Episode 50: Liz Gorinsky and Nellie McKesson

“Whatever role you’re in, whatever genre you’re in, find something about it to love and be passionate about because it’s going to take a lot of slow days.”

In this power-packed episode, we welcome back Nellie McKesson, founder of book design software Hederis, and meet Liz Gorinsky, president and publisher of Erewhon Books, a small indie press dedicated to publishing speculative fiction with a literary bent. We chatted with them about the challenges of building innovations from scratch in an industry with very traditional ways of doing things, staying afloat as a very small company during a global pandemic, and starting that small company right when the entire world shut down. We also talk about how both Nellie and Liz’s very different career paths prepared them for their current work, how software like Hederis can help publishers retain staff and offer personal attention, and why Erewhon has been the perfect partner for Hederis as they’ve used the software to build the first few titles on their list. 

Guest Bios

Nellie McKesson has over a dozen years of experience in publishing. She spent the early years of her career doing hands-on book production and layout, and then moved into more technical and managerial roles. As the market for ebooks began to rise, she taught herself web development and was an early evangelist for using web technologies in the book production process. (You may have seen her speak at a conference about building automated book production tools.) Find her online at hederis.com.

Liz Gorinsky started their editorial career at Tor Books, editing a list that included popular and acclaimed speculative fiction authors Mary Robinette Kowal, Liu Cixin, Annalee Newitz, Nisi Shawl, Catherynne M. Valente, and Jeff VanderMeer. Books they have edited have won or been nominated for all the field’s major awards. They’ve won the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Editor, Long Form, and the 2016 Alfie Award, designed and presented by George R. R. Martin. They were part of the team that founded Tor.com and acquired and edited short fiction and comics for that site for many years. Find them online at erewhonbooks.com.

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