Maya Ziv

#58: Behind the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with editor Maya Ziv by Maria Gagliano

The word ‘platform’ is often greeted by groans from emerging writers. Many of us are tired of hearing that we need to ‘get on Twitter’ and ‘build a following’ if we want an agent or publisher to notice our work. We’re writers—bookworms and wallflowers by design. Many writers do tweet comfortably and brilliantly, but most of us do not, and we cower at the thought of trying. I caught up with HarperCollins editor Maya Ziv for a brief chat about how she views platform when considering a novel. And good news: She doesn’t think Twitter is everything.

Maya will be on our “What’s All This Talk About ‘Platform,’ and Do I Really Need One?” panel at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference in just one week. The weekend’s complete panel schedule can be found here.

How much do you care about author platform when considering a project from a debut author? What does ‘platform’ tell you about the writer? 

I mostly acquire fiction, so my main test in considering submissions is whether I fall in love with the writing and premise. But, platform is definitely a plus. In the world of fiction, that can mean that the author went to an MFA program and has the support of prestigious writers. In nonfiction it can mean that the author has written for several publications and has support/connections with writers and editors, or that author has an active online presence that will hopefully translate to book sales. I may sound Pollyannaish, but I think it is ultimately about the quality of the project. I have to believe that good books find homes, no matter who the author knows.