PNWA: Editor’s forum

I’ll start off with my notes from the Editor’s Session on the second day, since I promised them earlier. Here they are. I do of course have my own opinions threaded throughout the conversation but hello, they’re my notes, so I get to put in opinions when I want to.

JB Haleck, WindRiver, publisher. Three imprints. Christian fiction, homeschooling, blah.
Adam Wilson. Editor with Mirrorbooks, and Harlequin. Personally looking for romance suspense womens fic, also do Gina show alter. Largely women, but have some guys
Michelle Vega, Berkely Publishing Group. Penguin, crime line. Cozy mysteries, paranormal, sic fi, urban fan.
Peter Lynch, Sourcebooks. We do everything, he works adult side, memoir, history humor, hist fic, womens fic. Strong female pro tags.
Paul Dinas, Alpha Books, Idiot’s Guides. Highly formatted. Little complex. Welcome first time authors. 100 new ideas a year.
Monica Howick, Winthrop Pub. History and inspirational. General or religious market, looking to expand religious market. Also roman e and young adult.
Michelle Richter, St. Martins Press. Not corporately owned, really commercial really diverse books. Some celebrity books. Looking for memoir with strong point of view, female protag, food writing but not cook, pop science, pop culture, no Christian, not paranormal, big fan of mysteries, police proceed, cozies.
Shane Thompson, Variance Publishing. Like to get thrillers, military or special ops, YA fantasy is a new focus, sci fic. Looking for interesting voices. Pacing, plot, craft, voice. Got to have a voice. No gratuitous sex or violence or profanity. Want broad appeal. Market research shows that there is huge readership that don’t want that. Looking into ebooks.
Lynn Price, Bailer Pubs, small independent press in southern Calif. Memoir with strong social relevance. Issues that are not cliched, timeless. Not interested in the what’s hot now.
Paula Munier, of Adams Media. Not as polite as the other pubs up here. Lot of single title, in your face humor, sophomore guy humor. WTF series. 1001facts that will scare the shit out of you. Toxic Man. Why Men Love Bitches. Looking for self help, new age, YA.
Editors may love books, love the writing, but there is more to it. So what is it that gets a book in the door or gets a no?
Shane: I got a bk, read a submission, liked it, gave it to his ten yo, and said he loved it. I was sold on it. What sold me on it was moral of the story, the themes. They were real, provocative, not raw or edgy. It resonated with me and the editorial staff. When we looked at logistics of pubbing a YA fantasy when we’re not in the market there, we thought it would be too tough, building a new author at the same time. But I asked her to send us the pitch again. If you don’t find success in selling me a book today, it’s just today.
Adam: the worst thing is to get a book you love but can’t get to market right then. Some pubs are really corporatized now. Pubs are worried about the bottom line. There are a lot of pol with a lot of input. One of the worst things we can do is publish it and not support the author. We want to do this successfully, not taint an author’s numbers. We also don’t want to lose money.
Moderator: how much editing do you all do still?
Michelle R: when I get a submission I really love and I see things that need work, that’s part of the process. Plots that need work, chars that need strengthening. My job is to make it fit better I to what we do. To improve something thTs already great.
Paula: editors still really edit. A lot of first time authors need a lot of help. Development edits, line edits, copy edits, at Adams we’re all editing. Youre going to get edited, you need to get edited.
Lynn: if we get two good stories, we’re going to take the tighter one. On the other hand, we’re going to edit, if only to put it in our copy style.
Moderator: I’d rather have it be edited now than have it go I to print with problems.
Questions from the audience.
Culture of the business: how likely are any of you to call an Ed in another company and say this isn’t right for us but you may like it.
Michelle R.: it just doesn’t happen.
Lynn: I’ve done it. I ask the author first, but it’s not like they’re going to say no. I do, because I’m little.
Michelle R.: that said, editors are a very incestuous group in new York. We all know each other. So it may happen.
Q: Do you prefer direct subs or thru an agent?
Lynn: little independents like agents because they’re good vetters. If you’re coming to me directly, I don’t know you. I go to agented authors first.
JB: some really good quality works fall by the wayside. It’s a volume issue. You get three minutes of our time on the first pass. Random House gets hundreds of thous of sub,issions a year.
Paul: I welcome direct contact with authors, ESP by email. Fiction is a little bit ,ore complicated. But I like it. A lot of times their agents follow up to negotiate the deal.
Q: Explain strong social significance.
Lynn: strong social sig from history? As long as you can bridge it to modern times and show how it will continue on, then great, that gets people talking. I they not to get too limited. I also have to be able to sell it to a wide audience.
I just published a fic in a smaller house in the Midwest. But do you have speed to market thoughts about using smaller pubs?
JB: trade journals want four to six months ahead. Distribution channels take time. It’s not a printing issue. Come talk to smaller pubs if you’re an experienced author who didn’t lime bigger pubs.
Michelle R.: ouch. You need that time to build the interest a,ong the sales force. We are trying to tighten up the process, but sometimes the work suffers I’d you crash it through. Don’t wreck your book. If you’re looking for a career, doing a book a year is really tough.
Paula: for writing video game books, I’ve done it in 30 days. For crash books, first to market wins. But it does present problems.
Peter: in all kinds of houses you’re going to find great and not so great ppl to work with. Some places won’t market it right. Find the right people.
If you self publish, does that hurt the book bc first rights are gone?
Michelle R.: I worked with two docs who started self publishing and became traditionally published authors. We did follow ups with a diet guy and a cookbook guy.
Adam: it’s not as big a deal in nonfiction. It’s a harder sell with fiction. Or eds might ask, what else do you have going on?

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