1. What is your background in editing?
I’ve been a professional technical writer since 2006, and in that role I’ve done a lot of editing. I got my MA in Technical Writing in 2008 which felt like a crash course in Attention to Detail, as well as sweeping architectural stuff. I know instinctively how to break text down into the necessary bits and rearrange them.
2. What line/imprint do you work with Anaiah?
I am the Senior Editor for the Surge imprint which handles upper Young Adult and New Adult fiction.
3. What are you looking for at the moment?
I have a love of all things speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, urban fantasy, etc). I’m looking for a story with heart, something that pulls my insides out in good ways and bad. I want to laugh and cry, but most importantly, I want to care. Unforgettable characters who feel like real people will always pull me in. For specifics, I’d enjoy seeing an emotional quest with a strong sibling relationship like Fullmetal Alchemist or Frozen, and a clean YA Dystopia would rock my world.
4. With all the manuscripts that cross your desk, what is the internal experience between the one you know is “the one” and all the others—even if all the others are quite good?
A manuscript really gets me when the text pulls me right into the story and I feel like I’m experiencing the world through the main character’s eyes, fingers, and toes. I have to invest in the protagonist and care what happens, or I’m just going to put it down. Essentially, I have to love the story. If I’m gonna read this manuscript another eight times, I really want to love it.
5. How do you view rejection? What greater purpose does it serve in the creative process—for the writer?
The first rejection is always the hardest because it feels personal. I know it feels personal, but it isn’t. I pass on projects that aren’t right for me, or because I didn’t love them enough. This is a very subjective business. Just because one person didn’t fall in love with a manuscript, doesn’t mean someone else won’t.
Also, sometimes after receiving enough rejections, and author can gauge that he or she didn’t get their vision across as intended. The author may go on to write something new, something better, or even improve the same manuscript.
6. Is the decision to publish an author – or not publish – ever excruciatingly difficult? What is going through your mind? And your heart?
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a rejection letter. Even if I expected a reject, it still stings. Somewhere in the back of my mind I had hung hope on that submission and then it was dashed. Because I’ve gone through it, I empathize with those on the receiving end of my letters. If I can, or have time, I like to give a little feedback or encouragement. Sometimes it takes the sting away a little.
7. What advice would you give writers about the publishing experience?
Signing on with a press is where the work begins, not ends. Even if you’ve edited your manuscript a hundred times, you’re going to edit it again, and again. As an Editor, my job is to help pull out the potential of your story to the best it can be. If I get your book, and it’s good…I want to make it exceptional. It’s not easy, and you’ll have to stretch yourself, but it’ll be worth it.