For Laura Schreiber, an editor with a long-established career, there’s nothing quite like fostering the growth of a book from editing stages to publication. Since 2021, Schreiber has served as executive editor at Union Square & Co., where she has continued to nurture the work of debut and seasoned authors alike. And with a luminous list of upcoming titles, there’s a potentially life-changing book for every reader.
Schreiber spoke with PW about a few upcoming highlights—ranging from fantasy epics to laugh-out-loud romantic comedies—and shared some valuable advice for writers everywhere.
In the past, you’ve edited numerous award-winning and bestselling titles. What’s it like to be instrumental in bringing a deeply impactful new book into the world?
It’s an honor! In my past roles, I have worked with tremendously talented authors of books for young people. A couple of recent titles that come to mind are Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson, winner of this year’s Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award, and Alexandra Bracken’s YA bestseller Lore. The experience of engaging with these works at their earliest stages, before they had a cover, a campaign, a readership—when they simply existed as transporting words on the page—is extraordinary to look back on after the books have gained a wide audience.
Sometimes it’s the quieter books that have the potential to change our lives the most. Can you share any recent favorites that may have flown under readers’ radars?
I have a novel that published this March called Julia and the Shark, written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave with art by Tom de Freston. It is the definition of a quiet book, but one that my colleagues and I feel is thunderous in its message. Told through the metaphor of a scientist’s search for an ancient, elusive shark, the book chronicles one family’s survival of profound mental illness. When the scientist’s young daughter takes over her quest, she comes face-to-face with truths that are as frightening as they are wondrous. Ultimately, the novel is about the strength it takes to leave the shark in the deep and kick up towards the light. It is a book that is best experienced by adults and young readers together.
There are so many writers creating content, it can be very difficult for a debut author to break through. Do you have any words of guidance for aspiring authors?
It sounds cheesy, but my best advice is to trust in the unique qualities of your own work and not try to “game out” what will break through in a noisy market. And patience (I struggle with this one myself as an editor and passionate advocate!). Sometimes it’s an author’s third, fourth, fifth book that finally strikes just the right chord in the market and allows them to find the audience their work warranted all along.
How does Union Square nurture and support the careers of its authors?
With kindness and tenacity, I hope! We are lucky to work with a combination of new talent and established authors—or in some cases, published authors who are breaking into a new category. We do our best to tailor our approach to the unique gifts each creator brings to the table.
What are a few upcoming highlights from your list?
There are so many juicy ones I can’t talk about yet! But here are a few I’m particularly excited about: Enchanted Hill by Emily Bain Murphy, a romantic mystery set in 1930 about two people with a history who collide while working undercover at a California mansion inspired by Hearst Castle. It’s about an unsolved art heist and is filled with sparkling Old Hollywood glamour. Another title I can’t wait for romance fans to get their hands on is Hannah Tate, Beyond Repair, a debut romantic comedy about a new mom who reinvents herself after she gets dumped by her baby’s father. No exaggeration, I was weeping with laughter on the first page. And finally, I can’t wait for the third installment in Melissa Blair’s epic Halfling Saga. Fans of the series are going to have their minds blown by a huge twist the author has been cooking up since the first book, A Broken Blade.