Hi all! I’ve been interviewing industry professionals the last month or so during the countdown for FATED to be released. As you know, the release date is next Tuesday, Feb. 22nd!
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know my editor at Kensington is Megan Records. You also know that her authors fondly refer to her as ‘magnificent.’ Yes, the alliteration works well with her first name. But it’s also true. She’s fantastic to work with and even took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us today.
1) I was hoping you’d share your statistics for 2010. How many queries did you receive? Out of those, how many partials and fulls did you request? How many new authors did you sign? How many of your current authors did you re-sign?
2) What makes for an excellent work day for Megan Records?
I have a ratings system. I rate the day’s good happenings from 1-3, and bad things from -1 to -3. Any day that totals 3 or over is an excellent day. Examples of excellent things: a new quote or the promise of a read from someone really big, extra special promo news, making “the call,” reading an awesome new manuscript from one of my authors, etc.
3) You work with a myriad of different authors. Do you find your style adapts to each one? Or is your process pretty much the same with each author?
I have the same general process, and then adapt according to the needs of each author. For example, some authors prefer specific edits, whereas with some, I can say, “This part with the killer? Not buying it,” and they can go in and fix it. In order to maximize the talents of each author, I have to be willing to adapt.
4) Are you looking for any type of book in particular right now?
I am always looking for AWESOME. That is all.
5) How far into a book do you usually know it’s a keeper?
Honestly, I don’t usually know until the end. I can like a book just fine, and read the whole thing, but be able to put it down and forget it. My “keepers” are ones that I think about the next day, and a week later, and then I try to convince other people to read. It’s a necessary distinction…I currently have 600 keepers at home, and that’s not including my own authors’ books (which are all keepers!).
6) If you weren’t an editor, what career path would you choose?
You mean I should have had a back-up plan?!? I think I’d probably be a computer programmer. I do enjoy puzzles and have always been good at technical things.
7) I notice most of your authors are on twitter, facebook and have their own blogs. Do you check in with these sites once in a while?
Yes, I follow and friend my authors usually, but I only check out blogs once in a while. Back when I was a baby editor, I was much more attentive, but then I kept acquiring authors and now it’s too overwhelming. I would get NO work done!
8) Is there any advice you have for new writers?
RESEARCH. And I’m not talking about researching facts for the actual manuscript (which is also necessary). I’m talking about researching publishers, editors, agents, query letters, the publishing process, etc. With all the information available on the internet today, there is absolutely no excuse for sending me a query addressed to “Dear Editor” about a cozy mystery (which I have zero interest in).
Slight tangent: If you are sending me a query about a cozy mystery because you have queried every editor you can find who represents cozies, they have turned you down, and you are now thinking, “Well, it never hurts to ask!”, don’t. It does not come off as daring, it comes off as, “Cannot follow directions,” which, in case you weren’t sure, is bad. Most likely there is something not right with your query, your manuscript, or both. Revise.
Okay, back to main point. Before you even THINK about sending that query, you should be researching which publishers are likely to publish this sort of book, which editors seem to like books similar to yours, etc. If you can’t be bothered to Google my interests, I assume you can’t be bothered to make edits, promote your book, or anything else I would ask of my authors.
Let me put it this way: I am much more likely to forgive an earnest, well-researched query that is a bit unprofessional (e.g. names all the author’s children, their ages, and their schools) than a query addressed to Mr. Records.
Kensington does take unagented submissions. There’s more information on their website under submission guidelines. So, thanks everyone for dropping by my blog today. I hope you’re enjoying the interviews this February!