Interview with Amanda Ng
By Theresa Rizzo
Amanda Ng 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
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
Answer: Two page synopsis, single
- 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 –
- Story is too controversial (ie rape,
politics, religion—what else?) – Potential revision.
- Mediocre / uninspired writing – Automatic
- Excessive use of violence or cursing –
- Lacking genre –specific requirements
like, suspense/sexual tension/ world-building – Potential revision
- Pacing is off—plot is too slow –
- Story starts in wrong spot –
- Ending is unsatisfactory – Potential
- 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
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
- 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!