Writing & Publishing Coach
My book publishing career spans 25 years---over fifteen years at Picador USA/St. Martin's Press, where I served as an associate publicity director at St. Martin's, and the publicity director of Picador USA, as well as a senior acquisitions editor at both imprints. My first job in publishing was at Houghton Mifflin Company where I helped orchestrate the publicity campaigns of many bestselling books, including Margaret Atwood's break-out novel, The Handmaid's Tale.
Having a unique background in both acquisitions and marketing affords me rare insights into both the quality of the content and the marketability and selling potential of a writer's manuscript.
At Picador USA/St. Martins, I acquired and published over 125 hardcover books spanning many genres—fiction, memoir, current affairs, history, social justice, family life, faith, religion, psychology, health, and inspirational/self-help. Many of these books were "discoveries" by previously unpublished writers.
Being in the position of saying 'yes' to a submission is thrilling. The joyful experience of bringing fresh new voices and exceptional writing into the world is the reason that most of us are drawn to book publishing in the first place.
Unfortunately, the flip side: having to reject submissions that are weak, even unsalvageable (i.e., the vast majority of queries and submissions that literary agents receive today), is a downer. Most successful in-house acquisitions editors move-on quickly from this disheartening state because, just around the bend, there is a gem to be discovered.
Years of experience rejecting (and acquiring) manuscripts should be a requisite for any freelance editor or writing/ publishing consultant. In the end, my book expertise was gleaned as much from the submissions that I had to reject, as it was by the manuscripts that I proudly pitched at the weekly acquisitions' meetings.
My strongest advice to emerging writers is this: seek the opinion of one of us who has toiled in the trenches of mainstream publishing for years. Short of that, you will be paying good money to a "freelance editor" who will help you make your manuscript stronger, but still not publishable.
I possess a sixth sense for guiding a writer to his or her most resonant voice and, with a background in marketing and publicity as well as acquisitions, I am uniquely qualified to suggest directions that a writer should take to make his or her work as powerful and as marketable as it can be, whether the ultimate vision is traditional, or self-publication.
When it comes to the writing journey, finding the right path is much more important than racing to an ephemeral finish line. I am an exceptionally qualified book expert who is capable of guiding hard-working and highly-determined writers to the right trail and up the mountain, to the light, where wildly successful authors sip cocktails and thousands of books are sold.
The book guru
"Diane was not simply present to oversee every one of the stages of this book's revision; she was a crucial and irreplaceable part of its conception. There is not one sentence in these pages that does not reflect her exquisitely subtle ear and eye."
At Home in the World:
Some of the Fiction Published by Diane Higgins
Some of the Non-Fiction Published by Diane Higgins
"Thank you so much for your hard work and support for my writing. Your insights and attention to detail are amazing. I am a better writer and a better person for it.” S.W. Hiemstra, August, 2017
"Wow! All I can say is Wow!
Eric H., May, 2019