Give my editor a Hugo

Or a Nebula. Or something. ‘Cause she should get one. AS I SHALL PROVE.

This is my editor. (Image taken from GalleyCat.) Isn’t she cute?

My editor, Devi Pillai

Her name is Devi Pillai, of Orbit Books. She’s not only cute, she’s pretty badass. Here’s some stuff she’s edited — other than, y’know, my books.

  • The Way of Shadows, Beyond the Shadows and Shadow’s Edge (the Night Angel trilogy) by Brent Weeks
  • The Heroes and Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
  • Blameless, Changeless, Heartless, etc. (the Parasol Protectorate series) by Gail Carriger
  • Blood Rights by Kristen Painter
  • Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Cold Magic (the Spiritwalker Trilogy) by Kate Elliott
  • Working for the Devil (the Dante Valentine series) by Lilith Saintcrow
  • Warrior and Witch by Marie Brennan
  • The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtney Grimwood

That’s a lot of cool stuff, isn’t it? I think so. And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg, because Devi has been in this business for 12 years.

Twelve. Years.

That’s, like, forever in publishing. And in all that time, she has not received a “Best Editor” award. I think that’s just wrong. Because Devi has done a lot to help change the face of the genre. It’s in large part thanks to her influence that Orbit Books has consistently cranked out some really edgy, different, high-quality fiction in its relatively short lifetime. The books she likes are anything but the same-old same old; there’s no formula in her fantasy, no tiresome adherence to tradition at the expense of a good story. I can’t speak for other authors, but I can speak of my own experience having my work edited by her: she hates cliches, and demands logic even of the most wildly out-there speculative stuff. Her favorite words are “this character really needs to pop off the page”. (I hate those words. They always come in the middle of a six-page edit letter telling me everything that’s wrong with a book. But she’s right, every time she says them.) She’s a consummate professional, too — always returns my calls, always reads my manuscripts in a reasonable amount of time, never institutes unreasonable deadlines or demands. And she drinks like a fish And she’s lots of fun at parties.

She’s not high-profile like some editors, so I know this is a long shot because of that. But if a “best editor” designation means anything, it should not be merely “most popular”. I think it should genuinely mean best editor. And granted, I’ve only had one editor for my long fiction so I’m a little biased — but Devi’s pretty damn awesome.

So as you’re thinking about award nominations this year, please just keep this name in mind: Devi Pillai.

6 Responses »

  1. Amen! I’ve worked with Devi for five books now. Without a doubt, I am a better writer because of her whip-cracking, take no prisoners edit letters. Not only do her edits hurt so good, she always takes away the sting with a few strong cocktails.

  2. Wow, those are a lot of great books!

  3. This is nice to read. I don’t know you or her, it’s just good to get a little window into a happy working relationship.

  4. cool post. wow what an impressive list!

  5. Thanks for telling us about her! It’s hard to know who to nominate for Best Editor (Long Form) because it’s not always clear who the potential nominees are.

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