Your Best Book Staff: Emma Dryden

YOUR BEST BOOK is just around the corner, and we'd like to introduce you to our awesome staff and this year's guest speakers!


 Emma D. Dryden - Founder & Principal, drydenbks LLC


EDD 0811 SCBWI LA 2.jpg is a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm, which Emma established after over twenty years as a highly regarded children’s book editor and publisher. During the course of her career, Emma has edited over five-hundred books for children and young readers and, as publisher, oversaw the annual publication of over one-hundred hardcover and paperback titles. During her tenure with Atheneum and McElderry Books, many of her titles hit bestseller lists in USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and other national publications. Books published under Emma's guidance have received numerous awards and medals, including but not limited to the Newbery Medal, Newbery Honor, and Caldecott Honor. Emma is a member of ALA (American Library Association), ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children), and on the Board of Advisors of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).


Question: What was your favorite book growing up? 


Q:  What would you love to see from the YA or MG market that isn't out there yet?

A:  I'd love to see more illustrated and graphic MG and YA stories--formatting that breaks expectations and boundaries to engage readers on multiple levels.

Q:  Tells us a bit about drydenbks LLC.

A:  drydenbks LLC is a children's editorial and publishing consultancy firm which I established after working for more than 25 years as an editor and publisher at several major publishing houses in New York.  My work is varied, ranging from editorial development with authors and portfolio assessments with illustrators to consulting with agents, publishers, eBook and app developers, start-ups, and more.

Q:  What is one thing you feel is absolutely crucial to keep in mind when writing for a YA audience?

A:  Keep in mind that YA readers are sophisticated and complex. They are often considered to be angst-ridden and selfish, but what teens are really doing is figuring out how to be adults and that requires a great deal of self-evaluation and questioning.  I often advise YA authors to stay attuned to what teenagers are thinking, doing, and caring by understanding where they are in the social network, how they communicate with themselves and with one another, and taking the time to go back into their own recollections of what they were like as teens--really going back and digging deeply to remember and relive those teen emotions.

Q: And for an MG audience? 

A:  Keep in mind that MG readers are still young, but very much at an in-between stage of their lives, still very much part of an active home, family, and school community while also starting to taste what it's like to be more autonomous and to make their own decisions and choices. MG readers are stretching and testing their own boundaries as they become teenagers, while still relying on the safety nets they've established as children, which makes this age group such fun to write for. 

 Thanks for stopping by the Write Line Blog, Emma!