Monday, April 25, 2011

The Editor–Author Relationship : From the Starting Shot to the Finish Line

Someone once asked me what I liked about editing. I had to think for a moment before I answered. Once I put my ideas together, I discovered it’s hard to put those feelings into words without sounding presumptuous. Why? Because I’ve never received a manuscript that I didn’t believe I couldn’t enrich. And what I mean is not just that “I” personally could perfect it. No, it’s that “anyone” in general can usually find something inside every manuscript to correct or improve upon, no matter how many times you read it.

Anyone who’s been in a critique group, or who has ever written anything themselves, knows that every time you review something you think of another way to say the same thing. (Just like this BLOG. Given time, I could rewrite it over and over again and never be totally satisfied. I’m doing it right now—changing words each time I spell check it. Argh!)

·       Is it better this way or that?
·       Had you already written it that way once before?
·       Do you have the emphasis on just the right words?

The questions go on and on, the analysis of each sentence and each punctuation mark becomes an agonizing quest, and the word choices are even worse. You type the words “The End” almost in self-defense. Everything must have an inevitable ending—writing your manuscript, revising it, editing it, and finally producing it. Misstep along the way and the next step can’t be taken.
With each manuscript, the editor is the one encouraging the author to take those steps, to make the move from point “A” to point “B” without being too quick about it, and to yet still move forward in a positive direction.

Once the book is formatted and comes back in galley form, it’s time to take off your creative hat and put on your glasses. This is the time for details not creative changes; all those misplaced modifiers should already be put in their places. Now is the time to search and destroy extra spaces, commas in place of periods, an instead of and, extra lines, or missing words. What the copy editor or spell check didn’t catch ends up in your lap.

Crossing the finish line with all your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed comes down to you, the author, to do that final inspection. I guess what I like is that from submission to sales, we are your advocates, the ones cheering for your success like a parent with a child, like a partner or a teammate, and then we’re with you at the finish line ready to high five you when those awesome reviews come in heralding your newest creation as the best book ever.

What I like most about editing is being a small part of each book I edit. It's as satisfying as doing anything creative on my own. And there’s always the side benefit of getting to read so many fantastic books.
( Ah, those words are in self-defense; I do have a few books to go edit. GRIN )

Frances Sevilla
Faery Rose Editor & Cheerleader

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Agonizing Over Rejections

The Wild Rose Press is known for its kinder more personal rejections—a vast difference from those received from some publishing houses. My first impersonal one read something like: Dear Author, Your story does not fit our publishing house at this moment. We wish you all the best in finding the right place for your manuscript. Sincerely, The Editing Team. Wow, I wondered why it didn’t fit. I wondered what they were looking for. I wondered if they even read it. Many more followed that first one, never giving me any insight into what I had done wrong.

I was depressed for two days after my first rejection. No, not the ones I received, the first one I wrote. As heartbreaking as getting a rejection, writing one is much more difficult. I agonize over every word, worried I may be crushing someone’s dreams.

That’s why each letter I write is so tough and definitely not a task I relish. And whether it is an established author or a new one, the letter is still the same. The author should know why the story wasn’t quite ready for publication at TWRP. Could it have been in need of more showing and less telling? How about an adjustment on the amount of points of view? Does the sexual tension need to be increased? Was the plot good, but the mechanics needed some work? Maybe it was an overused plot. Or the manuscript lacked any type of proofreading. And in historicals, the accuracy plays a big part in acceptance or rejection, especially vocabulary. Someone from the Wild West isn’t going to say okey-doke. It wouldn’t fit the time period. (FYI – Okey-dokey wasn’t used until 1932.)

When doing a rejection, I make sure I’ve addressed the author by name, and that I’ve spelled it correctly. Next, I’ll look over my notes in track changes and write a paragraph  for each major error I have noted. Finally, I’ll look them over again, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. For the newer authors, I may direct them towards TWRP Greenhouse or suggest finding a critique partner. TWRP also has a critique group called The Rose Trellis. I’ll also include with the rejection letter a self-editing guide sheet. My established authors get the same helpful letters—a letter of suggestions, not criticism.

And still, knowing I’ve done my best to help the author, the anguish continues as I place my cursor over the send button and press. So, when you receive a rejection from any editor at TWRP, please realize we want to help you to continue blooming and growing so that you will become or remain a WRP rose.

