Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Writer Wednesday: The Other Side of the Submissions Desk

While my time on the other side of the submissions desk has been brief so far, I've already learned a lot. And since it's taught me more about being an author on submission, I want to share something very important with you all. Here it is. You don't just want a book contract. You want an editor who LOVES your book every bit as much as you do.

When I first started writing, I had this illusion that all I needed was a contract. Someone who would put my book in print. I was wrong. Obviously, we all strive for book deals, but you shouldn't JUST want a contract. You should want an editor who loves your book so much they have to have it.

I've gotten a lot of submissions during my open submissions period at Seek. I'm talking flooded inbox. I've seen a lot of good manuscripts. Notice I said good. The problem is, I can't offer a contract on a good manuscript. I have to wish I wrote your book because it's that amazing. I have to not be able to get your book out of my mind. I have to keep checking my email to see if you've responded to my offer yet. That's how much I need to love your book.

Why, you ask? I've gotten to work on books at Seek that were acquired before I came on board. Let me tell you how many times I read each book. Oh wait, I lost count. It's a lot. A LOT. If I can't get excited to read your book over and over again, I'm not the right editor for your book. Luckily, the books I've worked on have been books I love. I look forward to reading them countless times, and I love the stories more each time I read them.

Think of your personal book collection. We all have those books we reread time and time again because they hold special places in our hearts and our memories. They're written in, dog-eared, and filled with Post-It notes. Those are the book I offer on. So if I offer on your book, know I will champion it with all I have. That's the editor you want for the book you've poured your heart and soul into. Don't accept anything else, because you don't deserve anything less than that.

30 comments:

  1. I know from personal experience what it's like to have a contract, but an editor that doesn't "get" the book. The editor who acquired my two books had to resign after the first one was published. The one who replaced her irritated the living daylights out of me because he wanted to change HUGE things in my story. Like... how the characters act and how they sound. But yeah, then things went further awry and I got my rights back. All's well it ends well.

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    1. Good for you, Misha. Writers shouldn't want an editor who doesn't love his/her book. I get people asking if they can revise and resubmit and my thought is if I didn't love your book enough to request more, why would you want me to look at it again? I'm not the right fit for your book. Want the best match and don't settle.

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  2. I totally hope to find someone who loves my stuff someday! =)

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  3. I’ve always read that an editor/agent has to love a book to take it on, but I never thought about what that actually means until your comment above about having to wish you wrote it. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. You're welcome. I'm glad it makes sense to you. I'm hoping I can share a lot of info like this to help authors understand the process more.

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  4. I couldn't agree with you more! The same goes for having an agent who loves your book. I was just talking about this with Stephanie yesterday. :) It makes all the difference.

    Glad you enjoying your new role- it sounds like you are busier than ever!

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    1. Yes, the same goes for finding an agent. It makes all the difference in the world. :)

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  5. It sounds like you're making the most of the new job!

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  6. I will 100% agree with this. I wouldn't want any other person to work on my stuff except that person who absolutely loves my work.

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    1. That's great because that's how it should be. :)

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  7. I never thought of it as having someone as an editor who loves it as much as you do. Thanks, Kelly. Gives me food for thought.

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  8. I think it's awesome you're sharing this perspective. People don't realize that when an editor finds a book she likes, she has to convince others on her team that it's a good acquisition. My editor has to go to marketing and get them to sign on, in addition to the editorial team. If marketing likes it and editorial loves it, it's a go. And an agent has to be even MORE passionate because she has to spend her time trying to convince publishing houses that you're work is good!

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    1. All very true. This is why getting a good contract isn't easy. It's worth the wait though.

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  9. Many rejection letters written to me mentioned an insufficient amount of passion, interest, etc. Publishing a book is no easy task, so the people behind the scenes really have to love it.

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    1. Exactly. It's hard as an author not to feel hurt over a rejection, but the reality is that you're better off being rejected than having an editor who doesn't love your book.

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  10. Wish I wrote your kind of books, Kelly. I'd love to have someone like you on my team!

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    1. Thanks, Allyn. That's sweet of you to say.

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  11. Completly agree. I've heard stories of editors who were so excited about a book that they passed it around the office so everyone could read it. The editor is going to be with your book for awhile, you want them to love it. On the other hand, I've heard of editors taking titles, like celebrity books, simply becuase they know those books will sell- no love involved. Publishing is still a business.

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    1. Yes, it happens. It shouldn't though. You need someone who will work as hard as you will on your book.

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  12. Yay for great editors and strong author editor connections. It's part of what makes writing so fun.

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    1. It is. I have a fantastic relationship with my editor. It makes all the difference.

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  13. yup, agreed! Before I got my deal I just wanted someone --ANYONE-- to pub me,but not I see how important it is for the editor to be in love with your work

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    1. I think we're all like that, Beth. That's why I wanted to share this. Having an editor who doesn't love your book is worse than not having an editor/contract at all.

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  14. I so hear you. I, like a few who commented above, had the editor who *loved* my book leave and another take over. She was better than competent-- she was good. But the love was not there and it affected the process throughout.

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    1. It does, unfortunately. You really need to have that passion for a book to do it justice.

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  15. Which is why it's always scary when the editor who acquires your book leaves the company and you get passed into someone else's hands. The new editor might come to love your book, but it wasn't that love at first sight thing, and you never know exactly how the relationship is going to work out. It could be a "growing to love you" situation ... but I've also heard stories of where it was like "we're staying together for the sake of the kid (ie, the contract), but we sleep in separate bedrooms ..."

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    1. Yes, I know exactly what you mean. It can be a tough situation.

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