Are New York Editors Out of Touch with Middle America?

A couple months ago, I attended a writer's conference in North Carolina and I couldn't help but notice a recurring topic in some of the conversations.

"Editors in New York have no idea what life is like outside of the big city," someone would say.

"Oh yeah! Their whole point-of-view is changed by living in New York," someone else would chime in.

Huh. Interesting. As the conversations continued, I'd slouch down into my chair and hide my face behind my cup of tea. I I the only person who disagreed with this sentiment?

Here's what I think:

Most New York editors didn't grow up in the city. A lot of them have grown up in the Midwest or the South or out on the West Coast--in the towns that you and I come from. For instance, the two editors at my recent conference grew up in Florida and rural Pennsylvania respectively--hundreds of miles away from NYC! And so, I find it hard to believe that these editors can't relate to "Middle Americans" when they've spent so many years outside of New York.

Secondly, I don't think it's right to assume that an editor is automatically out of touch with the world simply because she works in New York. The world is such a connected place nowadays! I mean, we have Facebook, Twitter, and 24-hour news. Sure, it might be easy to get caught up in the bright lights of the big city, but living in New York doesn't turn you into some snobby elitist. (At least, it hasn't happened to my friends in New York!)

Third, I'm constantly amazed by the diversity of books I find in the children's and YA sections of bookstores. For instance, Rick Riordan's new series features bi-racial protagonists and Laura Manivong's "Escaping the Tiger" tells the story of a Laotian family. Plus, Laurie Halse Anderson's bestselling novels range in topic from anorexia to child slavery. What a broad mix! (Of course, I wouldn't mind seeing more Asian-American protagonists!)

At the end of the day, I think editors strive to publish books that have wide appeal because they need to sell books in Small Town USA as well as Big City America. They simply can't be out of touch with the rest of the country--because they need the rest of the country to buy their books!

So what do you guys think? Do you feel that the writers at my conference had a point? Do you agree or disagree with their thoughts? Tell me why!