As I always say at the end of my letters, I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors.

Allison Byers
Historical Editor

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You Want Fries With That????

I'm beginning to wonder if the notion exists that the epublishing industry and the fast food industry are on the same par. Short on nutrition and service, just get ‘em in, get ‘em served, get ‘em out.

In the past few weeks I’ve (or someone I know) experienced the following: (disclaimer: before you read this and think “gasp! She’s talking about me!” rest assured, I am not. If these were isolated instances, they’d hardly be worth mentioning).

Hurry it up! An established author urging her editor to “hurry up and finish” her edits because a friend had just received a release date and it was five months from now. So since release dates were “getting out there” the author wanted the editor to hurry up. Having experienced this one myself, I can tell you that the first reaction from the editor is to think “well, sweetie, maybe if you’d sent me a cleaner manuscript to work with…” Sure I may love your voice as an author, and your heroes may make my toes curl and the love scenes make my heart pound…but I’m still going to thoroughly edit your manuscript. If you truly want to shorten your turn around time, take a look at the last MS you and your editor worked on. What did the edits focus on? Less ly and ing words? Removing dialogue tags? Over or under punctuation? Before submitting your new MS, go over it one more time with an eye toward strengthening the areas you focused on last time. You and your editor will both be happier with the turn around time.

Response times. When I send an author edits, whether she’s a brand new author I’ve just rejected with a two page list of revisions or an established author whom I’ve sent a handful of edits on a contracted MS, I don’t expect it back in my inbox the same day. Certainly not the same hour! Boomerang resubmissions or jumping on your edits doesn’t show me how efficient you are, it tells me you don’t proof read, that you’re not careful, that you don’t—to borrow a line from Hallmark—care enough to send your very best. And that means I’m going to go over those revisions even more thoroughly since I can’t depend on you to do so. Which means I‘ll need to set aside even more time to work on them... which means you'll be waiting that much longer to get them back from me.

And just between us, sometimes an editor likes to put a little space between time spent working on a story. I don’t want to re-read an entire MS again a week after I just finished editing it. Give me enough time for the story to feel fresh again—chances are if I told you to take two weeks, I penciled time in my schedule to work on it again fourteen days from now; sending it back thirteen days early isn’t going to change that. Make those revisions right away if you need to, but let the MS sit for a few days. Then look it over again before sending it back to your editor. You’ll be surprised at the things you missed—and in the long run, it could make the difference between needing a second (or third) round of edits…or proceeding to final galleys.

Did you get my email? Huh? Did you? Did you? I really love it (she said, tongue firmly planted in cheek) when my busy inbox is made even more full by this type of email. While you, the author, may only be working with one editor at a time, chances are your editor is working with several different authors at once. Most of us sort our emails daily and address them in order of importance. I try to respond to all emails within 48 hours, but like you, I enjoy taking the occasional weekend or holiday off, and –also like you--sometimes unexpected things arise that throw my best laid plans asunder. So if you sent me an email late Friday afternoon, please don’t send me a “did you get my email?” message first thing Monday morning... followed by another one Monday afternoon... and another one later Monday afternoon... Wait at least 48 business hours before checking back. Obviously if you have an editor who consistently ignores your emails, that’s a different issue, but 48 hours is a good rule of thumb for checking back on a non-urgent email.

OMG! My release date is when???? While I am not in charge of assigning release dates, I think ours are more than fair. Sure your friend may have gotten a faster release date, but not every manuscript follows the same pattern. When you entrust your work to TWRP, you’re entrusting our team of professionals from the preliminary reader who read and recommended your story, to the editor who took the time to polish that story and make it sparkle to the cover artists who brought your characters to life right on down to the copy editor who had the last look at your MS and the production folks who put all the pieces together and released it.

And none of that can be accomplished in the time it takes to visit your local drive through.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Arming Yourself with the Marketing Basics

Arming Yourself with the Marketing Basics

My Space, blogs, Yahoo loops, live chats, websites…

An author has an arsenal of options available to them—so choose your weapon.

