!

Happy Reading,

Mike Braff
Editor – Del Rey Spectra