The best advice I can give you is to do something you enjoy. If you’ve never been a blogger, don’t enjoy visiting and posting on other blogs, then don’t start a blog. If you don’t like a lot of email in your inbox, then posting to yahoo loops isn’t for you. The Internet is limitless in its reach, but it can also be overwhelming. Don’t try to do everything, but plan the best use of those marketing minutes. And if something isn’t working for you, move on. You can easily take the pleasure out of writing by trudging through promotion hell.

So starting with the basics

• A signature line – Every email you send is an opportunity to tell someone about your book. However, don’t overwhelm your contact. A simple signature line will include your name, website, and perhaps the title of your current release. If you don’t have a website, use your publisher’s website, but make the website link to your book buy page.

• Blogs – Blogs are free and easy to use, but the important aspect is to be consistent and be persistent. It takes time to build a readership.

• Websites – They should do more than look good. Most authors have a website, but are you using yours as a promotional tool? It’s nice to have photos, signing dates, release information and buy buttons. But your website can do more. Showcase your talents. This is a reader’s first taste of your work. Give them excerpts and give them a reason to return. One option would be to offer a free short story to anyone who signs a guestbook. Hold monthly contests. This is a great way to start building a mailing list. Also, update your page. New reviews, new releases, any news should be posted.

• My Space, Twitter, Bebo, Facebook, the list is endless. These sites are very user friendly. These sites are also free. Like all public venues, it is important to make a strong professional page. Social Networking is also a promotional juggernaut, but it doesn’t have to be a huge time drain. Check your page once a day, Tweet once a day, spend thirty minutes a week requesting friends and utilize the features. Social Networking can give you a great web presence without overwhelming your promotional minutes.

• Live chats – Many review sites have chat rooms and many publishers have chats. The Wild Rose Press holds a weekly chat in their website chat room on Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET. These are great places to meet readers. When hosting a live chat be sure to let your author personality show through. If you write romantic comedy, you’ll want that light jovial tone to come across. This is a way to let readers get to know you the author.

• Yahoo loops – Do you start your own or work with what’s out there? Once again this boils down to time. Most review sites and publishers have Yahoo loops for promoting your books. However, I think one of the best solutions is combining forces. If you’re going to start a loop, ask a few fellow authors, writing in similar genres, to join you. Then you aren’t alone in keeping the loop active. (I also think this is a good idea for starting new blogs.)

However you choose to market your work, be sure it reflects you as a writer. Think about whether you want hot, nearly naked men on your website if you write sweet romance. When someone visits your website or other promotional spot, they should instantly recognize your brand. Branding helps a reader understand who you are as a writer and what they can expect from your books regardless of the genre.

Lisa Dawn
Marketing Director
The Wild Rose Press

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Millionaire's Club Series

We are announcing a new series in the Champagne Rose line this morning. Its called "The Millionaire's Club" and we are open for submissions as of today.

Remember the old Harlequin romances with the dashing rich hero and the heroine who usually wasn't rich at all - sometimes it was the Executive and his secretary or the nanny and the widowed father or even the housekeeper and the handsome rich guy - any of those scenarios or any others you dream up are what we're looking for. How about those marriage of convenience stories - yes we have a rule against married heros and heroines but these are different and we can bend the submission guidelines for these. My very first romance I ever read was called "A Marriage of Convenience" and it sits on my shelf today. Just think - that's where all this began - hahaha.

Our first story will go out in June "The Chauffeur Wore an Evening Gown" by Roni Adams will kick off this series and will hopefully be the first in a line of fantastic old time contemporary reads. But make no mistake- old fashioned or not - these are modern day HOT - the heroes are hot, the heroines are swept off their feet and their coming together is explosive. Keep in mind that Champagne is our hottest line before Scarlet and we want these couples to go all the way in every way your imagination takes you.

Submission requirements for the Millionaire’s Club.
Length – 20K – 60K (not full length - these will not go to print)

Rated Spicy to Hot (see details on both ratings below). Champagne Rose stories must include a fully depicted and fully consummated love scene to be considered in this line.

Spicy: Contains detailed love scenes, including descriptions of foreplay and consummation.

Hot: Contains sizzling detailed love scenes and explicit content, which may be offensive to some. This is not erotic romance. No extreme graphic language.

Send submissions to

Please feel free to pass this along to your writers groups, blogs, etc. You may send questions directly to me at